Tuesday, July 17, 2007


(PICTURE: The Germans did not have Jewdar so they had to put markers on their friendly, neighborhood Jews.)

Any man who is not aware of “gaydar” is pretty imperceptive or one ugly SOB. Who hasn’t experienced another guy staring with that hooker look?

Well I’ve been watching several movies and TV shows that reminded me of that. The viewer is carried along in a romantic story and suddenly it culminates in a Jewish wedding.

Wait a minute. Go back a bit. When did the couple find out they were Jewish? How come the guy doesn’t say at the ceremony, “What? You’re Jewish too?” It could happen as far as the viewer is concerned because there was no hint in the story they both were Jews. It was kept a secret from the viewer.

I wonder why.

No, I’m being deliberately obtuse. I know why. Lenny Bruce did this routine about being approached after a performance by a couple in the Midwest. After some verbal sparring the old man asks hopefully, plaintively, “So… Are you Jewish?” When he responds, yes, all barriers are down. He’s invited for a meal at their house and introduced to a young woman. It’s a funny bit.

The writers of these screenplays have devised a way to avoid that awkward, hopeful, plaintive question. They have invented Jewdar. The couple just knows even if the viewer does not.

It’s a way to sidestep that, “Jews don’t assimilate,” problem. No need to point it out.


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