Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Jews Sayin 2000 (pt. 1)

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Just to make this perfectly clear: there are two writers on this blog. There's me (noixe), and the other guy (GentleWhoadie9000). GW9K has the David Langleib connection. I'd never heard of him until this whole thing blew up. That might not be clear to some people out on the internets; if I've learned anything from all this, it's that you can't assume anything is obvious. Ever. Anyways.)

My first reaction when I sat down to write a response to the large number of people finding our site by googling "David Langlieb + jew," and to dudes like Souaveck, was to say something sarcastic and Jew-centric. Something like "good thing the Five Jew Bankers can protect my Hebrew brother until this blows over." Unfortunately, in light of recent events, I think there's a real concern that implying that Langleib is hiding in a war room under a synagogue somewhere in Brooklyn would be taken seriously, and that some boys in Greenpoint would call off work and go get the gat.

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First and foremost, Langleib's article was inane. It wasn't funny and it wasn't insightful. And it was most definately offensive. Good satire is intelligent and absurd beyond question. It has to show a firm, detailed understanding of the situation being lampooned. Apparently, all David could muster was the tradition of Polish jokes and the basic ills of gentrification. People got offended because all he brought to the table was Starbucks jokes and "how to sink a Polish ship". If he wanted to do it right, he would have mentioned the 1939 invasion of Poland. For example, developers and young professionals are invading Greenpoint, just like the Nazis invaded Poland to start WWII. Extra bonus points if he compares the hipster contingent to the Soviet Union for collaborating with the yuppies (they represent Germany, remember?) by diluting the area's Polish culture by throwing shows at Warsaw. See? Five minutes of basic fact-checking on Wikipedia and he could have at least been funny.

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The anti-Semitic backlash is scary, as it's never good to be reminded how quickly it goes there, especially in parts of modern Europe. But the real shock here is seeing a Jewish writer fuck up sarcasm so badly. Within all the stern language which fills the Langleib-related comments sections, a common theme appears to be 'how exactly can one be sure it was sarcasm?' Well, aside from the fact that reputable liberal arts colleges don't print racist manifestoes in their alumni newsletters, Langleib is Jewish, and ironic humor is the bread and butter of the modern Jew. In my 7th grade social studies class in North Carolina, a black kid in the back of the room yelled out "man, I hate Jews" during a lesson on the Holocaust. My teacher (who began that day's lesson by stating that "hundreds" of people died) calmly responded that it wasn't appropriate to air personal prejudices in the middle of class, then continued teaching. Had someone yelled out a racial epiphet during a lesson on slavery, there would have been outrage, suspensions and cracked teeth. But the double-standard is not the point; I could have said spoken up, but that's not how Jews roll. I mean, yelling something out in the middle of a quiet classroom is funny, especially when you're 12 years old. When it's a blatant slur, that shit is great.

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The world throws the dumbest shit possible at us. When we don't get the plague because we don't have kitchens full of rats, we must have started the plague. When Nazi Germany massacres millions of Jews, we are somehow blamed for World War II. Then, a generation later, someone tries to deny it happened. And when a clique of evangelical wizards starts an American proxy war in the Middle East, everyone wants to blame the Zionist conspiracy. We find all of this hilarious, and we think you're all sort of insane. How do we know David Langleib doesn't seriously think Polacks are stupid? Because he reacted like Michael Bluth. The smart money says a forehead slap was involved.

A better-written satire probably wouldn't stop the anti-Semitism, but it would have made a better point. Through all of this, nobody is talking about the impending development of Greenpoint. With Williamsburg officially declared "over" by seven out of ten bloggers, Greenpoint, just to the north, is picking up the slack. Standing in McCarren Park Pool, on the border between Williamsburg and Greenpoint, you can literally see three apartment buildings going up in every direction you look. Langlieb doesn't want a Banana Republic on Manhattan Ave., and his article was supposed to point out that that is exactly what will happen in a few years on the current path. Complaining about development in Brooklyn is pretty tired, especially coming from exactly the kind of transplant that drives gentrification. But if when someone gets around to blaming the rich Jewish developers for driving Poland out of north Brooklyn, it would be nice to get an ironic laugh out of this incident. Unfortunately, when this theoretical moment comes and future-David Langlieb says "told you so," the answer will be a resounding "no you didn't."

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