Did Tony Soprano die or what?


I know there are many important issues we could discuss today. For example, today is the anniversary of the horrific 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. I came across a website that tries to connect famous events that happened throughout the ages with the terrorist attack. Frankly, I think the idea of FDR’s dedicating the construction of the Hoover Dam on September 11, 1936 with the al-Qaida attack is just a wee bit tenuous. I do think it’s likely that a poll of our young people on the significance of this date might bring the answer the birthday of the singer Ludacris, who was born in 1977. You might want to have a chat with your teenager if he or she gives you that answer.

I hope you will forgive me if I leave it to the more serious media like People Magazine to put 9/11 in perspective. There is another burning question that has surfaced lately — did Tony Soprano die in the last episode of “The Sopranos”? I know it’s been awhile since that infamous fade-to-black series finale, but the more mature among us are still worried about what happened to Tony. Sadly, James Gandolfini, who played Tony Soprano, has since passed away, so we can’t get his opinion. The creator of the series, David Chase, has said that whether Tony Soprano died is beside the point.

I have a lot of respect for Mr. Chase, but when you put in seven years of watching a series, whether the main actor gets shot in that diner or just winds up ordering a large slice of cherry pie is very much the point. Bear with me here. I don’t think this discussion is a waste of time because after all, we have to find something to do while our president figures out his strategy for dealing with ISIS. I appreciate Barack Obama’s candor in telling us he doesn’t as of yet have a strategy for dealing with ISIS, but this is hardly the answer one wants to hear from your president. It’s bad enough General Manager Ruben Amaro keeps telling us he also doesn’t know what to do about the direction of the Phillies. We don’t want Obama channeling his inner Amaro.

Incidentally, ISIS stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. You really have to have a lot of chutzpah to call yourself ISIS when you don’t represent either country, but it’s rather your goal. It’s as if Ted Cruz went around calling himself the president of the United States when the election is two years away. I’ll tell you how bad ISIS is; al-Qaida thinks they’re crazy. ISIS makes Syria’s dictator Bashar al-Assad look less like the thug he is and more like a stern version of Margaret Thatcher.

Anyway, I digress from the importance of the task at hand, figuring out the fate of Tony Soprano. It is possible that the scene showing Meadow parking the car has some existential meaning, but I think it was just thrown in to show that by parking the car, Meadow proves she’s not just a pretty face. A large part of Tony’s ultimate fate depends upon whether the guy who comes into the diner is a hit man or merely a salesman trying to sell Tony some crew socks (note the bulge in the guy’s jacket could have been the crew socks). If the guy intends to whack Tony, that doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t also intend to sell crew socks to Carmela afterward. The guy could be a hit man with a side job.

Let me confess to my bias. If Tony is shot in the diner, it spoils one of my only insights during the 50 years that I’ve been writing for this newspaper. In a column some years ago, I posed the theory that if mob guys stopped going to Italian restaurants, they might avoid getting whacked. None of them ever got killed ordering General Tso’s chicken in a Chinese restaurant as far as I know, although I defer to writer George Anastasia on that subject. If Tony gets shot in the diner, what happens to my theory? A little discussion on why Tony would take his family to a diner is in order, I believe. Tony dines on chicken milano in Artie’s posh restaurant when he’s with the boys, but takes his own family to a freakin’ diner? What’s up with that?

Another thing. Bruce Springsteen writes all these great songs about Jersey, and he ignores Tony Soprano? Memo to the Boss — We don’t give a crap about The Ghost of Tom Joad. Bruce, how many of your fans do you think ever read “The Grapes of Wrath?” How about “The Ballad of Tony Soprano”? New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is a big Springsteen fan. I think some reporter ought to ask Christie what he thinks happened to Tony Soprano in the diner. Come to think of it, there’s a report that Christie is preparing for running for president in 2016 by studying foreign policy. Chris might also want to take a class on traffic flow while he’s at it.

I think the guy tries to shoot Tony, but the bullet deflects off Carmela’s earring. After the close call, Tony goes legit and becomes a producer of Broadway shows. 

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