Saturday, March 05, 2005

FIGHTING WORDS

Howard Stern is a scamp. He knows how to get people to talk. More than once a prominent black rapper has been in to talk about his stable of whores and how he keeps them in line by hitting them with his shoe. I doubt all of that is true.

Mr. “T” came in once and Stern started off the interview by asking him how his mother was.

Well Mr. “T” just about went bananas. “Why you talkin’ ‘bout my mother?” He wanted to fight anyone and everyone in the studio. He finally stormed out without hitting anyone.

I’m sure Stern did it on purpose. He had learned in a pre-interview that it was a sensitive topic. But it made great radio.

Mr. “T” came back a short time later and gracefully apologized. In his defense, he had been going through some difficult times.

I have a cousin whom I dearly love even though she is a hopeless liberal. (From the audience: “How liberal is she?”) She has lived all her life in Berkeley and worked at the university. Is that a clue?

I love to tweak her. I started a sentence, “Jews are different be…”

She pulled a Mr. “T” on me. “Different!? They’re not different! You can’t say that!” Etc. Etc. Etc.

When her tirade stopped, I began again, “Jews are different because…”

Again she interrupted and wouldn’t let me continue.

After a while I asked her to explain what was wrong with the word ‘different.’

She thought about it and finally decided, “Nothing, I guess.”

So I finished my sentence. “Jews are different because they go to temple on Saturday.”

She realized she’d been had, but that was no reason for her to hit me. (I would have sued but Johnny Cochran said he was busy.)

Which brings me to the point of all this. Das is a blogger out of Seattle (http://www.sunbreak.blogspot.com/ ) who has made kind comments about this site. I enjoy browsing his site because it gives me ideas. (My post: WHY I’M HIDING IN THAILAND is really all about him.)

He posted an essay about his Seattle neighborhood about the time I posted THE VANDALS, and we had this exchange. (Some irrelevance removed.)


Walter Guest said...
The big difference between immigration today and during the previous history of the country is that immigrants today, in general, do not wish to assimilate. Previous immigrant groups wanted greatly to assimilate. Except, of course, for the Jews, who will assimilate nowhere, and look what that has got them.9:24 PM

Das said...
Walter - hey, I've got to object to your comment that Jews don't assimilate - I mean that doesn't make sense to me - The Jews have been in America since the beginning and their contribution to every area of life has been outstanding...it was their sense of complete assimilation into pre-WWII Germany that delayed their response to the fascism directed at them...so..what can you mean?
9:26 AM

I think I was supposed to go on the defensive there. I detect, perhaps, a question if that was an anti-Semitic remark.

Strangely, the first time I heard this (refusal to assimilate) was from a Jewish girlfriend some years ago. That was her idea of pillow talk. There was no doubt what she was referring to: Intermarriage and mixing blood lines. She was for it. (I dodged that bullet.)

The ultimate in assimilation is absorption. A group adopts the culture and religion and intermarry and mix blood lines.

That’s why the British people can say they’ve never been conquered although their islands have been. They absorbed all who conquered them so they are now both the conquered and the conquerors.

In my old neighborhood the different nationalities and religions mixed with great gusto, eagerness and steaming hormones, paying no attention to the despair of immigrant parents. The only exception was the Jews who, for the most part, only married Jews. That was at the root of my remark about assimilation.

Of course in America they have assimilated much more than in Europe. It was my Jewish girlfriend of old who mocked the preservation of “scary blood lines” and actually made that quote, “Look what that has got them.”

I’m not going to cop out, I agree with her completely, but there’s nothing anti-Semitic in that. They hold on to their religion, culture, traditions and bloodlines. Good for them. There’s nothing wrong with that.

If you’re offended, it’s your problem not mine.


UPDATE: Das was right. (But so was Walter.) (This is posted after the first two comments below.)

First, two points.

1. I hate to let facts interfere with an interesting discussion.

2. I hate to do research or anything else that might remotely resemble work.

That being said, I actually spent 13 seconds looking this up on www.SimpleToRemember.com

Jewish identity is declining sharply.

Of 5.6 million Jews, 2 million American Jews live in households identified as non-Jewish
60% of Jews below 40 years of age live in households identified as non-Jewish

20% of Jews over 60 years of age live in households identified as non-Jewish
Intermarriage rates are increasing dramatically.

Before 1965, 10% of Jews who married, did so outside the faith.

Since 1985, 52% of Jews who married have done so outside the faith.

Children are being raised as non-Jews.

1 million, or 54% of all American Jewish children under the age of 18 are being raised as non-Jews or with no religion.

Fertility Rates are not high enough to replenish the religion.

The average fertility rate of American Jewish women is 1.4 children per household. The replacement level is 2.1 children.

Less emphasis is being placed on a Jewish education.

In 1962, 540,000 Jewish children were attending afternoon weekend schools, and 60,000 were enrolled in day schools. By 1990, fewer than 240,000 Jewish children attended
afternoon /weekend schools and 140,000 attended day schools.

NET LOSS -- 220,000 Jewish children.

Traditional Shabbat observance is extremely low.

Only 36% of Jewish households light the Shabbat Candles.

Of the population that consists of people who were born Jewish and are Jewish by choice, only 11% attend synagogue weekly.

* All Statistics taken from Council of Jewish Federations' 1990 National Jewish Population Survey. This is the most comprehensive source of American Jewish data available


My observations from when I was growing up prove to be right on the money. But times, they are a-changin’.

Again, there in no good or bad in all of this from my point of view. I only make observations as a neutral observer.

3 Comments:

Blogger Das said...

Senor Walter,

I didn't say you were anti-Semitic I just questioned your terminology as relating to Jews in America. Maybe we hang around a different class of Jews; all my Jewish pals chase after Asian women, black women white women, occassionally Jewish women - so on that level I questioned your "no assimilation" remark. Plus how do you -we - define assimilation anyway? Does it only have to do with chasing (and finding) girls? Are Asians in America unassimilated because they use chopsticks? If by unassimilated you mean "identifiable by religion, food, etc" then nobody in America is assimilated. I know you are provocative and that's why I like your writing but I also know that you know that the "unassimilated" adjective, when stuck to Jews has a particularly dastardly historical precident and that is why I questioned you about it...

March 9, 2005 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Walter Guest said...

At first I thought it might be a generational difference. I was raised in the forties.
Then I recalled from my vast readings of philosophers (where's the damn spell check when I need it?) and social critics, a passage from the book "YOU'LL NEVER EAT LUNCH IN THIS TOWN AGAIN." The author was a prominant female producer in Hollywood. She advised her friends, who were only out for fun, to only screw Jews because there was no chance they would want to marry them.
So there.
Seriously, we are only talking about degree and the definition of words. That could go on forever.
I am satisfied that we have staked out our territory and can leave it at that.

March 10, 2005 at 4:35 PM  
Blogger JewMind said...

You left out the other statistics.
click here

June 29, 2005 at 10:40 AM  

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