I Party With Heeb Magazine
Heeb Magazine threw a big party at 1707 N. Vine St in Hollywood Tuesday night, 4/29/03. It was scheduled to run from 9PM to 2AM.
I arrived outside the club at 9:30PM after circling the block four times before finding a free parking space. I struck up a conversation with a couple who were trying to produce movies and television. They'd come to see their friend Dave Deutsch, the "world's worst Jewish comedian" according to Heeb Magazine.
The man didn't understand what the evening was about. I told him it was a party thrown by Heeb. He didn't know anything about Heeb. Did they own the club? No, they're only renting it for one night.
I was going to bring a date but she was too tired, so I substituted David Poland as my date. He thought he'd arrive around 10PM. I'm on the list to get in but nothing about plus one. Publisher Joshua gets David on the list but David never shows.
I wander in and run into the female side of the producer couple. Her husband hasn't been able to get in. She needs to talk to Dave.
I see this tall guy with a yarmulke and fringes out. I figure he'll be the only religious guy at the party so I chat him up. He says his name is Dave Deutsch. I can read about him on page 35 of the latest issue of Heeb magazine. He's looking for two friends.
I hook him up with the producer lady and together they rescue her male partner from the humiliation of waiting outside to get in.
I meet Joshua Newman, the new publisher of Heeb. Joshua teaches two classes in Jewish philosophy at NYU, including one in Post-Holocaust Theology. He's clean shaven and clean cut, dressed like a professor or businessman.
Joshua, Dave (uberjuden at msn.com) and I chat. We're joined by a gorgeous Vietnamese-American writer, Lan Tran. She took a history class at NYU with Dave and they became friends. Lan put on her own one-woman show in New York. She loves Sandra Tsing Loh. I tell her I interviewed Loh for my Cathy Seipp profile and that gets me in Lan's good graces.
Josh says to Dave and Lan and I, "I knew you guys would hit it off." We spend most of the night talking to each other.
I see Michael Aushenker and Amy Klein from the Jewish Journal.
The club fills up. I think there are more women than men, and the women are generally yummy looking. Half the crowd is dressed up.
I spend most of the evening by the bar talking about writing and religion with Lan. I have two Diet Cokes at $3 each.
I know about 20 or so people in the room.
There are two stages above the bar. Scantily clad beautiful women dance provocatively.
Dave Deutsch tells me: "I won't tell your rabbi if you won't tell mine."
Married seven years, he has two kids.
Tan says she has to remember that she can't hug him. An Orthodox Jew should not hug the opposite sex (aside from his spouse and family).
Josh and Jennifer Bleyer, the 20-something creator and editor of the magazine, talk to the crowd briefly at 11PM. Dave comes on and does eight-minutes of stand-up. He's flown in for these eight minutes and skipped two days of teaching school.
He jokes about three genocides and straight panic. The crowd keeps chatting, largely ignoring him. He's smart and funny but it's a tough environment. He quits after finishing his rapid-fire routine in eight minutes and comes over to talk with Lan and I, his biggest fans.
I chat with Heeb editor and founder Jennifer Bleyer (Jen at heebmagazine.com) for ten minutes. She and her magazine have received a ton of press. She did 40-minutes on the Howard Stern Show. She'd never listened to Howard Stern. He was brutal. He got her to show her bottom. He bagged on Steven Spielberg, whose foundation made a $60,000 grant to Heeb. Howard made jokes about the Holocaust. Jen was in shock but handled herself well and was funny and charming.
Her parents in Ohio found out about her appearance the next Saturday morning at synagogue.
Heebmagazine.com got so many hits from her Howard Stern appearance it shut down the site. She was bombarded with offers to do threesomes and other sexual perversions. She turned them all down as well as invitations to Howard Stern parties. Not her thing.
Jennifer was raised in Conservative Jewish day schools and majored in anthropology at college.
She's dressed in jeans and seems sweet and approachable. Josh and Jen and company flew in to LA last week and leave Thursday.
The loud pounding music makes it difficult to communicate.
I look for a bathroom and accidentally open the dancer's room while they're changing. They grab me, hold me down, and do all sorts of things to me strictly prohibited by the Torah. Ok, the last sentence is false.
I find the men's room and while I am doing my thing, I look at the walls and find they are covered with photos of naked overweight women from various twisted porn magazines.
My friends Aaron and Denise walk in as I leave at 11:45PM.
For three nights in a row, I haven't had enough sleep.
