October 16, 2008

WHAT ROUGH BEAST SCHLEPS TOWARDS PALM BEACH?

Mocking the Jews (HAVIV RETTIG, 10/10/08, The Jerusalem Post)

If two recent initiatives from the Jewish Council for Education and Research are any indication, Obama's most ardent Jewish supporters may be one of the major causes for his relatively low popularity.

These first of these initiatives is The Great Schlep, a project aimed at getting young Jewish Obama supporters to travel to Florida to convince their more conservative grandparents to vote for their candidate. In a video promoting the initiative, uncouth satirist Sarah Silverman urged the grandchildren of Florida retirees to make the trek.

The video has been discussed widely in major American newspapers, with reporters usually quoting Silverman's stock-in-trade surprise barbs, such as: "If Barak Obama doesn't become the next president of the United States, I'm gonna blame the Jews." The humor comes from the fact that the statement is clearly ridiculous.

Or is it?

Unlike the reporters, Silverman herself didn't stop there. Unreported in the media coverage are her next five sentences: "I am. And I know you're saying, like, 'Oh my god, Sarah, I can't believe you're saying this. Jews are the most liberal, scrappy, civil rights-y people there are.'

"Yes, that's true, but you're forgetting a whole large group of Jews that are not that way, and they go by several aliases: nana, papa, zaide, bubbie, plain old grandma and grandpa. These are the people who vote in Florida, and the Florida vote can make or break an election."

This is not "blaming the Jews," but it is blaming a certain kind of Jew. That equation - not all Jews are good Jews, and the bad apples could cost us the election - seems a strange way to try to convince those grandparents to vote for Obama. Even the name of the initiative, "The Great Schlep," is meant to mock more than convince.


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Posted by Orrin Judd at October 16, 2008 4:17 PM
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