Tag Archives: Nevin Shapiro

Shapiro vs. Serpico: The Rat in the Adage, Part Two

(Read part one here.)

“People who say I should go to hell, well, I’m here.”– Nevin Shapiro.

For a notorious rat, Frank Serpico never had much of a loyalty problem.

Long before Rudy Giuliani found his city so starved for perpetrators he had to start cracking down on jaywalkers, in that same Drop Dead decade when Jimmy Burke and his crew (the real-life GoodFellas) ripped off JFK, crime in the New York of the 1970s was at an ignominious apex- both outside and inside the law. A well-oiled arrangement permitted lower level cops to shake down drug dealers and numbers operators for a regular contribution while the brass looked the other way.  Not everybody was on the take, but pretty much everybody who wasn’t taking money kept quiet about those who did.  Continue reading

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Blatant Homerism: UNC Football Might Actually Be…Good?

I was talking today with a fellow UNC alum about the upcoming season, and it got me thinking about how we as a fan base are feeling about the snafu that’s been this past year. Specifically, my friend mentioned how he was having trouble getting himself amped up for the start of what, on the surface, appears to be a lame-duck season for us Tar Heels. Let’s face it – this is not a good time to be a Carolina fan, as I wrote in my Firing Butch Davis piece. Once the novelty of football being back wore off (preseason NFL shitfest managed that pretty fast), my thoughts returned to Carolina as I thought, “This must be a tiny bit what it feels like to be a State fan.”

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Shapiro vs. Serpico: The Rat in the Adage

Welcome to football week on Tobacco Road Blues. New contributor Andrew Westney kicks us off…

“You took your first pinch like a man, and you learned the two greatest things in life…      Never rat on your friends, and always keep your mouth shut.” – GoodFellas

Jimmy Conway’s credo is a little Yogi Berra-esque, in that it makes perfect sense if you don’t try to make too much sense out of it.  The point is this, ya mook: don’t tell the cops anything, especially about your amici.  As that picture amply illustrated, though, you don’t always know who your friends are, or worse, sometimes the guys you thought were your friends will run out at the first sign of trouble.  But even then, a lot of people would rather go down with the ship than ever turn rat.

Good thing for journalists and dramatists, then, that a few individuals, with their heads screwed on a special way, choose to violate this code.  Because the best corruption tales beg for a rat: sure, intrepid reporters can break a scandal based on dogged review of documents and endless interviews with peripheral parties, but nothing drags the tarp off the cesspool like an insider naming names, taking no prisoners amongst those who until yesterday were his pals.

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