Previously: • Bret Easton Ellis—Or Dr. Seuss? • Ask Reddit—Or Sociopath Quiz Question? Alex J. Mann is a writer, director and comedian living in New York City. He’s written for Nickelodeon, The Morning News, CollegeHumor and National Lampoon. You can check out his comedy projects here and follow him on Twitter here.
As we are so often reminded, mileage is variable, and that will certainly be the case for yours on the subjects of sports, Wilt Chamberlain and the Jewish summer resorts of the '50s. But if any of those are of interest to you, I highly recommend that you head here and watch this documentarette. The main point I would like to get across in this space, however, is that Haskell is actually a pretty great name and if we are going full steam ahead and recycling all the appellations of an earlier era you could do a lot worse than to choose that one for your child. Or someone [...]
"I did not learn to cook, either. Instead I have become a superior dinner guest. I am wonderful to have at your side while you cook, particularly if you give me a glass of wine, and also to have sit at your table, because I will appreciate your food in a deep, emotional and highly verbal way." —Awl pal Jami Attenberg reminds us that the key ingredient in chicken noodle soup is "guilt." In other news, her wonderful novel The Middlesteins has been picked up by German publishing company Schoffling & Co. It's fun to imagine the conversations at the office about how to handle the retitling of [...]
"In one episode of 'The Sisterhood,' Brian and Tara plan the theme of the bar mitzvah cake. 'How about Christ in the Torah?' Brian asks. 'Amen,' Tara answers."
How "Baby It's Cold Outside" Became America's Secular Christmas Anthem, Despite People Claiming It's About Date Rape
Betty Garrett and Red Skelton, reversing roles in the song's 1948 Hollywood premiere.
This Christmastime, last Christmastime and for many holiday seasons past, writers and commenters of the Internet have gathered to argue over the holiday classic "Baby It's Cold Outside." The conversations and accusations are rarely about the song's merits as a Tin Pan Alley jazz-pop composition. Instead, we wonder if the playful exchange of the man and woman is actually the loaded conversation before a sinister date rape. Or is the whole song just a harmless relic of a bygone time when "The answer is No" meant not "No," but "maybe just a half a drink more," [...]
"Now the brand has retrenched, with a label that brings back 'Goldenberg’s' and resembles its original design, a regional rather than national growth strategy, and an advertising and marketing campaign that celebrates its heritage." —Goldenberg's Peanut Chews are my all-time no. 1 ranked favorite candy bar in the world. I was very disappointed in 2004, when they changed the company changed its wrapper design, and, as today's Times puts it, "removed the historically prominent 'Goldenberg’s,' which was thought to sound too homespun for a national player." More so because, Yeah right! Too "homespun." That was the most egregious example of self-loathing assimilation we'd seen since Ralph Lipshitz changed [...]
I have heard an argument made that Ron Moody's portrayal of Fagin in Oliver! takes a character who is an anti-Semitic stereotype to begin with and blows the big-nosed doors off, but I have to say that I cannot keep from loving this money-grubbing Jewy jig and the performance behind it. He was also amazing in Mel Brooks' third-greatest film. Anyway, the man is 90 today, and good for him.
If you've ever wanted to know how a nice Jewish girl like Merrill Nisker became Peaches, the new feature film slash documentary "Peaches Does Herself" won't exactly connect the dots for you.
If you'd like to see Peaches and her Fatherfucker Dancers reenact her rise to fame—complete with a giant bed that looks like a vulva, dancers in pink zentai that are orgiastically unzipped, and a surgery gone awry, then Peaches Does Herself offers all of that and more. Besides Peaches and her dancers, "Peaches Does Herself" stars Sandy Kane, of New York City public access fame—she's a former stripper in her sixties who wields a dildo [...]
It's nice to know that there's no "controversy" so stupid that Abe Foxman won't be ready with a comment about it.
If you saw any of the X-Men movies, was there any doubt that Erik Lensherr—the young man who goes all Uri Geller when the Nazis put his parents in Auschwitz—is a Jew? Followers of the 50-year-old X-Men comic books have different opinions. Some say "Magneto" (or Magnus or Erik, whatever you like to call him) is actually of Romany blood. (Nazis, you may recall, also massacred Gypsies, homosexuals, Communists, Poles, Czechs, Russians, Ukrainians and Freemasons.) But in the form of actors Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender, Magneto has a concentration-camp tattoo identifying him as Jewish. Does this matter? Aren't most comic-book heroes also of the Chosen People? Of [...]
"Will you tell your children that a liberal government will increasingly marginalize, dismiss and weaken the support for and the safety of the Jewish state?… Will you explain that whatever their personal beliefs, tax-funded institutions will require them to imbibe and repeat the slogans of the left, and that, should they differ, they cannot have a career in education, medicine or television unless they keep their mouths shut?… Most importantly, will you teach them never to question the pronouncements of those in power, for to do so is to risk ostracism?" —Right-wing "convert" David Mamet appeals to American Jews' sense of parental guilt as he encourages them to [...]
“Space tourists are usually high-income earners whose survivors can use high-powered lawyers—insurability for private space travel flights is a big issue at this time." —Space lawyer Doug Griffith talks to Fast Company's Neal Ungerleider about the growing field of space law.
"Advocacy groups are incensed after a Romanian government-owned channel broadcast a Christmas song glorifying the Holocaust and calling for Jews to be burned. The channel is blaming a local group for the performance…. In the broadcast, a choir was shown singing a Christmas song that indirectly glorifies the Holocaust. The song, which rhymes and uses the word 'jidovi,' a pejorative word for a Jew, includes the lyrics, 'only in the chimney as smoke, this is what the "jidov" is good for.'"
"'Jewish men are very interested in the selection of whiskey available at a wedding or bar/bat mitzvah,' said Jonathan Goldstein, vice president of Park Avenue Liquor Shop, a Manhattan store known for its whiskey selection. 'They very often will pick up a special bottle to offer close friends or relatives.' Of the Friday before the Jewish holiday of Purim, last February, he said, 'It was like Christmas in here.'"
As a non-Jew who watched The Ten Commandments every Easter/Passover as a child and occasionally marries into Jewish families as an adult, I have been deeply disappointed with the reality of American Passover Seders. Expecting buckets of lamb blood for door painting and ominous bearded nomads reciting death tales from memory, instead I got people talking about college basketball around a glass-and-bronze dinette set piled high with unsavory seasonal items from the supermarket. That nobody at the table really believed in G-d never helped, either. How is He going to strike us all dead when he doesn't even exist?
While there's a lot more interesting food options for Pesach today—[...]
Politics apparently continued over the winter holidays. What did that crafty Barack Obama do while the rest of us were worshiping the Baby Jesus or whatever? He is suggesting that America allow Chuck Hagel to be the Secretary of Defense, that's what! Who would let Chuck Hagel do something as important as overseeing the continued American defeat in Afghanistan, when he has controversial opinions about The Gays and Israel?
But, like all cabinet battles, the controversy around Chuck Hagel is both a) limited to Politico reporters/editors and the people who actually read the Politico, and b) not really about the Defense Department but actually about right-wing Christians who hate gays [...]
"In the current study, researchers statistically controlled for race, age and gender, but introduced a story that primed participants to dislike some of the people they were observing: half were presented as neo-Nazis, and half were presented as likeable and open-minded. All study participants recruited for the study were Jewish males." —The study itself found that "liking or disliking a person can affect how your brain processes actions" but I think that part above is the best.