Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Zev Chafets' Members of the Tribe starts off with an anecdote told to him by members of a congregation that had a couple attending who, for all intents and purposes, seemed like they were going to convert to Judaism.  After months of seeing the couple at services and other simchas (holiday and life cycle gatherings) at the synagogue, the pair suddenly dropped off the map, and congregants didn't know why.  Then a synagogue member spied them in public, came up to say hello, and asked them why they weren't coming to shul anymore.

"We wanted to learn the secret," the couple said.

What secret?

"Of why you people are so rich."

They meant monetarily rich.  Like one enters a synagogue and instantly finds the combination to Scrooge McDuck's money bin.  Which is a complete load of crap. 

In trying to become members of a religious community just for tips on financial security, that couple's actions were, at long last, just terribly, pathetically sad in retrospect.

I'd put the Big Man's question in that category, but for different reasons. 

What is making his question about Rick Sanchez's firing so sad is that it does reveal that, unfortunately, after all this time, being an "Other" still matters.  If Sanchez were being fired because he was just a terrible journalist - which he is - things would be different.  It seems, though, that how good a journalist you are has nothing to do with whether or not you get on cable news channels, or even the non-pay teevee channels, these days.  News is entertainment now, and Sanchez's stunts - among them, having himself tasered, ostensibly for journalistic purposes - apparently appealed to CNN enough for them to give him his own show.  What I am curious about now is what Sanchez's future holds...will he go the way of Don Imus, who was canned from MSNBC and from CBS Radio after his nasty comments about the Rutgers' women's basketball team (which, in a perfect world would be two strikes - against blacks and women - held against him forever) only to resurface on ABC Radio in the following year?  That to me will be more telling than Sanchez's firing.

As to what is the process?  How can someone be canned within a couple of hours for saying that their employer=Jews?  How can another race, creed, gender, transgender, sexual orientated group or ethnic group get that kind of clout?

As a Jew, I wish I knew that combination. Really, I do.  'Cause I'd use it as a woman to get that kind of clout.  I'd pass it on to the black majority of this city, and to the people trying to get Park51 fully realized, and to folks of the same sex who love each other deeply but can't get married, adopt children jointly, or even get on the same insurance policy.  You're underprivileged and discriminated against for "reasons" not of your own making? I've got these numbers I need to give you...

Asking what is the process of turning prejudice upside-down and inside-out? is sad because it wonders, in desperation, when the rest of the world will catch up to its own words of enlightenment that have been repeated so often yet ring so hollow. 

Actions are not yet in sync with the words.  There is not yet a good answer.

I wish there was.

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