Pop music historian and mafia chronicler Nick Tosches, in his anecdotal study Save the Last Dance for Satan, captures the value of the ethnic neighborhood in a passage that warrants quotation at length:
[…] as the Church comprises many churches, so the neighborhood – I can not capitalize the initial n no matter how strongly effect and meaning entice me to do so, for, here, to exalt the word would be to misrepresent the thing – comprises neighborhoods beyond number. This is not an idle analogy: the neighborhood is, or was, the embodiment of a spiritual ethos as supernal and puissant in reality as that of the Church in theory. As every neighborhood was a parish, and every parish was a neighborhood, so together they have died.
The true gauge of the freedom of any community is the measurement of the degree of equality by which the fruits of…
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