Over the last two days, I have been questioned almost incessantly about the new issue of TimeOut NY, because it features a a cover story on "The New Super Jews." While I am not specifically called out as a Super Jew - "should have studied your Torah portion harder, bitch," was the message my synagogue's cantor left on my answering machine - I guess people felt they could poll me as a representative of the tribe, hoping I would be able to tell them what it was like to finally be regarded as cool. As cool as pan-Asian cuisine or Red Hook, as cool as taco trucks and mukluks.
Honestly, at first it felt funny but it quickly started feeling shitty. When I think about how much backlash Williamsburg and moustaches have received on Craig's List, I can't help wondering if Jews are next. Is reducing a rich, ancient culture to a fleeting slot on some weekly's hot list (including an endorsement by the always-reliable Courtney Love, who claimed "Jews are cooler than fucking Billy Corgan and forgetting where I left my baby.") going to do anything for Jewish people? Or will it give anti-semites a convenient way to sublimate their hatred as just a harmless reaction to media-appointed hipness? I can see people rushing to their blogs, furiously deleting their negative opinions about Rick Moody, just to be the first to trash the new hot Jews. Am I going to start suffering entries like, "I guess it's easy to announce your trendy new status when you OWN THE MAGAZINE!!! And the media! And RGB color!! And the original Gutenberg press!! And the Orlando Magic!!!" and "I guess if you want to be cool now, you just have to parody shit with Yiddish, huh, Jews?? Oh wait. Check it out, I'm a Jewish MC and my name is "Slim Schvitzy." Aw yeah. Dr. Dreidel. MC Schmegegge. I'm in Run Daled-M-C and I'm about to drop my new album Raisin' Bagel. YOU ABOUT TO GET MORE LIFTED THAN THE BRIDE AND GROOM DURING THE HORAH. FOR 8 MILES AND 8 DAYS I'LL LIGGITY-LIGHT YOU UP LIKE A MENORAH. MOTHERFUCKERS WANT TO BITE MY HAFTORAH, THEY BETTER RECOGNIZE! SUKKAH MCs KEEP YOUR SHIT CORRECT OR I'LL BEAT YOU LIKE A LULAV AND GET GLATT ON YOUR ASS, FULL-BLAST, THEN STOMP YOU HARDER THAN A WEDDING GLASS. I'LL SPIT L'CHIAM WHILE I'M WATCHING YOU DYING!!!!
Or will the attention swing the other way? Will there circumcisions on St. Mark's Place? A Cadillac Ark? A copycat Exodus? Will they have to excise that part of the Bible so dumb Nebraska teens won't wander in the desert for 40 years without Powerade, just to be cool? Will I be fetishized like silk panties or Asians? There are so many exciting questions this new article raises. In fact, I was so moved by the piece that I actually did something I rarely bother to do: I wrote a letter to the editor of TimeOut. Don't know if they'll publish it but at least we can have it for ourselves:
Just read the "New Super Jews" issue of TimeOut NY and I have to say, as a representative NY Jew, I think it's adorable that your publication considers Jewish people the new Williamsburg. There's nothing quite as gratifying as discovering your several thousand-year old culture is finally doing something cool enough to make ink alongside stories about "Yoga for Dudes" and guys who pop boners when they imagine themselves strutting around in low-rise jeans. In your face, Hitler!
Very much looking forward to your upcoming issue about how black people are doing hip and interesting things, too.
Shalom (that's our hip, secret word for "later!"),
I can't wait until I get rounded up...FOR THE V.I.P. ROOM!!!