Jewish Journal

Praying for anti-Semitism

by Jared Sichel

December 30, 2013 | 5:39 pm


Jay Michaelson, a popular author, writer, and self-described "BuJu" (a Jewish Buddhist, or a Buddhist Jew, or whatever...) wrote a hilariously incoherent op-ed this past weekend in The Forward about Pajama Boy, a recent marketing attempt by Democrats to get young Americans to discuss ObamaCare with their families over Christmas.

Michaelson takes issue with conservatives who pilloried the ad, which shows a 20-something guy in a onesie, smirking, eyebrows cocked, sitting cross-legged on a couch with a cup of hot chocolate, with his head turned to the side, presumably looking at his parents (?). The ad reads:

Wear pajamas.

Drink hot chocolate.

Talk about getting

health insurance


Michaelson described the Right as going "apoplectic," citing without sources supposed conservatives who presumably wrote that Pajama Boy is a "metrosexual in a plaid onesie" and "an insufferable man-child,"...and "various other vaguely sexist and homophobic epithets." Apparently they were too vague for Michaelson to elaborate.

Ok, fine--journalists and writers sometime make mistakes and fail to cite a source. If only that were his sole objection to jokes aimed at Pajama Boy.

Michaelson continued:

"What’s interesting about the Right’s freakout about men who don’t measure up to the standards of the 1950s is how Pajama Boy’s obvious Jewishness has been subsumed by these other characteristics.

Yes, Virginia, Pajama Boy is a member of the tribe. Look at him. Pale Ashkenazic skin, Jew-fro’d black curls, Woody Allen specs. Even the smart-ass expression on his face screams of the Wise Son from the Passover Seder.

Parenthetically, the model himself is one Ethan Krupp, an Organizing for America staffer who is, in fact, Jewish. But whether Krupp himself is circumcised or not, Pajama Boy is semiotically Jewish, even stereotypically so."

So, to clarify, Michaelson has premised his assertion that attacks on Pajama Boy are attacks on Jews by first declaring that Michaelson obviously "is a member of the tribe," when the ad makes no overt or covert attempt to communicate that. 

As one commenter on the article wrote:

"So, this author accuses others of stereotyping and anti-semitism by... stereotyping the guy?"

But it gets worse. Attacks on Pajama Boy are so obviously concealed attacks on Jews that Michaelson feels that "Pajama Boy stands at a centuries-old nexus of anti-Semitism and misogyny." Apparently, jibes at Pajama Boy belong on the list of other stereotypical anti-Semitic characteristics of Jews--"urbanite," "parasite," "usurer," "effeminate," and--gasp!--"liberal," and "lawyer," which this author just learned by reading Michaelson's piece, should both be regarded as anti-Semitic labels, not descriptions of, respectively, political views and professions. (As a note: Jews overwhelmingly vote liberal and are disproportionately represented in the legal profession. Those are facts. Not slurs.)

And, if you're wondering why the author hasn't cited the angry conservative pundits who Michaelson uses as his proof that conservative Pajama Boy jokes are really anti-Semitic dog whistles, it's because Michaelson didn't provide any. None. Ziltch. Nada.

Hilariously, Michaelson even admits that he has no sources:

"Needless to say, in this brave new world of Eric Cantor and the Republican Jewish Coalition (whose executive director makes over half a mil – must be a real man), the Jewishness of Pajama Boy is conspicuously absent from the vitriol. But as soon as you see it, you can’t un-see it."

Who saw it besides Jay Michaelson? This author will venture to make a bold prediction: perhaps the "Jewishness" of Pajama Boy is "conspiscously absent from the vitriol" because no one thought about Pajama Boy's Ashkenazi look until Michaelson brought it up.

He wants Pajama Boy to be Jewish. 

And he also wants to think of conservatives as anti-Semites. And if Pajama Boy is obviously Jewish, believing the Right is evil is made so much easier.

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Jared is a staff reporter for the Jewish Journal. Raised in North Potomac, MD, a sleepy suburb 30 minutes outside Washington D.C., Jared attended Tulane University in America’s...

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