Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart
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Sunday, 12 October 2008

Time for a Turnabout

Over the last little while, a video featuring comedienne Sarah Silverman has been circulating through the Web. In it, Silverman encourages young Jews to call their presumable more conservative grandparents and tell them they should vote for Barrack Obama in the presidential election. As Rav Yonasan Rosenblum notes in his recent piece on this:
The website for the intitiative, www.thebigschlep.com, features comedienne Sarah Silverman instructing Jewish youth in Lysistrata-style tactics: Threaten to withhold future visits unless Granny agrees to vote for Obama. Here’s another suggestion: Tell them that if they don’t vote for Obama, “the goodest person we’ve ever had as a presidential choice,” it can only be because they are racists.
Now, Sarah Silverman has never been mistaken for someone who exemplifies traditional jewish values and observances. In fact, the only traditional stereotype it wouldn't be a stretch to identify her with is the self-hating Hollywood Jew who uses his/her ethnic name to legitimize anti-Jewish statements and beliefs. Just like Woody Allen who perpetrated all sorts of anti-Semitic caricatures in his movies and was never held to account for it because, after all, he's just so Jewish, Silverman uses her name and her questionable credentials to present an "authentic" Jewish position on the upcoming vote.
All this is natural considering that the entertainment industry in the United States has succeeded in creating a youth-obsessed culture. Watch any major television show or movie and the stereotypes shine out: young people are vibrant, imaginative and full of ideas. Old people are either demented, dementing, a pain to have around or secretly evil.
It ties perfectly with why Barrack Obama, a man whose sole accomplishment in life is to promote himself, is leading in the polls over John McCain, a man with decades of military and political service at a time when inexperience in leadership will plunge the United States and the world into a terrible recession.
Youth today (which unfortunately means anyone under 35) have no perspective with which to view world events. As Rosenblum saliently notes:
The grandchildren will seek to prove that Obama will is good for Israel, but their identification with Israel bears no relationship to that of their grandparents. For them the Holocaust is the stuff of history books, not a living memory. Ditto the U.N. vote on Israel’s creation. They did not huddle anxiously around TV sets listening to the U.N. debates leading up to the 1967 war, when a second Holocaust seemed all too possible and 10,000 graves were dug in Tel Aviv in anticipation of war casualties. Many have never heard of Entebbe.
Is it then any wonder that these Jewish grandchildren would naturally see their bubbie and zaidie as apple sauce-sucking incompetents who have to be told to vote for?
I have one piece of advice for any bubbie or zaidie who is threaten by their grandchildren that they won't come to visit if that grandparent votes for McCain: Either the grandchildren vote for McCain or they're out of the will. Period.

2 comments:

Bartley Kulp said...

You hit it right on. Without making a value judgment on either candidate, the video that Silverman made was extremely insulting.

All it did was make an insinuation elderly people have no concept of evaluation because they lack the sophistication that the contemporary youth have. In reality the opposite is generally true.

I personally would like to think that I gained a lot of tools from my grandfather, great aunts and uncles. I many times I did not agree with them. Particularly when I was a teenager. As I grew older I came to appreciate their experiences and powers of observation. Mrs. Silverman obviously never out grew that.

Bartley Kulp said...

You hit it right on. Without making a value judgment on either candidate, the video that Silverman made was extremely insulting.

All it did was make an insinuation elderly people have no concept of evaluation because they lack the sophistication that the contemporary youth have. In reality the opposite is generally true.

I personally would like to think that I gained a lot of tools from my grandfather, great aunts and uncles.Many times I did not agree with them. Particularly when I was a teenager. As I grew older I came to appreciate their experiences and powers of observation. Mrs. Silverman obviously never grew up.

Sorry I was unclear on the first post.