Cosa Nostra

Cosa Nostra AKA 'Our Thing' AKA The Italian Mafia AKA The Mob AKA there is no such thing.

Pictured: A dozen different mob personas.

Just The Facts

  1. Cosa Nostra ('Our Thing') has it's roots as far back as 1864.
  2. Just six years after in 1870, they first started using hitmen.
  3. Dozens of movies, books, and television shows have been made to both honor and disgrace the organization.
  4. You can blame fascism on bringing two of the biggest mob-bosses in history to America: Carlo Gambino and Joseph Bonnano.
  5. On account of the man with the automatic-firearm in the office, we would kindly like to inform you that there is, in fact, no mafia.


Tomasso Buscetta originally is credited with exposing the traditional structure of the mafia. We start with the Boss, the top guy. In the global sense this guy answers simply to the code of conduct accepted by all mafioso. If the Boss doesn't, he isn't the Boss for very long.

Caligula, AD 12-24

The Boss appoints a consigliere (con-sil-yehti). Being that Italians are inherently of latin-speaking decent, as are Americans (of both continents), we can deduce this would be the man to console to. In other terms, he is someone you would trust with your life and everything attached to it. This consigliere is not in direct influence over anyone according to the hierarchy of the mafia, he is only a voice of reason to an otherwise insane man.

The Boss also appoints an Underboss, or sotto-capo, meaning second-in-command. While everyone trusts him to do his best and achieve the Family's goals, he will still be the buck-stops-here candidate to put the blame on. The Underboss controls the capodecinas, literally translated to 'leaders of ten'.

Capodecinas, commonly referred to as Capos, control 'soldiers'. Soldiers are responsible for things like extortion, racketeering, kidnapping, and murder. Soldiers use 'associates' to do these jobs. 'Associates' roughly translates to being the equivalent of the mushrooms Super Mario eats to help himself to gold coins.

"Where's the coin stash? You been dodgin' me fah weeks, you muddah-fuckah, where is it??"

History of Cosa Nostra

Cosa Nostra is believed to have roots as far back as 1812, although the Sicilian mafia only 'unofficially' endorsed the name in 1962. It is simply the term the media has used to differentiate the Sicilians from other mafias. This brings about the adage among goodfellas: 'I don't know what your talkin' 'bout, they is no mob.'

In fact the term 'mafia' doesn't even apply directly to Cosa Nostra, it's used to describe any organized crime operation. Oldest roots of the word mafiusu mean any number of things: bold, ambitious, flamboyant, brash, proud, arrogant, and a general 'swagger'.

Yeap. That about sums it up.

Niccolo Turrisi Colonna, leader of the Palermo National Guard, established a 'sect of thieves' in 1864. Feudalism had been replaced by Capitalism, and the idea of a police-force just didn't sit well in the right void that robber-barons filled just a half-century before. Colonna, noting the problem, established his group complete with secret hand-signals, a code of loyalty, and umirta ,meaning 'humility'.

Umirta to Colonna actually meant 'talk to the cops and get whacked'. As early as this it was common place for mafioso to influence and directly take roles in local government, businesses, and other legitimate roles of power. It was also just as common place to settle disputes by violence.

Round about 1920, The fascist (Godwin's Law is not applicable; the man was an actual fascist) Benito Mussolini cracked down on the island's criminal organizations, near-destroying Cosa Nostra. Thousands of suspects were rounded up, wives and children used to intimidate or lure the mafioso, which all resulted in many mafioso in better situations and higher standing to leave the country outright.

Joseph Bonnano and Carlo Gambino were two of those men fleeing to the United States.

"Enjoy their company, motherfuckers!"

In case you'd forgotten, The Gambino Family is ostensibly the most powerful of the Five New York Crime Families. The characters and events of the movie Casino are actually based around the Gambino Family's protege, Charles 'Lucky' Luciano. He in turn established the Genovese Family.

Oh did we mention that Carlo Gambino was known as 'The Godfather'? Guess which movie he inspired.

The Bonnano Family is the basis for the Messina Family in Grand Theft Auto 4 (aptly so). They are also the Family described by undercover agent Joseph D. Pistone, or better known as Donnie Brasco.

Pictured: Johnny Depp on the red pill or every WPT Winner, EVER.

Pistone, known as Donnie Brasco to the Bonnano Family he infilitrated, single-handedly brought down an American crime family harder than anyone else previously could. While the Bonnano Family wasn't completely destroyed, Pistone is no longer the title-holder of 'biggest snitch this side of the moon'.

In 2004, Joseph 'The Last Don' Massino is considered the first ever mob boss to turn informant and it saved his ass from death row, as he is serving life in prison for his role in the murder of three capos (as documented in Donnie Brasco, before he turned coat). It's possible this is the first case where a feature-movie was made that resulted in actual real-world actions and confessions from a high-ranking 'made-man'.

Cracked on Cosa Nostra

While we admire and respect the power and influence of the honorable men who have been incorrectly notarized as members of an alleged 'mafia', the Cracked family maintains that there is no significant or insignificant group known as 'the mafia', 'the mob', or 'a family', outside of strict Roman Catholic terms.

We did not read this off of cardboard. We are not rehearsed in any way. And furthermore, if you repeat this to anyone other than a made-man, our gracious friends would kindly like to extend an invitation of sorts, to you, for a wonderful party...

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