Heeb publisher Joshua Neuman writes:
"A lot of people say to me, 'Dave, how can you, an Orthodox Jew, us a Braun razor made in Germany?' And I say, 'Hey, give credit where it's due: Those people know how to take the beards off Jews.'" The crowd, seated in the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan, winces. The show had beeen billed as "There's Still a Fly in my Soup: An Evening of Young Jewish Comedy," and it was a big hit, up until this point. "So I guess you don't think the Holocaust is funny," he apologizes. "But I gotta tell you, it killed them back in Poland."
Meet the world's worst Jewish comedian. Thirty-three-year-old Deutsch, a high school history teacher during the day, has been waiting for his big break in the comedy world since moving to New York from Milwaukee in 1994.
J. writes Heeb Magazine: "I'm reading Heeb #2 right now and I'm already figuring out how you can fit into my life plan. I just returned from the Ukraine where I went with the innocent intention of visiting Hasidic gravesites on a Breslov pilgrimage. My hotel in Odessa was in the prostitution district however, and I ended up making a 21-minute shock-erotic-trash video using some of the local pros. The entire film was shot in eight hours using a home video camera on a budget of $300! The next morning, I was off to Berditchev to visit the grave of Rabbi Something-or-Other. Talk about extremes! Anyhow, I have found my calling and am looking for someone to take me under his wing, promote my hilarious brand of deviant sex tales and produce me. Screw the Torah, I was miserable there. I just want a life of pleasure now. Enclosed is my video. I expect you to love it and publicize it in your next issue. Get back to me on this!"
XXX: Did you walk around the party wondering why they were being so decadent during the sefira?
Sefira is a time of semi-mourning during the seven week run-up to the festival of Shuvuot (giving of the Torah).
I have a copy of the zine that this jennifer bleyer chick did in the mid-'90s - "mazel tov cocktail." It's not bad for, y'know, a 20 year old or whatever age she was, more punk rock style stuff. This is back when tower records used to sell zines. Heeb isn't *awful* but there's not exactly a lot of ideas flowing through it because it's operating from that snarky gen x perspective that Judaism is some kind of inside joke.
I Win, I Win
Dave Deutsch, the world's worst Jewish comedian according to Heeb magazine, writes me:
All right, you win--I thought my whole--US Army veteran, left-wing, pop-culture obsessed, trashy comic Orthodox Jew thing was pretty good, but I give you the trophy for most contradictory frummie. If you were born into the fold, I'd still call it close, but the conversion puts you over the top.
As for the write-up, thanks for the mention, I enjoyed both meeting, and reading about meeting you. I must, however, take umbrage at two things (I'd hoped, given how smashingly we'd gotten along, that umbrage would be freely given--one way or the other, however, umbrage shall be mine).
I didn't "give up." I did my routine, and was done. Please recall--I teach high school. Thus, I spend a considerable portion of my life performing in front of audiences who are ignoring me and talking amongst themselves.
I didn't discuss "the difference between gays and straights." I just made fun of straight panic. Saying I discussed "the difference between gays and straights" makes me sound like one of those awful black comedians who tell jokes about how white people drive vs. how black people drive.
Still, I'm too self-aggrandizing and egomaniacal to hold a grudge against somebody who'll write anything positive about me (I believe the words were "intelligent and funny;" at any rate, that's how I choose to remember them.) I'll take a closer look at your site when I get a chance. The baby's crying, and you know how those people from Child Protective Services can be.
Hey, do you mind if I forward this to Lan? I'm sure she'd love to see it. Keep in touch--perhaps we can one day form a special kehillah for depraved Orthodox Jews. Dave Deutsch
PS--I had no idea who you were at the club; I was informed later. I'd read about your travails in both the porn and frum world's some years back in the Forward. Personally, I think you got a pretty raw deal, and it's just a mark of the hypocrisy of Orthodoxy (by that I mean a sociopolitical movement, not halacha). If you'd just been a slumlord, or owned a tobacco company, they'd be all over themselves to honor you (at least if you were generous with your ill-gotten gains). But a humble (and I'd imagine, not terribly wealthy) porn reporter--how can we let him in our shul! At least I understand now your comment that you have so much in common with conservative Christians. I imagine they also spend much of their time trolling for porn. Take care, and gut shabbos.
Heeby Bachanal During Sefira Delays Arrival Of Messiah?
