Friday, November 10, 2006

Shabbat Ideas - November 10th

Shabbat Shalom Folks-

While I am SURE not a single individual is actually reading this blog as of now, here are my thoughts of this Erev Shabbat.

World Pride in Jerusalem would have been killer. Oh well.
The Democrats control both Chambers of Congress. This is good.
Donald Rumsfeld is no longer in charge. This is good.
President Bush is still the President. This is bad.
Dick Cheney is still evil and still the Veep. That is also bad.


Now for some Jewish ideas of the week:
The Forward came out with its “Forward 50” this week. This is the list of the top 50 influential people in the Jewish community in the United States. I think the JJ et al did a wonderful job. I only wonder about Sasha Cohen. Borat, and his cultural findings, while funny and provocative do not really hit me as truly influential Jew.

Borat is a very important aspect of modern hip-jew stuff. But he isn’t changing anything. Sasha Cohen and his in your face brilliant social commentary is only exposing exactly what Jews fear, they hate us. In the new book (which I have not read) The Wicked Son, the author talks about this type of humor and other such self-hatred as the worst kind of anti-Semitism. While I don’t agree with such an analysis, I do think that there is a line to keep in mind.

I love anti-Semetic jokes. They are funny. They are uncalled for and most of all they piss my parents off. It exposes our other racisims and hatreds. But only if they are seen as such. If they are taken out of context or as truth, then we are in trouble and we cross that line.

In my family there is such thing as table talk. We can talk about whatever but that stays at the table. We as Jews can bust on ourselves and make light of our issues, but really what good does it do when we go out into the greater community with the same schtick? I would argue not too much. While audiences in New York and Los Angeles will laugh at the ridiculous nature of the exposed bigot, the millions of bigots in-between will laugh at the Jew.

(Disclaimer: I do not think all people between the two points of culture in the United State are bigots, but really let us look at the voting record and radio stations. Should we fight bigotry by calling people morons or by teaching them somthing? I would go so far to say that Borat only encourages the morons in the middle to learn the same bigotry they already have. That is all I am sayin')

Don’t get me wrong, I will go to see Borat, I will buy the new “JewFace” album and I will read Heeb. But I do so keeping in mind that I am proud young Jew. I would love to hear what you have to say…but let's be real…no one is reading this.

Yet I suppose that with all the press Borat and his cultural findings have produced, it could be said he belongs on the 50 by default. He might be funny, but he is not changing anything.

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