A recent attack against Harvey Weinstein in a Jewish publication reminds us that, when it comes to antisemitism, America’s Jews are overachievers.
Almost three years ago, I wrote a post entitled Some of America’s ugliest antisemitism comes from young Hollywood Jews (language warning). I wrote after I had watched a comedy roast of James Franco and was appalled by the way in which the other guests slung about gross insults, all of which reeked of antisemitism. It’s no exaggeration to say that they tied into the worst kind of anti-Jewish propaganda, whether emanating from the Tsar or the Nazis.
As I noted in my post, the insults weren’t the pointed, but still loving, insults that so enrich the Yiddish language and Jewish jokes. Certainly Jews have never been under any illusions about certain cultural features that arose in ghetto and shtetl, but there is no self-loathing in these jokes or in the rich Yiddish words. Instead, they wittily acknowledge the human condition without dehumanizing the human. There is no antisemitism in this traditional Jewish self-analysis.
The same cannot be said for what came out of such well-known Hollywood Jews as Sarah Silverman, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Andy Samberg, and James Franco. Their jokes were hideous, oozing self-referential antisemitism. Here are some examples of those jokes, along with my comments about what they reveal (language warning):
King of Hollywood: [about The Guilt Trip] Listen, if I wanted to watch two ugly Jews weaving through traffic, I’d watch Seinfeld’s web series.
Nick Kroll: Many of you might not know that Seth has a writing and directing partner named Evan Goldberg. What does this other guy look like that you’re the face of the operation? I assume he’s like a sweaty Orthodox Jew eating a pastrami sandwich, and he said [scrunching up his face and using a thick Yiddish accent] “I did nine dick jokes on page four, and I was thinking that the guys are friends, and then they’re not friends, and at the end of the movie, they’re friends again.”
Sarah Silverman: I can’t tell if this is the dais or the line to suck Judd Apatow’s balls. This dais is so Jewey. What is this, the Comedy Central audit of James Franco?
Sarah Silverman: Jonah is such a Jewy dick, you have to watch his movies through a hole in a sheet.
Nick Kroll: “James Franco is truly our generation’s James Dean. So handsome that you forget he’s only been in two good movies. Dean, of course, died at the tender age of 24 sparing himself the embarrassment of writing self-indulgent short stories and getting roasted by a bunch of jealous Jew monsters.
Nick Kroll: “Seth Rogen is so Jewish.”
Crowd: “How Jewish is he?”
Nick Kroll: “Seth Rogen is so f***ing Jewish… Anyway, it’s great to be here.”
These awful “jokes” are just the ones that internet publications deemed amongst the funniest things the assembled “comedians” said. There were more, and they were all in the same vein, saying horrible things about Jews. None of them gently laugh at the human condition. None offer insight into human foibles or human decency. All play into the most vile stereotypes about Jews: Jews are ugly, Jews sweat and stink, Jews are obsessed with sex, Jews are eaten by jealousy, and Jews are simply “f***ing.”
These jokes are a primer in self-loathing. They perfectly reflect the Stockholm Syndrome that has overtaken America’s Progressives Jews. These young Jews — who are amongst the most recognizable people in America, and have become power brokers in Hollywood — have internalized all of the worst stereotypes about Jews. They believe this of themselves.
Moreover, as is often the case with people who perceive themselves as defective, they’re trying desperately to be the first to insult themselves, relieving the “normal” person with nothing left to say. (Sarah Silverman’s stories of her horrific childhood bear out this theory about beating yourself first, before someone else does it.)