Dave Deutsch writes: I noticed you made a reference to attended the bachanal on sefira [Heeb party Tuesday night]. Two loopholes.
For talent such as myself, there's the exception allowed for making a parnossa, e.g., normally, one doesn't shave, but if your job requires it…
Some people don't begin observing sefira until after rosh chodesh, then observe it until shavuos instead of lag b'omer.
So we should be lenient, and think best of the yidn, and presume that everybody at the club had the minhag of beginning after rosh chodesh.
I'm the perfect rabbi; I always say yes (or maybe that just makes me the perfect date…)
Luke asks: If the Torah prohibits mixing linen with wool, what does it think about you hanging with shvartzes?
Dave replies: It's fine as long as I'm neither wearing nor consuming them. "Hanging with schvartses?" Yet another point of contact with conservative Christians--an affinity for lynching and derogatory terms for blacks.
Heeb's New Competitor - Keyk Magazine
JustMrT writes: Luke - I'm kicking around the idea of taking a cue from the Maxim/FHM/Stuff/Gear/etc. wars and starting up a publication to compete with Heeb. My magazine -- tentatively titled "Keyk" -- will be aimed at Jews who are sufficiently self-hating that they will not only voluntarily purchase a periodical named for an offensive anti-semitic slur, but in fact purchase it from a Gentile publisher/editor-in-chief.
What do you think? Would you be interested in a position as a columnist?
Why The Term 'Schvartze' Is Racist
Dave Deutsch writes: Linguistically, the schvartzer question is an interesting one (I should have warned you; I completed the coursework and most of the exams for a PhD in Jewish Studies and American History--prepare to be bored). On the most basic level, of course, it simply means "black," and became the American Yiddish term for blacks (and, quite frankly, sounds a lot better to American ears than the more proper "Neger"--indeed, Yiddish use of "black" predates the Black power movement by several decades). The problem, of course, is that in dealing with race in America, nothing stays basic.
It began taking on a negative connotation a long, long time ago, stemming in large part from the nature of the relationship between Jews and blacks. In American Jewish idiom for much of the earlier part of the 20th century, "the schvartzer" meant "the cleaning lady," and while I see nothing shameful in being a cleaning lady, there was a certain dismissiveness to it, which was a reflection of the general attitude towards blacks. Ask yourself a question--do you ever hear it used in a complimentary way? Do you ever hear Jews talk about how wonderful Operation Solomon was "when Israel brought the schvartzes to the Promised Land?" No, when referring to Ethiopian Jews, or blacks to be admired, one rarely hears it. It is generally used in a dismissive way. "These schvartzes on the train were so loud."
Having grown up around Orthodox Jews, I can say with a clear conscience that I've almost always heard the word used in a negative or dismissive way. The one exception that I'll grant is to people who actually grew up in a Yiddish speaking environment, for whom the word really does maintain its original connotation, because it was simply the word they learned. However, when I hear somebody using the word who doesn’t speak Yiddish, its definitely a red flag.
We can compare schvartze in American Yiddish to the "zhid" in Polish and Russian. The word simply means "Jew," just like "schvartze" means black. But while in Polish, it's simply the proper word, and has no negative connotation (at least no more than the average Pole will impute to it), in Russian, the proper word is "Evrei," and "zhid" has the connotation of "kike." Sort of like the way "Yid" sounds different coming out of a Jew's mouth as opposed to a goy's mouth. Or to make it understandable to you Talmudic types, whatever the pshat of schvartze may be, the deeper meaning is a negative one.
There is actually an interesting reversal of this in American Yiddish. What's the word for a non-Jewish woman? You're probably thinking "shiksa." The truth is that the basic word is "goyte." (feminine version of goy). Shiksa is actually the feminine for sheygetz, which derives from a Hebrew word for vermin, and was originally used for really bad goyim. While sheygetz retains the negative connotation, Shiksa, despite its original meaning, has become simply the word for non-Jewish woman, and most people who use it have absolutely no idea what its original meaning is.
At any rate, I hope I provided some light on this, and, if you question my answer, I ask you to simply keep an open ear, and listen to how schvartze is used. Again, I want to stress that people don't necessarily use it intending to be racist--one of the ways its used is a matter of symbolic ethnicity--the sort of Yiddish that one throws in to show that you're a member of the tribe. But intentions notwithstanding, it’s a word with a lot of baggage (and as far as intentions go, when I was in the army, I knew a guy--who, I'll concede, was one of the dumbest people I've ever met--who used the term "nigger rig" in front of a black sergeant, and I don't think he had any thought that it was offensive)
Luke says: You can never call me a racist because I marched with MLK in Selma, Alabama in 1964 so negroes could have the right to vote...
