December 21, 2006
I’m… dreaming… of a white… Chri—ummm, holidays
(Page 2 - Previous Page)They were all Jews, and that's a lot for such a small people. In fact, so far as I know, the first non-Jews Jesus ever ran into were the ones with the whips and the nails.
By the way, most people don't know that tens of thousands of other Jews were also crucified in the same way, and in the same period, by the same sweethearts, the Romans, although Jesus was the only one who rose and grew to be worshipped by millions, unless you count Miramax.
We may not know what color Jesus' eyes were, but it's a cinch that Joseph and Mary looked a lot more like Elliot Gould and Lainie Kazan than Brad Pitt and Ann Heche. Anyway, we're finally on to Christmas.
After one more point. (Come on, don't be mad.)
Here's the thing. Every ethnic group, tribe, people, and race has its bragging rights, but I think the Jews have had a vastly disproportionate effect on the world over the centuries to their numbers. For goodness' sake, if you list just three, Jesus Christ, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud, I can't imagine any other trillion people added together who have so shaken up heaven and earth, can you? Now, is that just a coincidence?
You put us down anywhere in the world, and one generation later you've got the best hospitals, furniture stores, schools, libraries, delis and 97 percent of anything funny that's ever been written.
Be honest, if you needed an emergency heart operation in 10 minutes, and you had to choose your surgeon right there, right then, that second, and the list they handed you had only six names, and you were in a strange place and didn't know any of them, and the six names were: Dr. Bush, Dr. Kennedy, Dr. Giuliani, Dr. Arafat, Dr. Sharpton or Dr. Lieberman.... Which one would you pick?
Yes, yes, I know, it's a terrible question. I feel awful and don't know how I'll ever get over it.
All people are obviously exactly the same, and I'm certain each one of them is a magnificent doctor, but... which one would you pick? Hell, Bin Laden would probably pick Lieberman, and you know it. I wish he wouldn't, but he probably would. The cherry on top is that Dr. Lieberman would enthusiastically use all of his talents to cure him, which follows my long-held theory that every Jew is just smart enough to be his own worst enemy.
Are Jews over-represented in all sorts of important fields? You're damn right we're over-represented in all sorts of important fields, but isn't that an amazing thing? You might have thought over the years folks would look at the Jews and say, "These people are incredible and astonishing. Let's be more like them." The actual response has been, uh, slightly different, more along the lines of "These people are too good at everything they do. Let's kill them."
It's another of life's ironies that the England in which William Shakespeare created Shylock had very few models for The Bard to go on; zero, actually, those of the Hebrew persuasion having been invited to leave Her Britannic Majesty's realm just a hair before Elizabethan times, in 1290. (They weren't asked back till the Restoration by Cromwell, who looked around and realized no one in England had had a decent argument for 400 years. My opinion of Shylock, by the way, is that he was a candle lit by Shakespeare in the darkness.)
I'm a short-run pessimist and a long-run optimist, and I believe deeply that one day, for all peoples, the lion will lay down with the lamb. When that will occur is anyone's guess, maybe even God's. (That'd be a kick in the head, wouldn't it? You get to heaven and God says, "Me? I was waiting for you.") The odds for universal brotherhood hitting the charts in the next short while are not good, but whether it's the long run or the long, long run, we'll just have to wait and see. It will probably come somewhere between the United States winning a World Cup and the sun burning out, both of which are going to take millions of years, anyway.
In the meantime, I think Americans have made astonishing progress embracing tolerance of all people, and often adopt many aspects of varied cultures into the melting pot, so much so that sometimes it gets a little silly. A few years back a national fast-food chain added a snappy little item to their breakfast menu: ham and cheese on a bagel. I still don't know whether that's a giant leap forward, or the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life.
Anyway, come on, folks, lighten up on the Jews. Any group that survives thousands of years of attempt after attempt to destroy them and can still consistently pop out people from Pushkin to The Three Stooges should be given a pass or two, and maybe even allowed to have their own country the size of a book of matches in the middle of a football field.
And now, if no one has any further interruptions, I'd like to talk about Christmas. The issue, as you know, is what we should call it. "The Holidays" has become a popular dodge, which is interesting considering the word "holidays" comes from a contraction of "Holy Days," which is the one thing the people who insist on using it don't want to acknowledge in the first place. And you've all heard the eye-rolling contortions like Winter Solstice Break.
I guess I'm in the group that shrugs and says, "What in the world is so wrong about your dry cleaner, and (gasp!) the evening news, and even (double gasp and grabbing of chest!) your senator saying "Merry Christmas?" I don't get it, I swear I don't. Ninety percent of the country is actively or inactively or nominally Christian, but they all celebrate Christmas. Does that make America a Christian country? Not officially, maybe, and it never has been, but doesn't it kind of make it one unofficially? The main thing is... who cares? I don't. In fact, it's fine with me. Look, folks, in case you didn't know, or went to public schools after 1970, the United States was started by Christians, thought up by Christians and grown by Christians, and I can't speak for you, but I'm glad they did.
Personally, I like being The Other, the guy on the outside of the whole thing, because every time I get too assimilated and start thinking I'm Alistair Cooke, Christmas comes along to remind me I'm probably closer to Sam Cooke.