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What on Earth is Going on? is a podcast for the curious, where small talk is banned and tangents are prized. Strap yourself in for genuine dialogues with people who think deeply and are ready to tackle the big questions, such as broadcaster Terry O'Reilly, economist Miles Corak and journalist Jessica Vomiero.

Join Ben Charland to peel back the headlines and ask, what are the forces, people and ideas that shape the human story today? Have things always been this nuts, or are they getting crazier by the day? From the Mafia to the Beaverton, from women in politics to women in leadership, from history to artificial intelligence, and from entrepreneurship in the digital age to the art of wheelchair fencing, just what on Earth is going on?

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Jan 18, 2019

The Mafia is one of the most successful threads of pop culture—so successful that many real mobsters take their cues from it. The Godfather, The Sopranos and even Narcos have built a mythology we all recognize. But when it comes what's really going on, these touchstones are dwarfed by actual organized crime.

Joining Ben is Antonio Nicaso, whose life is dedicated to demystifying a Mafia that prefers to remain romanticized. He is a bestselling author of books such as Made Men: Mafia Culture and the Power of Symbols, Rituals, and Myth, and executive producer of the Netflix true crime drama, Bad Blood.

About the Guest

Professor Antonio Nicaso is a bestselling author, an award-winning journalist, a researcher and an internationally recognized expert on organized crime. He has published 30 books on Mafia and Mafia-type criminal organizations.

He is a regular consultant to governments and law-enforcement agencies around the world. Beside his appointment at Queen's University, where he lectures on the social history of organized crime in Canada, and mafia culture and the power of symbols, rituals and myth, Antonio is also a lecturer at several other universities: Italian School of Middlebury College in Oakland, Califronia, and St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario.

He sits on the Advisory Board of the Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security at York University in Toronto, on the International Advisory Council of the Italian Institute of Strategic Studies “Niccolò Machiavelli” in Rome (Italy), and on the Expert Advisory Committee on Bullying, Intimidation and Gang Violence in Montreal.

He is also the President of Centro Scuola e Cultura in Toronto.

Learn more about Antonio Nicaso.