Dave replies: That's nothing; I marched with Martin Luther in Wittenburg in 1519 so Lutherans could have the right to eat meat during Lent.
Luke writes: Why are you so sensitive to schvartzes while you mock the sufferings of your own people?
Dave Deutsch replies: The answers to the question are so numerous and so obvious that I can only assume that you find me utterly captivating and get giddy whenever I write you. I know this seems unlikely to you, but it gibes nicely with how I imagine the world to actually work, so I’ll proceed according.
Let me apologize in advance if I get preachy or tiresome, but, in my defense, you asked me. You probably operate under the assumption that my world view is standard issue PC secular leftie, etc. As I see it, though, I’m the one who’s really being true to the Torah, and if the Devil can quote scripture, I feel that with my 8th grade Day School education, I should be able to do so as well. A word like “schvartzer” offends me both as a Jew and a comedian.
First of all, I don’t think my response to “schvartzes” is sensitivity. I would say that it is menschlichkeit (unfortunately, too many people’s knowledge of Yiddish stops at “schvartze;” they’d do well to brush up on “menschlichkeit” as well). One of my criteria for being a mensch in my speech is that I don’t use a word to refer to a group of people, unless I would use that word to their faces. In the Talmud, the question arises as to which is worse, a gazlan (robber), or a goniff (thief). The answer is that the goniff is worse. Why? Because the gazlan robs openly, fearing neither man nor God, while the goniff, robbing secretly, fears man more than God. I don’t want to be like the goniff, calling people an ungodly name when they aren’t around to hear it, fearing them more than God.
Now, you may bridle at my use of the term “ungodly” to refer to harmless racist epithets. But, the way I recall it, we are all created b’tselem elokim (in God’s image—I don’t know how fluent you are with this stuff, but I also don’t want to patronize). Somewhere in the Talmud it says that when you shed human blood, it is as if you are attacking the image of God Himself, because we are all created in that image. So when a term suggests that somebody is of a lesser form of humanity, what else is that other than an attack on God? If blacks are created in God’s image, but all they are to you is “schvartzes,” then aren’t you also saying that God’s image is a despicable thing, too? While I accept a certain degree of Jewish particularism, there is an important principle in the Talmud that all humans are “bnei Adam”—the children of Adam, so that nobody can say to another “My father is greater than yours.” We may ultimately come from a more illustrious branch, be we all have the same roots. It is only in our actions that we differentiate ourselves. Thus, calling somebody a schvartzer or spic, or chink is different from calling him a “bastard” or “asshole” or “simpering troglodyte.” Those names just reduce him as an individual, based on his own behavior (and surely you recognize this principle, else why claim that you have more in common with conservative Christians than secular Jews?); a term like schvartzer, however, reduces him as a representative of the Divine, and this, as a frum yid, I cannot tolerate. I’ll leave the last word, however, to Rav Aharon Soloveitchik, who was more of an authority on the matter than anybody involved in this dialogue: “If an Orthodox Jew is a racist, it’s not because of what he learned in the Torah, but because of the Torah he didn’t learn.”
As a comedian, or at any rate, a man who, according to Luke Ford, is “funny and intelligent,” schvartzer offends me, not because its offensive, but because that’s all that it is. It isn’t funny, it isn’t original, it isn’t clever, it doesn’t make us look at the world in a new way, or deflate sanctimonious pomposity. It’s just petty name calling, and I like to think I’m above that (now, sophisticated name calling is another matter.) Consider the word “homo.” Also, an offensive term. But you made reference to “homos holding hands in shul,” so that, while I may disapprove of the term, I can at least admire your mastery of alliteration (although it should be noted that the same admiration could arguably be due Heinrich Himmler, who ran the SchutzStaffeln, which operated the concentration camps, like Bergen-Belsen, from which we learn that alliteration doesn’t always make you a good or even particularly handsome person).
So why do I make light of my people’s suffering? Well, number one of course, they are my people, so, to borrow from Hillel, “If not me, who?” But more to the point, I make light of it, because my people are so serious about it (and I will note as a matter of disclosure that my father is a refugee, so both the Holocaust and the obsession with it is not entirely abstract for me). Quite frankly, I think the American Jewish obsession with the Holocaust is a disaster, on so many levels. I think, quite frankly, that we could take a page from Pat Moynihan, and discussion of the Holocaust could use a little benign neglect. On this, I give some points to the Orthodox—it happened, it was horrible, commemorate it on tisha b’av, and move on.
