October 12th, 2005


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08:54 pm - on comedic self-deprecation and the warrior jews....
so on the way to my weekly poker game, beststephi and I were listening to conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage and he was talking about the popularity of Jews in comedy. He specifically cited Jerry Lewis and Woody Allen and later Jerry Seinfeld stating that Jews become popular in comedy by being self-deprecating. His theory being that it is the base anti-semitism of the the population at large that causes people to laugh when a Jew makes fun of himself.

He went on to point out that all portrayals of Jews in the media are comedic and that the real tragedy was that the media never addresses the "Warrior Jew." That is to say the strong powerful jew that kicks butt and takes names while chewing bubblegum. You know, the Jew that history is full of.

Part of me wants to say that he's full of shit. The reason Lewis, Allen and Seinfeld were popular is because they were good comedians, and one of the great testmaents to successful comedy is the ability to be self-deprecating. Negro humor tends to be far far far more racially self-deprecating than Jewish humor ("Black people are more racist than white people, because we hate niggas too"). Maybe at essence it is hate that makes people laugh at these jokes, but I don't think it is specific to the Jews.

That said, for every George Lopez, Chris Rock and Rodney Dangerfield there's an Antonio Banderas, Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson or a Keanu Reeves. But for the life of me I can't actually think of any popular warrior jews in the media. Are there any? Or do people really think that the jew is only seen as the punchline to the great racial joke in Hollywood, even more so than any other race?

I'm obviously especially interested in what my jewish friends think here, but I'd like to know what other people think as well.


EDIT: The picture of ludimagist, Warrior Jew, though uploaded to Flickr by me, was originally taken by anukul. Credit where credit is due.

(52 comments | Leave a comment)

 
on comedic self-deprecation and the warrior jews.... - graffiti.maverick

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Comments:


From: ludimagist Date: October 13th, 2005 - 01:11 am (Link)
Moses in The Ten Commandments is the only real big one that gets played over and over that I can think of. There was a pretty badass Jewish kid from Brooklyn in the platoon in Saving Private Ryan as well, and there is plenty of theory that Superman is a cultural manifestation of the Jew in America.

But...

You are right. Off the top of my head I cannot think of a major Jewish hero who is readily identified as Jewish. This could be an assimilation thing. But then, Einstein once said something along the lines of "If my theory of relativity is proven correct, the French will say that I am a citizen of the world and the Germans will say I am a German. If it is not, the French will say that I am a German and the Germans will say that I am a Jew." Adam Sandler's "Chanukah Song" spells out a whole lot of Jewish stars, some of whom played some badass characters, though they aren't popularly thought of as Jewish.

It's really popular since the Cold War for Hollywood heroes to be fighting terrorists. No one has ever tried to explain away Arnold's or Van Damme's accents by declaring them Israeli commandos though. There have been some pretty badass Israeli film heros, but that's really not PC to show these days.

A lot of anti-semitism is rooted in fear. I don't know how much a Jewish hero would play into those fears. At the same time, the Jewish stereotype in America is not very action heroish. We had films like School Ties and whatnot, but those are extremes moreso than the norm.

On the comedy front I think you're right. Good comedy is good comedy. On the hero side... there are problems.

Would you be ok with it if I link to this post on weirdjews?

Oh, and thanks for making me the poster boy for this one ;)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:23 am (Link)
Please, by all means pimp me out... I'd love to see some alternate takes from people I don't know here. Besides, aren't you the one who is always saying that I should be paid for this sort of thing? Maybe someone over there will want to donate to the cause.
From: ludimagist Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:47 am (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:49 am (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 07:25 am (Link)
From: ludimagist Date: October 13th, 2005 - 07:31 am (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 07:58 am (Link)
From: ludimagist Date: October 13th, 2005 - 11:34 am (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 01:53 pm (Link)
From: ludimagist Date: October 13th, 2005 - 02:50 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 06:27 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: cuddlyd00m Date: October 13th, 2005 - 01:55 am (Link)
Disclaimer: not Jewish

The only "warrior" Jews I can think of are those from real life. David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Dayan, Uzi Narkiss, Chaim Bar-Lev. And of course, Col. Ilan Ramon. On the other hand, I'd be willing to bet that very few of your readers will know any of those names (well, probably Ben-Gurion, but not the others).

