I have no formal training in comedy but, as Jews are wont to do, I consider myself something of a comedian (and a tragedian too!). These talents notwithstanding, the only insight I have about Sarah Silverman’s recent pro-Obama video entitled “The Great Schelp” is that it is: 1) funny, 2) refreshingly anti-PC, and, 3) based on the rather questionable surmise that Jews might actually be able to tilt the vote in Florida.
As for funny, well, just watch the clip. That young African-American men and Jewish grandmothers have in common a love of track suits, Cadillacs and their grandchildren is perhaps the only joke from the video that I can recount on the august (web) pages of The Washington Post.
With cringe-inducing reliability, Ms. Silverman always manages to say the most offensive and unconscionable thing imaginable. Here, she clearly shares a twisted strand of DNA with her co-religionist, Larry David. The star of Curb Your Enthusiasm, who sets nightmares to comedy, has left in his wake scads of outraged Jews, African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Muslim-Americans, gays, lesbians, rabbis, visually impaired people, Evangelical Christians and a small armada of people in wheelchairs.
And many others.
Aside from being skilled at their craft, both understand that in this great nation of ours skewering must be performed democratically. All groups must, perforce, be mocked. No one shall be spared–this is America, after all! We should consider ourselves fortunate to have these foul-mouthed patriots in our midst.
My only concern lies with the significance that Ms. Silverman and her fellow schleppers attribute to the Jewish vote in Florida. Don’t buy those plane tickets just yet, kids. Aside from the fact that air travel isn’t what it used to be, please recall that Jews compromise a scant 3.6 percent of the Sunshine State’s citizenry (about 655,000 out of a total Population of about 18 million).
True, a very large population of elderly Jews who are more hawkish on Iran than Obama, may find the McCain-Palin ticket more attractive. True, some of these grandparents could swing to the GOP after having lived through the unraveling of the Civil Rights coalition with all the Black-Jewish urban tensions that it entailed (for an intriguing look at this problematic I would recommend Grace Paley’s short story “Zagrowsky Tells.”)
But bear in mind that Obama’s views on the war in Iraq, abortion, the economy, public school curricula, gay marriage, the environment and other issues are far closer to those of the Jewish liberal mainstream. This is a mainstream that has not given a Democratic presidential candidate less than 76% of its vote in the last 4 elections.
If tomorrow were November 4th my surmise is that Obama would lose a few of those Jews who voted for Kerry in 2004. But not enough to tilt the race in any substantive manner. And that’s because Jews are bit players in the Florida electoral drama.
Yes, I know: hanging chads. I get it. To that I say, the shleppers might do more good for their candidate by brushing up on their Spanish and reaching out to the state’s massive Latino population (“Me llamo Shlomi. Yo soy por cambio!“). It is also estimated that roughly 4.5 million Evangelicals (with many Latinos to be counted among them) reside in Florida.
Think of Ms. Silverman rushing out to Jacksonville First Church of Christ with her video camera and inspirational messages for undecided gentiles. Then think of thousands of Obama operatives being flown in from 36 neighboring states and the Island of Guam to make sure that no such meeting ever occurs.
By Jacques Berlinerblau |
October 1, 2008; 9:59 PM ET
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