I’ll tell you something funny about my Holocaust Museum gig that Josh left out of the story. Just a few minutes before the Holocaust material, I told a joke about a Jew being killed in a pogrom by Cossacks—the crowd loved it. I’ve had the experience elsewhere as well. See, people aren’t objecting to the notion of Jews being killed; they are objecting to Jews being killed during the Holocaust. People can laugh about all kinds of other misery, but not the Holocaust? People who know nothing about Judaism or Jewish culture think that being utterly humorless about the Holocaust makes them a good Jew. This is a piety which I find both perverse, and worthy of skewering.
As for blacks, why make fun of them? The job of the jester is to criticize the king. What do they have? Do they have political power? Financial power? Cultural power (arguably, yes; but I would argue that whites adopting of black cultural poses doesn’t translate into any particular respect or power for blacks themselves). The only power they wield in America is fear, and, then, only on an individual basis. People might fear the possibility of the black mugger; they don’t have any fear of the collective power of black America, because that power is pretty much non-existent. Organizational Judaism, by contrast, is very powerful, and so if my comedy causes some dyspepsia in the halls of the ADL, more power to me.
Finally, you, and, unfortunately, you are not alone, are completely short-sighted in your desire to use words like “schvartzer.” See, I want to live in a world where I can make fun of anyone and anything. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, because the fact is that in the United States, there is a real history of systematic oppression of blacks, which carries over to this day both in the behaviors of many whites, and in the visceral response of many blacks. I recognize that being a white American, while I don’t have any guilt for what has happened, I do share in the responsibility for not perpetuating the sins of the fathers (and, I can say that, even if it wasn’t my biological fathers, because, being a democracy, we have a government that represents the people. The sins of the government are our sins as well). There are still plenty of raw nerve endings exposed; I see it as being a matter, as noted, of simple menschlichkeit, not to touch those exposed nerves. But aside from common decency, there is a self-serving motive as well. I recognize that until those wounds are healed, there will be some jokes that will be verboten. That may be fine for some, but not for me.
I have a dream, of the plantation owner’s great-great-great-grandson, telling a joke about the stupid, lazy, forty-dog drinking great-great-great-grandson of the slave, and both laughing uproariously. The problem is that all these pricks who think they’re being so revolutionary by making snide racist remarks are helping keep those wounds open, preventing my dream from becoming a reality. Won’t you join me, help stamp out serious racism, so that we can live in a utopia where comic racism may grow and flourish…Just do me a favor, and think about what you’re doing to my dream the next time you’re about to say “schvartzer.” I’d go on, but, quite frankly, even I’m starting to find me tiresome.
Dave Robb Issues A Challenge
Journalist Dave Robb writes Luke 6/1/03: "You are a liar. As you well know, after our brief encounter at the Writers Guild Theater, when I hurt your feelings by refusing to shake your slimy little hand, I stood there in the aisle talking to Ross Johnson and watched you slink off to lick your wounds. There is a park in Beverly Hills called Roxbury Park. It's on Olympic Blvd. near Century City. You name the time and I will meet you there at the north/west corner and I will beat the shit out of you. Dave Robb"
Luke says: Baloney. You backed off after Ross introduced me. Ross then wanted to get rid of me so he could finish his conversation with you. So I left quickly and you resumed talking to Johnson.
Gentle reader: Is it nobler for me to meet Dave Robb on a field of battle and vanquish him or should I plead Orthodox Judaism and take the spiritual way out?
Dave Deutsch writes: Morally speaking, of course, you should try and mend fences. Did you lie about the guy? If so, that would, of course, be wrong, and necessitate an apology.
If that's not what you're going for, however, then avoid the fight, and make fun of the guy. Here's your situation: Here's a guy clearly upset by what you write--so if you don't want him to be upset, then, as noted above, apologize and offer to buy him a beer--you'll feel better come Yom Kippur. If you want him to be upset, then fighting him gets you nothing. If he wins, you give him satisfaction, and if you win, it won't bother him any more than if you keep writing about him (I had a situation like this in basic training--guy wanted to kick my ass, so I just made fun of him for 13 weeks because I knew he couldn't do anything about it). Here's a rule to live by: 98% of the time, when somebody tells you they're going to kick your ass, you have absolutely nothing to worry about, because those who does it won't tell you beforehand. On the other hand, be aware that for the other 2% of the time, you're in for the ass-kicking of your life.