As for Hollywood, I can't think of a single one.
[User Picture]From: yannaboo Date: October 13th, 2005 - 03:03 am (Link)
well, very few of the not-Jew readers would know those names. And how could you forget Joseph Trumpledor, the famous one-armed man?
From: yannaboo Date: October 13th, 2005 - 03:03 am (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:30 am (Link)
From: cuddlyd00m Date: October 13th, 2005 - 03:41 am (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:28 am (Link)
From: dales Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:34 am (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:37 am (Link)
From: dales Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:40 am (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:45 am (Link)
From: cuddlyd00m Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:23 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 06:00 pm (Link)
From: cuddlyd00m Date: October 13th, 2005 - 06:12 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 06:26 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:27 am (Link)
From: ludimagist Date: October 13th, 2005 - 07:23 am (Link)

Israeli Badasses

From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 07:27 am (Link)

Re: Israeli Badasses

From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:25 am (Link)
[User Picture]From: katieboyd Date: October 13th, 2005 - 04:49 am (Link)
That's because you haven't seen The Hebrew Hammer
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:29 am (Link)
actually, I am aware of the film. But no, I haven't seen it.
From: katieboyd Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:31 am (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:39 am (Link)
From: katieboyd Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:42 am (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:53 am (Link)
From: dales Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:35 am (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:36 am (Link)
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 16th, 2005 - 01:05 am (Link)

hammer

From: jaidit Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:53 am (Link)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 05:57 am (Link)
Yeah, I just got done addressing the claim about the French liking Jerry Lewis because they're anti-semitic above. I don't buy it. Unlike say, Woody Allen, I don't really see the jewishness playing into Jerry's act at all. It was always much more that he's an idiot, race, religion and creed aside.

Yeah, I like Lewis Black a lot. His rants on the Daily Show remind me much of my ranting and raving here.
From: ludimagist Date: October 13th, 2005 - 07:43 am (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 08:06 am (Link)
[User Picture]From: kdavoli Date: October 13th, 2005 - 11:52 am (Link)
I don't know if this falls under your rubric, but what about the wrestler Goldberg?
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 01:56 pm (Link)
Duh... I can't believe I didn't think of him. Yeah, he would in fact count. He's actually done a couple movies in addition to wrestling (and being a football player before that). But I don't think he's had a starring role. He's the first one that anyone has come up with though. I'm thinking its still kinda a lopsided distribution though.
[User Picture]From: jameel Date: October 13th, 2005 - 12:09 pm (Link)
Dude, everyone knows that the Israeli Special Forces are comprised of the world biggest badasses. Seriously. Everyone knows not to fuck with them. I remember that at least as early as high school. Wolverine trained with them.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 01:58 pm (Link)
yeah, I'm aware of that. But I can't think of any portrayal of them that way in a movie or anything like that. Wesley Snipes mentions that they're badass in Passenger 57, but you never see any of them, its just a throwaway comment.
From: ludimagist Date: October 13th, 2005 - 02:52 pm (Link)
From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 06:29 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: yannaboo Date: October 13th, 2005 - 01:12 pm (Link)
There's also a theory that the Marx brothers represented the different kinds of Jew, from different eras. Groucho being the modern era (well, for his time) Jew, and I think Chico being the banker Jew... I don't remember too well, it was in a novel I read, and I can't even remember the name of the novel now.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 01:59 pm (Link)
Hmmm.... ok, that's pretty interesting. I'd like to read that book.
[User Picture]From: muppetfromhell Date: October 13th, 2005 - 08:42 pm (Link)
Not film, but there's an interesting discussion of Jewish Warriors in Orson Scott Card's "Enders Game" where in his universe it is widely believed that Jewish students have some innate skill for leadership in combat.

Of course, the one overtly Jewish character in the book is also described as being in a position where he specifically does NOT have much conscious ability.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: October 13th, 2005 - 09:46 pm (Link)
yeah, I think the written word treats jews with a bit more respect and power than the video medium. However, I'm at a loss for a plausible rational for why.
 

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