Pizza Guy Carrying Pizza Da Pizza Guy TitleThumbs Up Pizza Guy
Pizza Guy Eating A Slice

by Mikki Halpin

Though a relatively modern phenomenon of post-capital marketing which appeals to the fragmentation of society at the end of the millenium, the Pizza Guy has a rich representational halo through which we can decode subtle, heretofore unmarked traces of meaning. First, the personification of abundance with which we associate the Pizza Guy is not traditionally a man.

What is the import of this crossgendered bringer of food? Does he mark the sexual schism that has rocked out culture? The image of the broken American family, evoked by zealots of all political persuasions, bears fruit in this simple Pizza Man. Where is the mother, who should be home cooking for her family? Is she out working two jobs in order to pay the rent? And what of the pizza man himself — why is he bringing food to the house of others, while his own family struggles on alone?

The most pronounced feature of this man is his moustache, the detail which moves him from type to archetype, from simple delivery boy to Pizza Man. This moustache, or mustacchio, as the Italians put it, is the sign of the rake, the rogue, the dissembler who is not to be trusted. The Pizza Guy is, in truth, a stranger who brings you food and expects you to eat it. The sinister darkness of his upper lip reminds you that he may not be what he seems.

Ironically, in the end, this image of plenty has pointed us to a lack: the lack of tradition and responsibility that brought our society to its current sorry state. And we cannot overlook the implications of the cartoonish hat and the exaggerated buffoonery of this representation. It reads as an attempt to disempower, to mock the proud Italian heritage of the Pizza Guy. Crushed under the burden of organized crime associations, the Sicilian occupies a lowly place in the socio-economic web; not a proud farmer, not a chef, merely the Pizza Guy. Our hope in this presentation is to give him back some of his dignity, and to honor him.    </end>


Images from the collection of Andy Stevens

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