Personally, I'd go with making peace (I'm older and frummer than I was back in boot camp).
Try this: "You know, I really have to give you credit. When I wrote ______, I thought you'd be angry. But now, you write telling me that not only aren't you angry, but you actually want eat the shit out of me. I appreciate the offer to toss my salad, and, quite frankly, your magnanimity shames me. What else can I do but apologize for ______________, and if you still want to eat the shit out of me, I'll buy you a drink and we can see where it goes from there."
If that's not a brilliant apology, I don't know what is.
On the other hand, that apology may drive him into a homicidal rage. You might want to try sincerity, feigned or otherwise.
And you know what would be a good olive branch? Why don't you see if he wants to get together draft a blogger's code to prevent these sorts of things from happening in the future. A Road Map of Principles to Guide Bloggers in their Online Treatment of One Another, or ARMOPTGBITOTOOA, as an easy to remember acronym.
I just read the offending piece. If, in fact, you did lie about the encounter, then I suppose you owe him. If you didn't then you owe him nothing.
Here's a lesson from basic training--this guy kept wanting to take me "to the woodline" (beyond the barracks--in BT mythos, a place where the rules don't apply) to kick my ass. I would tell him that if he wants to do it, then he should just do it where we were, in the barracks--I'll tell the drills sergeants, and he'll get busted--otherwise, he should shut up.
This went on for almost the entire 13 weeks, and he never learned to stop impotently threatening me. So while I, older and wiser, advocate peace, if you really didn't wrong the guy, simply find out where he's going to be, some function or another, and place yourself near him. Greet him, be civil, cordial, downright friendly. He will, in all likelihood, do absolutely nothing, and from that point on, any threats he levels at you can be met with "Hey, don't pull that tough guy act with me--you had your shot at the Rabinowitz bar mitzva, and you didn't take it when you had the chance." If he does slug you, then girls will be all over you, because you'll appear like this David Niven-like bon vivant who was willing to patch things up before this brute assaulted you.
And what the hell kind of lightweight brags about how he'll lose control of himself after "two beers?" If he'd be so out of control that he'd assault you after two, would he sexually assault you after four?
The World's Worst Jewish Comedian
Dave Deutsch writes: Glad to see that you resolved things peacefully [with Dave Robb]. But it's interesting that this guy was on this strange enraged jag for three days. If he'd actually assault you with two beers, this must have been the product of one beer. Now, I can accept that the guy can't hold his liquor, but my god, a three day drunk on one beer?
As for the IQ thing, do you actually know what IQ signifies? I don't. I don't know if you're familiar with the Flynn Effect, but I enclosed an article about it. Read it, and ask yourself if we are smarter, wiser, more decent, less prone to criminality, more industrious, etc., than our forebears sixty years ago, many of whom, apparently, would be considered borderline retarded by today's standards of IQ.
I never quite get why discussions of race in America must be "all or nothing." "Is America racist, or is it a land of opportunity?" As opposed to simply recognizing that while America offers numerous opportunities for its racial minorities, discrimination remains a significant problem (see attached article).
Moreover, white who argue that this is a land of opportunity (and that racism against minorities isn't a problem), don't seem to be so optimistic when it comes to affirmative action. Then America is a horribly racist country where the poor white man can't ahead.
White crybabies are actually a pet peeve of mine. When blacks complain about racism, you may disagree with their conclusions, but at least you have to concede that they are at least bringing up important matters--"I can't get a job," "I can't get an apartment, " "the police keep shooting me and 911 doesn't deliver in my neighborhood." What do whites complain about when the question of discrimination comes up?"
"Why can blacks call each other nigger, but we can't call them nigger? Why can black comedians make fun of whites, but we can't make fun of them?"
Of course, because those are real problems that affect the lives of large numbers of Americans. Personally, I'm dreading having "the talk" with my sons: "Son, I'm sorry, but it's time you learned the truth about life in America. Although you will face less discrimination in hiring, no discrimination in housing, have an easier time getting a loan or insurance, don't have to worry about police harassment or the odd accidental shooting, and will live longer and have fewer medical problems than blacks, you are going to have suffer under the yoke of not being able to call blacks "niggers." And if that's not bad enough, you can't put on a minstrel show, either. I know it's unfair; I know it's wrong. But that's life in racist America. I don't know, sometimes, I look at your face, and think "Those are lips which will never be able to openly call a black man "nigger," those are cheeks which will never know the feel of burnt cork, and I can't help but think to myself, "Is this what Martin Luther X gave his life for?"
