WHAT KIND OF JEW ARE YOU?
THE NEW STEREOTYPES
LAST YEAR, I published an article in The Washington Post in which I suggested that people ought to cease comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler because to do so, in my opinion, belittled Hitler. At least Hitler, I wrote, had a point of view. Trump, I wrote, is just a con man.
Not surprisingly, I heard from quite a few angry neo-Nazis who told me that I was “nothing but a dirty Jew”. I also heard from quite a few angry Jews who told me I was “a nogood Nazi.” It was quite the conundrum. Which was it? Was I a Jew or a Nazi?
I’ll be honest: I went with “Jew”. I have a problem with authority, which is probably a deal-breaker if you’re going with the whole fascism thing. But my identity troubles were far from over, as a number of the Jewish emailers posed a seemingly simple question which complicated the matter even further:
“What kind of a Jew are you,” they asked.
That was a tough one.
What kind of a Jew am I?
The unspoken answer to their question was obviously, “Bad.” I am a Bad Jew. They, of course, are Good Jews.
But bad how? Bad spiritually, bad morally, bad-for-the-Jews bad?
At least the Nazis had been slightly more specific.
I was, according to them, a Dirty Jew. But dirty how? Physically dirty, sexually dirty, spiritually dirty?
It occurred to me that some sort of a list would be helpful. A Jew Type List. Something to help both Nazis and Jews hone their accusations a bit more pointedly. Specificity is so important in these matters, or we’ll never know who exactly we’re feeling superior to. And so I turned, as I often do, to books. Literature provided me with some Jew types, but not all. Film provided a few more, and TV filled in the blanks.
In the end, I identified 10 types of Jew that appear in culture. The choices are entirely personal, mostly male (as am I, mostly) and I’m certain there are others. I present them here in no particular order, other than beginning with my most hated Jew Type and ending with my most beloved. It is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a start, and if nothing else, perhaps the “Dirty Jew” Nazis (see Jew Type 5 and Jew Type 8) and “Good Jew” Jews (see Jew Type 6) who raised the original question will read this, sense that I am mocking them, and become annoyed (see Jew Type 10).
TYPE 1: THE JESSE EISENBERG
Of all the Jew Types, this is the one I hate the most. The dreaded, loathsome Type 1 Jew. The Jesse Eisenberg. Fast-talking, moderately intelligent, but whose most salient characteristic is a completely unwarranted arrogance and an utterly baseless superiority.
What makes the Type 1 Jesse Eisenberg so irritating is that the very characteristics that make him so hateful are the very one he prides himself upon:
“Yes I’ m Irritating And A Bit O fA P rick B ut If I Talk Fast Enough And Run My Words Together You Might Just Think I’ m Saying Something Intelligent And think I’ m Bet t er Than You And I’ d Stop Talking Except T hen You’ d Realise I’ m Just A Dick .”
In fiction, Type 1s are often presented as bookish heroes, as lovable supernerds whose intellect saves the day and wins the girl. No, really. They are, I’m serious.
As I’m sure the Anti-Defamation League will tell you, incidences of antisemitism have gone up in recent years, not just in the US but around the world. They blame Islamic fundamentalism, but they’re wrong.
It’s The Jesse Eisenberg.
JESUS OF NAZARETH: Began as a Type 6, grew into a fantastic Type 10, with a bit of Type 3 (the whole crucifixion thing).
BARUCH SPINOZA: A Type 6 that became a Type 10 and a bit of a Type 1.
ANTHONY WEINER: A Type 5, with a streak of Type 7 and unintentional Type 9. SIGMUND FREUD:
Type 1 combined with a Type 5 though he probably saw himself as a Type 4.
BABY HOUSEMAN FROM DIRTY DANCING:
A very rare Type 5/Type 3 combo; originally trying hard to be a Type 6 (bad idea), and winding up a sort of milquetoast Type 7. GROUCHO MARX:
Solid Type 10/Type 5. In a perfect world, he would be the model for a Type 6. Alas.
Just kidding, CK isn’t a Jew. He’s just stealing our material. Type 7?