Jewish Journal


September 4, 2008

Sarah Palin, Michael Chabon and the frozen chosen



It must be difficult being Jeffrey Goldberg.

He has essentially the best job in American journalism—and that is after leaving the New Yorker last year. He’s the author of a fantastic memoir on Muslims and Jews and the fight over the Land of Israel. He gets accused of torturing Palestinians by American cheerleaders for Hezbollah. And when he started a blog this spring, it immediately got the kind of traffic most of us daily sloggers only dream of, buoyed by Q&As with the high-profile person of his choice. He began with Barack Obama, then moved on to John McCain; yesterday he had a good conversation with Dexter Filkins about the dramatic turnaround in Iraq.

Today, he spoke again with the great Michael Chabon about—what else?—the governor of Alaska, the frozen Promised Land in “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.” (You’ve probably heard the governor’s name recently: it’s Sarah Palin.)

A snippet:

JG: Is Sarah Palin Jewish? Her husband was in the Yiddish Policemen’s Union. Or maybe the Steelworkers, I forget.

MC: It’s unlikely and, I feel, sort of weird the way this Alaskan lady’s fortunes have become caught up, and so quickly, with those of the Jews. An exhaustive search of press mentions on Lexis-Nexis reveals that, until very recently, “Alaska” and “Jews” had been included in the same sentence only 18 times, ever. I know I probably deserve some of the credit for this uptick, but I decline to accept it.


JG: Do you think McCain was a) smart, or b) stupid, to pick Palin as his running mate?

MC: I think the answer is probably both more pathetic and more chutzpadich than either a) or b) would imply.

After the jump is an taped interview I did with Chabon last fall.

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