Also up on my list of crybaby complaints is the "Why don't they learn English?" Yes, indeed, "whose country is this," when sub-minimum wage illegal aliens who work sixteen hours a day don't even speak English? Why, it's getting so you can't find a yard man, parking lot attendant, or sex slave who can carry on a decent conversation in English. I tell you, they are taking over.
On a lighter note, here's something to consider about IQ. The conventional wisdom is that one of the reasons why America has gone downhill is the granting of equal (or, if you prefer, greater) opportunity to lower IQ minorities. Except that, based on the Flynn Effect, the IQ's of blacks today are roughly what white IQs were back in the 50's, when things were still good. So what's changed? It's not that we've let in low-IQ blacks (since their IQs are only low in comparison to whites today, not to whites back in "the good old days"); rather the problem would seem to be high IQ whites. Note: I'm not saying that IQ has this sort of impact; But if one is inclined to make an argument based on IQ, this makes more sense than the conventional wisdom, since black IQs today would seem to be at the ideal level, given the hagiographic view the CW has of the 1950's.
Where Crime Comes From
Dave Deutsch writes: Just read a comment you made disparaging the notion that crime stems from poverty, and citing orthodox Jews as an example. Before I begin another one of my self-righteous lectures, how familiar are you with the fascinating history of Jewish criminality both here and abroad? (Incidentally, I would say that while anybody who blames crime solely on poverty is wrong, they are no more wrong than someone who denies it plays a significant role).
Luke says: Pretty familiar, and few of them were Orthodox...
Dave replies: So naïve, so very, very naïve. I don't have a whole lot of time now, since I have to finish grading my papers and Sunday I have to go Milwaukee for a week to help my parents move, but when I get back, you're in for an earful (eyeful? awful?) on Jewish criminality and American social history. Or you could just cut your wrists now.
Just one thing to tantalize you: in Rotwelsch, which is sort of a German thieves cant, the word for "prostitute" is "mezuza." (you know, because they stand in the door. That usage goes back at least to the 17th century or so, and there are actually many, many words in the jargon from Hebrew. How many Reform temples do you think were in Germany at the time?
Similarly, in Polish, many words associated with crime (like the words for "prison," "prostitute," and "police interrogation.") come from Hebrew. And in Russian thieves cant, there are also Hebrew loan words (the only one that comes to mind is "kesiva," for "document.") These were all Jews from the most traditional backgrounds.
To make an argument that Orthodox Jews are not prone to crime is meaningless--you can say the same about pretty much any normative religion. Replace "Orthodox" with "Devout," and I think it fair to say that "Devout Black Baptists" are not likely to mug you. "Devout Mexican Catholics" are not likely to break into your home. Obviously, because the fact that they are devout means that they believe its wrong, and applies just as well to any of the major religions.
But you can't mix an argument that one group (blacks) is racially predisposed to crime, while comparing them with another group (orthodox Jews) that's culturally predisposed away from crime.
To compare Orthodox Jewish criminal behavior with blacks, you would have to compare it with equally religious blacks, and I don't know that they would necessarily come out favorably, at least not from what I see in the New York area.
If you want to compare blacks to Jews as a racial group, or African-Americans to Jews as an ethnic group, you can do that, but then you have to throw in the issues of poverty, acculturation, and the general transformation of American society since the turn of the century.
Anyway, I've got to run, but unless you throw yourself down and begin major chest beating (in a yom kippur way, not a gorilla way) you're in for it when I get back. Gut Shabbos.
I just remembered this, and couldn't resist sending it to you. In case you're not familiar, the Berditchever was one of the disciples of the Maggid of Mezeritch, and was famous for always finding the best in Jews (hint, hint).
REB LEVI YITZHOK STORY
One Eruv Pesach Reb Levi Yizhak of Berditchev told the Hasidim to go fetch him some German merchandise. Now At the time it was illegal to own German merchandise as some Russians had a monopoly on the market; and G-d forbid, you get caught, you would go to Siberia for it. The Hasidim were amazed at their Rebbe's request, but the Rebbe's command is the Rebbe's command, so off they went. They came back with much German merchandise because they had found it everywhere.
