The Untold Story

Curb Your Self-Awareness

November 08, 2017

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Curb Your Self-Awareness

Seinfeld co-creator Larry David did something during his Saturday Night Live monologue this weekend that is almost unknown in 21st-century America: He engaged in Jewish self-criticism in front of gentiles:

A lot of sexual harassment stuff in the news, and I couldn’t help but notice a very disturbing pattern emerging, which is that many of the predators, not all, but many of them are Jews….

I don’t like when Jews are in the headlines for notorious reasons. I want “Einstein Discovers the Theory of Relativity,” “Salk Cures Polio.” What I don’t want? “Weinstein Took It Out.”

Not surprisingly, David’s violation of the contemporary rule—Don’t joke about the Jews—was not well received. For example, from the Los Angeles Times:

Anti-Defamation League slams Larry David’s ‘SNL’ monologue

It’s hardly surprising that David would be the one to stumble upon this prime directive of contemporary culture: Don’t recognize Jewish patterns.

Both Seinfeld and David’s subsequent HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm are shows about rules, about the descendants of shtetl dwellers awkwardly adrift in a world without an all-encompassing set of laws itemized in the Talmud. David’s characters are constantly either getting in trouble for violating rules that they didn’t know existed or are outraged that other people aren’t aware of rules that seem obvious to them.

As Larry’s blond wife on Curb explains to him in exasperation after his attempt to enforce his assumption that the cutoff for Halloween trick-or-treating ought to be age 13 ends in disaster:

You know what? Not everybody knows your rules, Larry. You’ve got your own set of rules and you think everyone’s going to adhere to them, but they’re not because nobody knows them.

On SNL, Larry, who is now 70, was appealing to an older Jewish-American rule that the most obvious way for Jews to avoid criticism for stereotypically Jewish failings, such as exploiting shiksas as if they were members of a different tribe, is to try to behave better.

“An intelligent people should be able to sidestep these kinds of self-inflicted disasters.”

Or, if you can’t improve, well, at least don’t be a scold. Or, like David and Seinfeld, invite people to laugh at your scolding.

If, like Harvey Weinstein, you find yourself unable to control your urges, try not to also be the chief figure in the transformation of the Academy Awards into a shameless orgy of self-satisfied virtue signaling.

If, like Dov Charney, founder of American Apparel, you can’t keep your hands off the help, don’t lecture your customers on the immorality of enforcing the immigration laws.

If, like Jann Wenner, founder of Rolling Stone, you have an endless track record of self-indulgent bad behavior, don’t publish Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s self-evident anti-gentilic blood libel of Haven Monahan and his fellow nonexistent U. of Virginia frat boys. Moreover, when you do get sued for libeling innocent people, act apologetic rather than getting up on your high horse during your deposition.

In other words, show some shame. And don’t try to shame everybody else.

Criticism, while painful, tends to be good for human beings in the long run. If you are off-limits from criticism about your most characteristic shortcomings, how would you recognize what you need to work on?

For example, I get criticized a lot, so I try to understand their objections and at least not give them easy ways to score off me.

This old custom among Jews, however, has faded over the half century since roughly the Six-Day War, as American Jews have discovered that the best defense is a good offense. Rather than try to reform, it’s much more convenient to simply denounce all criticism of characteristically Jewish shortcomings as anti-Semitic pattern recognition.

This is not to say that Jews don’t attack other Jews; they do all the time, but typically for not living up to presumed Jewish standards toward other Jews. American partisans of the various political parties in Israel are constantly squabbling with one another over their purported failures to live up to the high standards of Jewish moral superiority.

But admitting to the public, as David did, that a large fraction of the Hollywood moguls in trouble in the current liberal meltdown are Jewish is not done. The New York Daily News headlined:

Larry David slammed on social media for ‘Saturday Night Live’ Holocaust, Harvey Weinstein jokes

The Hollywood Reporter observed:

Larry David Criticized for ‘SNL’ Monologue on Jewish Sexual Predators and Holocaust

It’s worth observing that White Guilt and Jewish Guilt are diametrically opposite. White Guilt is the worry that your ancestors were too ethnocentric, but Jewish Guilt, as given its classic formulation in Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint, is the concern that you aren’t ethnocentric enough for your ancestors.

The current lack of Jewish self-awareness can be amusing. For example, Fox 17 in Michigan reports that a few of those low-key “It’s okay to be white” fliers have successfully trolled the city fathers of East Grand Rapids:

“As a Jewish American this really strikes home,” says Chad Zagel, First Ward Commissioner. “With the kind of world that I’m trying to build for my son, I’m deeply offended, the outrage knows no bounds.”

Unfortunately, this growing Jewish pompousness and obtuseness has serious long-term consequences. For example, much of the reigning conventional wisdom about immigration policy is based on a retconning of the past to make the late arrival of the Ellis Island immigrants into the central event of American history.

It’s a pious bit of ancestor worship that should be laughed off as understandable but ridiculous and, more important, irrelevant to determining our future.

But almost nobody ever gets the joke. For instance, when Donald Trump’s Jewish speechwriter Stephen Miller scoffed at a reporter’s claim that the “wretched refuse” poem on a plaque added to the Statue of Liberty in 1903 proves that America shouldn’t rationally regulate immigration, this was treated as shocking impropriety in the ever more humor-impaired press.

The Anne Frank Center announced:

“Stephen Miller has turned himself simultaneously into a Statue of Arrogance and a National Monument of Ignorance,” Goldstein said in a statement issue Wednesday. “His subpar knowledge of American history, as reflected in Emma Lazarus’ poem, means he couldn’t pass President Trump’s new immigration test. Therefore, Stephen, please leave.”

Similarly, much of the current mania over Russia is due to Putin’s role as the Neo-Czar of Russia, automatically triggering American Jews raised on Fiddler on the Roof to assume that the pogroms will begin at any moment. That would be funny…except that it could lead to WWIII.

Likewise, Trump is literally Hitler, except with blond hair.

One common explanation for why nobody, not even Larry David, is supposed to joke about Jewish tendencies is because Jews are so powerless.

An alternative and perhaps more plausible answer is because Jews are so powerful. As former vice president Joe Biden artlessly declaimed in 2013 at a Jewish American Heritage Month shindig:

“I bet you 85 percent of those changes, whether it’s in Hollywood or social media, are a consequence of Jewish leaders in the industry,” he said. “The influence is immense, the influence is immense. And, I might add, it is all to the good.”

Nonetheless, it would seem imprudent for Jewish journalists to get so worked up excoriating “white privilege,” as in their promoting the bizarrely un-self-aware #OscarsSoWhite hate campaign, at a time when the 2 percent of the population that’s Jewish makes up roughly one-third of the Forbes 400.

Indeed, much of the Late Obama Age Collapse of the progressive coalition into squabbling factions seems to be focused on heavily Jewish institutions such as Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and the universities. There isn’t all that much wealth left in red-state America for identity-politics groups to strip-mine, so their claws are now out for the wealthy institutions of blue-state America, whose leaderships are, of course, quite Jewish.

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. An intelligent people should be able to sidestep these kinds of self-inflicted disasters. But when you make your highest priority keeping everybody else unaware, you wind up intellectually disarming yourselves as well.

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