Then Reb Levi Yitzhok told them to go out and bring back some bread. The Hasidim were shocked, eruv Pesach bread? But he said, "Don't ask me questions, I need it very badly." So they went, and nowhere in Berdichev, and in those days the people were all Yidden, was any bread to be found. So they came back to Reb Levi Yitzhok empty handed.
So Reb Levi Yitzhak turned to the G-d and said, "Ribbono Shel Olam! See how much we love You. Our Tsar has police on every corner and he can't even stop the people from getting German merchandise. On the other hand, You, Master of the World have no police, and yet no Jew will ever disobey You."
A few points: Berditchev was on the border with the Austrian Empire, and was a major smuggling center. Who do you think they engaged in the smuggling? This story is such a great timepiece (I just cut and pasted this version, I would have written it differently, but I'm in a rush), because it's expected that Jews were smugglers, and nobody telling this would have thought that's odd. But just replace "tobacco" or "british wool" or "german goods" with "pot" or "opium."
This is what I really love; somebody figured out how bad this looks, and the way the story is usually told today, Levi Yitzchok either asks a goy to get him the smuggled goods (which makes no sense, because it was the Jews who were involved in trade in Berditchev, and consequently, smuggling), or just asks a random, religiously unspecified person on the street. But in this truer version, there's no doubt--he asks his chasidim, because he knows they're involved in smuggling.
My views on the sorry state of African-American (I don't use that term to be PC--I use it because it refers to a specific ethnic group, as opposed to an abstract racial group) culture. Most racially minded types make the mistake of presuming that the negative traits evidenced by African-Americans are because they are overly "African."
I would say just the opposite is true: African-Americans are actually the uber-Americans. Unlike most immigrants, who have retained something of their original culture, with traditional support structures, communalism, opposition to capitalism, etc, African-Americans had their cultures about as stripped away as they could, making them the perfect template for Americanization. Think about the negative traits--violence, materialism, anti-intellectualism--these are classically American, not classically African. Similarly, the positive stereotypes--linguistic and musical originality, a "happy-go-lucky" attitude, these, too, are classically American. These aren't "racial" traits, they are cultural ones, and the products of history, not biology.
Now, consider immigrants--be honest, if you were to see a couple of black teens on a dark street, wouldn't you feel better if you heard them speaking Patois, or French, or Portuguese? I know I would; I would immediately categorize them as "immigrants," I.e., people who came to work, have a certain initiative, drive, etc. The problem isn't immigrants, it's their American kids, who act like other American kids.
I don't have statistics, but I would be surprised to find that immigrants had as high a crime rate as similarly located (geographically and financially) native-born Americans.
Some years back, Pat Buchanan made a statement to the effect that if you took a group of northern Europeans and a group of Zulus, the former would fit in better in America. He's right, of course, but not for the reasons he believed. It's not that they would instantly have a better appreciation of American jurisprudence, its that they would already be familiar with all the vices that we know and love. Indeed, it's always been a bizarre blind spot of so-called cultural conservatives, like yourself.
Who do you think shares a closer outlook on society to you, the average American (who is, of course, reasonably secular and modern), or the average Mexican immigrant from a small village, who is probably pretty religious and conservative?
I'll leave you with one last Deutsch thought, that relates to race and crime. Whites inclined to connect the two only look at "small crimes--" robberies, rapes, muggings, etc, and offer that as proof that blacks are inclined to such behavior. But why not expand this to "great crimes?" Why isn't the Holocaust, or the Gulag system, or chattel slavery, evidence of an inherent barbarism locked deep within the genetic structure of every white man? Why is it "biological" when a large part of a nation engages in personal brutality, but "cultural" or even "political" when a large part of a nation engages in civic brutality?
Raising Jewish Kids In A Pagan America
Dave Deutsch writes:
Postville - The Movie?
Postville author Stephen G. Bloom tells me: "A lot of people said to me, 'Wow, this would make a great movie. It's like Witness.' Well, the Jews come out as the bad guys. It can't be made into a movie for a lot of good reasons. Who's going to make it into a movie? Look at Hollywood.
"If you run that, people are going to say, 'Gee, is he talking about the Jewish conspiracy, a cabal that runs Hollywood?' No. But a lot of Jews make influential and important decisions in Hollywood and this would make a tough sell."
The World's Worst Jewish Comedian Talks To Teenagers About Sex
Dave Deutsch writes: