Monday, January 29, 2007

How To Raise Your Jewish Child:
Why We’re Totally Unqualified To Say Anything About It

Look, we’re not here to blow smoke up your ass: neither Simon nor Sera has any kids. Simon and his shayneh wife, Julia, have elected neither to be fruitful nor to multiply. For one thing, Simon can’t bear to part with his low-hanging sharp-object mobiles and candy bowl full of razor blades and lead paint chips (he’s all about mid-century toxic).

As for Sera, she has so far exhibited such radically inappropriate taste in men (not a one of them Jewish! Not even half-Jewish – not even the wrong half!) that she has decided that if there is a God after all, finding a mensch to make little Gambles with is on Him. She has a hard enough time finding a guy who’ll spring for the Trojans.

That’s not to say we have no experience with rugrats. Simon has allowed many fine nephews to crawl all over him, pulling his hair, smudging his glasses and cramming sweaty little sausage fingers up his nose. For that alone he deserves his own museum of tolerance, or at least toleration.

And Sera has a delightful goddaughter. She even changed the baby’s diaper this one time. Okay, sure, when she picked the little angel up, a flood of tiny hard balls of poop came streaming down the back of her onesie like hitting the quarter-slots jackpot, but nobody said maneuvering baby tush was easy. The point is, Sera spends lots of time with the girl, only resorting to returning her to her parents if she’s hungry, cranky, or needing to potty, get dressed, get undressed, nap or get up from a nap.

But we know that’s not the same as having your own tiny mewler-n-puker. We know there’s something hypocritical about telling you it’s your duty to create an army of anti-Aryans while we mix up another pitcher of sangria, fail to change out of our pajamas, and watch Adult Swim. But look, Kafka didn’t have to turn into a cockroach to write about it. Shakespeare didn’t have to eat a pie made out of his own offspring, or even fuck a fairy queen while donkey ears grew out of his head. Yet despite their obvious lack of personal experience, we still trust them to be able to tell us something worth hearing.

We’ll get around to kids. Or we won’t. We’re kind of busy right now writing this book to save the Jewish People. (And ordering lunch. So tired of chicken.) Would you criticize Judah the Maccabee for not procreating? No, because you would know he was out there with a sword, fighting for your rights until the moment an elephant stepped on his head or there was some kind of miraculous oil surplus. (That’s a Hanukkah joke. In fact, that’s the only Hanukkah joke. Enjoy.)

Even better example: Oprah.

Childless, yes, but still to be heeded with immense respect – if not elected President of the Galaxy – when she talks, be it about raising kids or Remembering Your Spirit or buying the right bra size (80% of us are wearing the wrong bra! Oprah does entire shows on this; she cares about your tits). We’re like Oprah (especially on her thin days but when she can’t be bothered to straighten her hair). We care about your kids (and tits).

The bottom line is that we’re just telling you the truth here. We’re trying to self-help you. Giving you the opportunity to do a mitzvah and, like those hemp-clad, dreadlocked, variously ethnic “Zion” ravers in those two shitty Matrix sequels, save humanity.

Because Earth without Jews? Terrible for so many reasons we should devote a whole blog entry. Right after lunch.
How To Get Busy In The Name Of All Jewish People Ever, In Six Easy Steps

Step One: A quick trip to the Museum of Tolerance will strengthen your resolve. If that’s too far to drive, pop in Shoah, grab a cookie, and buckle in with a box of Kleenex and a glass of pinot. The only thing standing between us and what you’re looking at is your genetic material. No pressure.

Step Two: Take a thorough shower. No one wants to bang a stinky person.

Step Three: Seduce your lover. Yes, this makes a difference. We don’t want precise and perfunctory intercourse; what are we, Germans? Think wet and sloppy. You’re celebrating life. Get loud. Screech like a feral cat. Remember, you’re sticking it to Hitler.

Step Four: Oooh—did our mention of Hitler slightly soften the Little Rabbi? Well, that’s your secret weapon, guys, at no extra charge. It might take more than one round to make a legible copy of your DNA, so you men need to make sure your lady’s willing to keep at it until Mission Accomplished. That means satisfying her. Scratch that: It means placing her in the very Barc-a-Lounger of ecstasy and putting it on full recline. Look, Jewish chicks are hot:

It’s sometimes tough not to get overexcited. We’ve all been there.

So when the precipice of your climax looms too close, and you know that beyond it lies the forbidding, rock-strewn valley of her disappointment — and really, hell hath no fury like a shvitzing, unsatisfied descendant of Rivkah mumbling, “No, it’s fine, really” – think of jackboots.
(But only if they turn you off. It has come to our attention that some of our people secretly enjoy the mental image of Ilsa the She-Wolf sneeringly booting them in the tuchus. If you are one of these, well, first of all, you have some issues you might want to discuss next time you visit Dr. Feldman for a refill. But for the purposes of properly schtupping the naked and sweaty Jewess whose ample bosoms are even now heaving alluringly beneath you, skip the jackboots and go directly to the next image.)

Think of that oily black hair. The mustache of doom. The karate-chop gesticulation. The glottal bellowing (seriously, Hitler, why were you always yelling? They gave you a microphone so you wouldn’t pop a vein in your eyeball every time you got your crazed-dictator swerve on. Fucking relax, would you? Oh, that’s right – you never did).

Anyway, quick mental slideshow of Herr Über-Evil, and now you’ve got all the time in the world, right? (Please say yes. If picturing Hitler, Goering, Himmler, Mengele or even Pat Buchanan fails to decelerate your headlong plunge to ejaculation,you’re reading the wrong blog.)

The one caveat: when it comes to Hitler, know when to say when. You don’t want to deflate yourself completely. A handy rule of thumb: 20 seconds of Third Reich, then switch to baseball. (If the National Pastime doesn’t sufficiently put on the brakes, it’s permissible to imagine the infielders in SS uniforms.)

Step Five: Congratulations – you’ve conceived a micro-Semite. When the telltale joyous puking and weird cravings begin, it’s time to start the real work. We don’t believe you should wait until the little darling is born to start basic training. Talk to the belly. If blasting Mozart at fetuses makes ‘em smarter, imagine what a daily dose of Talmud can do!

...Then again, that might be a little too rich a slab of cosmic pound cake for a baby’s bubbling mind. So stick to the secular – remember, we don’t really care if the kid’s a good Jew. Try some nice Jewish comedy. Like Lenny Bruce, a visionary firebrand whose heroin-fueled naps and frequent poo-poo humor make him surprisingly nursery-appropriate. Think how quickly you’ll hear your tiny, beloved offspring speak those special words: “Nazis? Fuck those douchebags!”

Step Six:
Wow, that’s one cute baby. But you’re not off the hook yet. Hop back on that cock, ladies, because it’s time to make a brother or sister for your little Levite. Yes, two kids are exponentially more work than one. That’s why we advise you make at least three, so they can just raise each other. You’ve got to cover all the bases: the doctor/lawyer:

Dr. Cristina Yang, TV's most popular Jewish doctor. Is it just us, or is it a little weird that she is named for Jesus?

the artistic big thinker who dazzles academia with densely written ruminations on good and evil:

and the overlooked, disgruntled middle child who crashes the car, dabbles in drug dealing, and drops out of Humboldt U to “find” himself. That child is key, because he’ll be the one who hitchhikes through South America and discovers the secret compound of a hunted Nazi war criminal and his legions of evil scientists, whose swastika-swaddled Hitler clones are mere days from gestation:

Yes, ladies, whatever he's packing, it's circumsized.

There are so many ways they’ll make you proud!

But, Very Hot Jews, HOW Do I Stick It To Hitler?

We're glad you asked. We think you're going to like the answer.

The answer is: sex.

(You're welcome. And yes, you may buy us a drink. Simon'll have a sassy 7&7. Sera will have a martini — three olives. Hold on a sec while we down these; we're pretty sure our advice only gets better the more we drink.)

While we drink, a quick note: the following paragraphs advocate reproduction. And in the name of full disclosure, we feel compelled to note that we have no intention of following our own advice (much more about that later, but for now suffice to say that these lives are for mature audiences only) and take no responsibility for the repercussions of precipitous parenthood, m'kay? Hey, the lady said three olives!

So, yeah. Hitler had a giant stick up his ass just because he was adopted and a bad artist and had a tiny, tiny, microscopic penis. Instead of doing what a reasonable person would have done-- i.e. seek therapy from a nice Jewish shrink-- Hitler developed this elaborate plan to make everything better. The plan boiled down to (spoiler alert!): kill all Jews. His marked annoyance with us Hebrews makes sense, since we appear to have everything he lacked: we Jews tend to have warm, close-knit families, and we're by and large very creative and artistic (see: Industry, Entertainment), and as you probably know our menfolk seriously deliver in the challah department.

The Very Hot Jews are, understandably, somewhat focused on sticking it to the little fucker.

We stick it to him by foiling his plan-- we stick it to him by making more Jews.

You hear what we’re screamin’: Find a nice Jewish girl, put on a tie, take her out somewhere Zagat-rated, fuck her brains out and make her yours. Girls? Same deal with the hardy, corn-fed Jewish fellas. You can’t all have Sera’s brother – no matter what he says – so hie thee to JDate and get working. Yes, you can lie about your weight. It’s all part of sticking it to Hitler.

The good news here is that it’s fun, sticking it to Mr. Worst Person Ever. It involves a lot of sex. That’s probably enough said right there, but just to add to your motivation, keep the following in mind.

1. You can give your creativity free reign in the baby-naming department. No, Abraham Isaac Jacob Kleinfeldt is not over the top! The Jewier the name you select for your child, the more it screams, “How ya like me now, Adolf?”

2. Hitler feels a sharp pain “down there” every time a baby is circumcised.

3. The sound of a bawling Jewish infant causes Hitler’s duplex in hell (which he shares with a seven-phallused archdemon who repeatedly plumbs his anal cavity in between forced viewings of Yentl) to heat up by ten degrees.

Get cracking, people.

Arbeit Macht Freak

During World War II, the Nazis fretted constantly about the risks of venereal disease to the strapping Aryan officers of the Reich. Terrified that these perfect specimens of the white race might be brought low by whatever lurked in the untrustworthy nether regions of French whores, Himmler and his underlings devoted considerable resources to a new technology – an inflatable sex doll.

Think we’re joking? Well, it’s on the Internet, smarty-pants.

This “field-hygienic product,” named Borghild, would enable the Fatherland’s tow-headed supermen to spurt harmlessly into her plastic pudendum – thus relieving their lusts far from the predatory germs of Continental strumpets. Health would triumph once again, though the odds were against Leni Riefenstahl being brought in to shoot a close-up.

We ask you to picture Hitler’s best blonde boys mounting the inert boxes of the Borghild brigade, their pallid buttocks undulating in a passionately accelerating oom-pah-pah rhythm, their Teutonic moans answered only by the faint squeak of each Borghild’s durable, rubberized skin. Now recall that this spectacle was conjured by the Nazi leadership at the height of the war.

Those motherfuckers were seriously whacked in the head-ski, were they not?

Jews, who by and large embrace humanity, prefer to have sex with other humans. We reduce the odds of both pregnancy and venereal disease not by coupling with a plastic palimpsest but by wearing a rubber sheath called a condom.

Yeah: sorry to break it to you, but we are emphatically not telling you to ride ’em bareback indiscriminately. We may be unqualified self-help-book authors, but we’re responsible. We want you to follow the rules of sexual hygiene. We never, ever want it to burn when you pee. We’ve taken an informal survey (of the two of us), and apparently that stereotype of Jewish men and women liking a lot of sex is true. Go ahead and play that field, scarf down an erotic Whitman’s sampler of multi-ethnic paramours, sow wild oats galore -- straight into a brand-name prophylactic. Just keep in mind that there’s a point to all that pleasure.

Yep, The mental image of Jews getting down Kama Sutra-style makes angry smoke pour out of Hitler’s ears. And, most importantly, know that your period of “fun” (that’s promiscuity for you traditionalists) is just the appetizer. The main event transpires after the conversation about monogamy and romantic visit to the doctor to get tested.

Because when we really want to infuriate Hitler – by which we mean both the hideous phantom who burns in the hereafter and his many spawn, cloned and otherwise, who walk the earth even now – we don’t use protection.

Conceiving Your Little Anti-Adolf

So you’ve artfully cropped that flattering Waikiki vacation photo to exclude both the outsized frou-frou drink and its attendant beer gut muffin-topping your bathing suit. You’ve posted said winning snapshot on your personals profile and written a punny little caption (“Do Jew Love Me?”). You’ve created a borderline-plausible fiction in which you’re 2 inches taller, 14 pounds leaner, and actually graduated. And the responses from interested tribespeople flooded in. One lucky winner made the final cut: surviving intensive pre-date googling; maintaining enough dignity even after three mojitos not to gross you out; passing medicine-cabinet inspection (adequate but not obsessive attention to grooming, no anti-psychotics); maintaining (or helping you maintain) wood. In short, you’ve found a nice Jewish person you can love.

And so it is time for the glove to come off, for you to do your part to foil the Final Solution. Time to make a new Jew! A little anti-Adolf to love, feed, train and pack with a lifetime of neuroses and guilt like a little psychic lunch box.

You may have reservations. We understand.

True, college tuition is enough to make you want to blind yourself with a railroad spike. In fact, forget college for the moment – preschool tuition now costs more than a platinum-coated Lear Jet, and the screening process makes Harvard look like Phoenix Online University. Parenthood requires you to dig deep and surrender what you once considered indispensable for daily survival: Botox, phalanxes of Thai she-male prostitutes and of course tiny cocaine rafts (nobody wants to climb out of the hot tub to do another bump). But these sacrifices pale compared to the delirious joys of daddy- and mommyhood. We promise.

Even if you can bear the financial brunt of procreation, the process will undoubtedly wear on your nerves. You’ll constantly find yourself pulling little Naomi and Seymour away from electrical outlets, knife drawers and cliff edges (um, why are you bringing the kids to a cliff, anyway?), only to surrender the wee nippers to the school system in a few years. Putting aside the fact that budget cuts have rendered actual learning an after-school elective, today’s playgrounds and locker-lined hallways are a veritable swamp of vice, full of every debauched, destructive temptation you just gave up in order to be a parent.

Yes, kids these days are having “rainbow parties,” which means that your cherished infant will soon be on one or the other end of a cock embellished with the myriad lipsticks of a gaggle of competitive teenaged girls. We saw the Lifetime movie and we’re not surprised it made you want to get your tubes tied. It was utterly terrifying, and at the same time a stultifying reminder of how much fun you used to have before you squirted out junior.

But keep your eyes on the prize, here: The survival of our people.

We only want to help. And so we offer our handy guide to Jewish procreation ... in our next installment.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

They Saved Hitler's Brain: Why We're Fixated On It

They Saved Hitler’s Brain is a film you and your family need to see. It’s far from mere entertainment – in fact, it’s not entertaining at all. It’s just a cold, hard look at what happened after the war.

Y’see, when the jig was finally up, these Nazi dudes in the bunker sawed off the Fuhrer’s head and kept it in a jar, where – thanks to surprisingly advanced medical techniques – it continued issuing orders and consulting them on the creation of a Fourth Reich. Fortunately, the good guys found out and chased the Nazi dudes around and, like, somebody threw a Molotov cocktail at the car with the head in it and it melted like a scented candle in a bong shop. There are some facts in between, but the cough medicine I’d ingested to help me “understand” this cinematic milestone was unexpectedly potent.

Originally filmed in the early '60s under the title Madmen of Mandoras (that’s the mythical South American country where the bad guys are holed up with their jarful of “Mister H,” as he is for some reason designated), the film proved too short for TV broadcast and fell into the hands of some other people who shot new footage in 1968.

Now, the original film is truly dreadful – a Z-grade horror flick fraught with painful overacting and a script so retarded that the cast members seem ready to slap their own foreheads in mortification. But the '68 footage makes the original stuff look like David Lean standing on Eisenstein’s shoulders. We’re talking orders of magnitude worse. In fact, I wouldn’t call it so much a film as, oh, what’s the word for a troop of orangutans randomly pointing a camera? I’ll think of it in a minute.

Suffice to say that some catatonic-looking college freaks with too-long hair, some of whom (as has been remarked elsewhere) resemble the Blues Brothers, skulk around and commit acts of lackadaisically rendered mayhem; meanwhile, a spy chick in a miniskirt drives her VW bug to the apartment of a spy guy with a porn-star mustache and they mumble some groaningly awful one-liners about “women’s lib” before discussing secret formulas or something. Imagine a porno flick with all the sex scenes removed and only the “plot” remaining, then imagine the person who was supposed to bring the script smoked it instead.

Nope, that doesn’t sufficiently convey how bad it is.

In any case, it seems fair to note that watching this hippie-fried home movie from 1968 spliced into a feature from five years earlier is a bit like seeing one of the cavemen in Quest for Fire using a ray gun.

Fortunately, most of this stuff dissipates after a while and we’re returned to the comparatively swank environs of early-'60s horror schlock once more. Sadly, like cross-country motorists making their way through Kansas, we must brave many more miles of flat, plodding exposition before we get to the good stuff. Can we agree that a film that makes Jews like us fast-forward to get to Hitler is a unique atrocity in its own right?

But the Hitler scenes – they’re so good. In the titular role, Bill Freed (whose only other credit, according to IMDB, was an ensemble part in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1962 cowboy nudie flick Tonight For Sure) really sinks his choppers into the scenery – understanding that the essence of history’s most notorious fascist maniac is the yelling. Seriously, the dude is apoplectic 100% of the time, and that, my friends, is movie gold.

And since the Nazis knew that without his yelling they would lack direction (really, what have they accomplished since 1945?), you understand why they preserve his keppe in a relatively portable container. That way he can yell at them anywhere – in the car, in the basket of a Schwinn bike, even on roller skates! How they rely on his yelling to give them purpose and meaning. Although Freed’s guttural faux-German tirades prevent the audience from dozing off during the production’s many tension-free chase sequences, the same cannot be said, alas, for Freed's stunt double, the dummy head carried around by Hitler's truculent (and, I must say, easily defeated) underlings.

Why, then, are we so fascinated by They Saved Hitler’s Brain? There are many layers to the answer. As most Jews now realize, Hitler is probably still at large – and the primary role of human creative endeavors like film, literature and interpretive dance is to help us figure out where he is and what he’s doing. But there’s also the place of this unique enterprise in movie history.

And the more cough medicine I drink, the more I wonder about it. Sometimes, after the little swirly angels fly out of the 30-milliliter cup, I envision exchanges like this one, between the creator of the film and a would-be exhibitor:

EXHIBITOR: OK, first off, I love the title.

CREATOR: Yes, we think it has a lot of zip.

EXHIBITOR: There's just one thing ...


EXHIBITOR: Well, in the script it's just a brain. I mean, they call it "Mein Fuhrer," and so forth, but, well, it could be anyone's brain.

CREATOR: You can tell right off it's evil, though.

EXHIBITOR: That's true. That's very true.

CREATOR: It swells and throbs and whatnot.

EXHIBITOR: Mmm. Yes. And that's all great. But here's the thing: How do we know it's Hitler's brain?

CREATOR: Well, the heiling and "Mein Fuhrers" and what have you ...

EXHIBITOR: Sure, sure. All good for context. But I think we want to make sure the audience, you know ... that we remove all doubt.

CREATOR: I'm not sure where you're going with this.

EXHIBITOR: Well, what if they save the whole head? I think when you put Hitler on that poster, people want to see the mustache. They want to know for sure.

CREATOR: "They Saved Hitler's Head?" I'd be a laughingstock!

EXHIBITOR: No, no. Keep the title. It has, as you say ... it has zip.

CREATOR: A lot of zip.

EXHIBITOR: A whole hell of a lot.

CREATOR: Only an idiot would see "They Saved Hitler's Brain" on the lobby card and expect to see a mustache. Brains, I hasten to remind you, are unadorned by facial hair.

EXHIBITOR: Listen, Shakespeare. I don't know much about all that, but I know what sells tickets. I'm telling you they can save Hitler's brain inside his head, for Pete's sake, and the title still applies.

CREATOR: Well, technically.

EXHIBITOR: Sure! Think about that scary Hitler head in, oh, I dunno, a jar. You got the evil jerries angle and the sci-fi angle.

CREATOR: Let me think about it.

EXHIBITOR: What's to think about? Brain on the poster, head on the screen. Mark my words: People are going to want to see that mustache.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

With Every Generation, We Stick It To Hitler

Difficult though it may be to face, Hitler is a crucial fact of Jewish existence – as he has been for thousands of years.

That mop of black hair, that toothbrush mustache … they hang like a shroud over all of human history. Even in the Egypt of the Pharaohs, the Hebrew children would chant, “Hitler, Hitler, make yourself scarce.”

And it is about the children that we must speak. For each time a Jewish family brings a blessed little baby into the world, it’s a cosmic shot in the kishkes to Hitler.

Will they grow up to break your heart? Of course they will. Will they spend all your money on designer footwear and iPhone accessories? Depend on it. Will they forsake their heritage altogether and chant themselves hoarse on the disgusting, grimy floor of some Buddhist craft shop? Almost certainly.

Children are evil little succubi. You can try your best to raise them right, but they will stab you in the heart, rob you blind and mock every last thing you hold sacred. That’s just the way they are. We know this because we have done all these things to our own parents.

Even so, you must have children. Ideally several. Why? Because Hitler is watching.

You’re probably thinking that we’re going to tell you to raise these children in the bosom of the Jewish tradition: Hebrew school, bar and bat mitzvahs, perhaps a Torah ark built into the wall of your kitchenette. But you’re wrong. The fact is, it doesn’t really matter whether your kids grow up reform, conservadox, agnostic or Trotskyite. We’re going to tell you the point, and we want you to write it down. Not in pencil, in pen. Preferably a ballpoint, because those felt-tipped pens in the little cup in the kitchen, we’re telling you, have all dried up. Ready? OK, here it is:

Raising Jewish children is more important than raising children Jewish.

Hitler wanted to annihilate the Jews. Do you think he made the distinction between the ones who went to schul and the ones who didn’t? For Hitler, there was no difference between a Talmudic scholar with a beard the size of an ocelot who needs a shabbos goy to turn the lights on and a blonde-haired Stacey with a fixed nose who has regular group sex with two Swedes and a Peruvian. A Jew is a Jew is a Jew – which is something that Hitler believed but never said, because he preferred to sing it, ironically enough, in the style of George Jessel.

Here’s the thing about Hitler. You’re not gonna like it, but we’re going to tell you anyway, because we’re about truth, and we’re about you not being a pussy about it. The thing about Hitler is this: he wasn’t the first, and – here’s the part you need to heed – he won’t be the last. Why do you think Esther went all über-Atkins for three days to fit into her tightest royal robes? Because she knew she had one shot to give her king a blowjob fantastic enough to persuade him to do something about the local Hitler, who was a-hankerin’ for genocide.

We’ve been gassed, pogromed, ghettoized, misspelled into virtual Lutheranism by under-qualified bookkeepers at Ellis Island, and, yes, one long-haired hippie rabbi of ours was even nailed to a cross. We’re the Chosen People. Do you really think the world is done choosing us?

We’re not trying to bitch and moan here that we’re the only people who ever got persecuted. Plenty of Jesus freaks got turned into lion chow. Gandhi wasn’t wearing a loin-cloth for his health. The Armenians got the big shaft too, apparently, though we’re fuzzy on the details. Pick an African country, there’s probably something War-Crimes-Tribunal-worthy you never hear about on the news because it’s happening in Africa. Whichever Fucked People you are, you’re more than welcome to the pity party. Check your suffering scale at the door. We’re equal-opportunity kvetchers.

Our point here is, when we say we’re sticking it to Hitler, we don’t just mean the Hitler who may well not have burned with Eva Braun in that bunker and who is even now roaming South America, Frankenstein-like, banging out a draft of Mein Kampf II: Can’t Gestapo the Music. We don’t mean the secret remains hustled out of Europe at war’s end by fascist benefactors (did you ever see the movie They Saved Hitler’s Brain? Based on a true story). We don’t even mean the army of Fuhrer clones some neo-Nazi is doubtless even now creating from the DNA in a mustache-hair left on a comb scored on eBay.

No: when we say "Stick it to that evil colostomy bag of a man," we mean all the Hitlers who have yet to be born, grow up, and one day have the great idea that if they just kill a few million Jews, they might feel less miserable about the fact that their oil paintings suck ass. We mean all the beetle-browed, small-dicked totalitarians-in-waiting whose failed aspirations morph overnight into genocidal rage and a profound interest in the latest oven technology. We mean those imperious, diapered sociopaths who, even as their mamas lovingly enjoin them to open up for the carrot-mush choo-choo, are thinking exterminist thoughts– and not just about that purple dinosaur.

The Hitlers just keep on coming. We warned you the truth would hurt. If you need to wash that down with a shot of something bracing, go ahead. We’ll wait.

Feel better? Good. Because it only gets weirder from here — especially as we get into Jewish sex as anti-Nazi practice, talking to your child about the Holocaust and why the song "Dona Dona" sucks ass. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

God, The Blog: Part The Third.
And God Said: "It's Complicated!"

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You say it’s too painful to contemplate a universe without JHVH or some variant? You need some kind of religio-spiritual cookie with sprinkles? Tell you what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna hit you with #5. It’s complicated!

This may sound like a cop-out, but in fact it’s a philosophical thread running through almost all serious (i.e. non-fundamentalist) religious thought. God works in mysterious ways – you’ve picked that one on the celestial jukebox more than a few times when terrible shit happened.

How about this one? God is unknowable, unfathomable, ineffable, phantasmal, currently in a meeting or taking a call on the other line, and does not owe you an explanation.
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Or check this out: Creation is never complete, and must be maintained by prayer at all times, like a beach ball in a stadium that will only remain aloft as long as the drunks in the bleachers don’t lose interest.
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Or this: Heaven ain’t a sunlit theme park with an all-you-can-eat buffet of angel-food cake; it’s a pitch-black hallway with a pinprick of light glimering weakly in the distance, and the sound of whispering in a language you don’t recognize just audible beneath the creaking floorboards.
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Confusing? Mais oui! Depressing? More than a little! But if metaphysical inquiry were meant to be fun, there’d be more keggers at seminary school. Unlike the sleazebucket parasite shitbags who sell more self-help books than we do, we’re your friends – and as such, we refuse to sugarcoat the hereafter.

Besides, for folks who walk the earth on the sunniest days immersed in thunderclouds of their own imagining – and you know who you are (ahem, Jews, cough, cough) – a deity that is unfailingly mysterious and inexplicable holds a certain allure, like a Chinese character you can’t decipher but must have tattooed on your bicep immediately.
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Even if you later find out it means “moron.”

Postscript by Simon: In Case of Rapture, This Car Will Have Less Traffic to Deal With

In the midst of all this theological reflection, while cooling my jets at a stoplight, I saw a license-plate frame on the beige Pontiac ahead of me that read “God Is Awesome.”

Were I inclined to believe in Divine Providence, which I kinda sorta really don’t, I might’ve believed that the Almighty His Own Self was delivering unto me some super new source material for my Atheistic rantings. After all, if you believe in the Big Guy, which I don’t, you also have to at least entertain the possibility that some folks who don’t believe in Him (which I don’t) are among His favorites. After all, I’m still supposed to be one of His chosen people, and if He made me, He made me a particularly hot exemplum thereof.

Anyhoo, I don’t believe in miracles but I do believe in seizing the thematic opportunities that fall into one’s path. “God Is Awesome” was printed in garishly yellow, jagged capitals and staring at me like a birthday-party clown as I waited at the light to pilot my ancient Nissan ever deeper into the San Fernando Valley. The weather was unseasonably hot; an NPR host was rabbiting on about the dollar’s headlong plunge; and the crooked teeth of that hideous, cheerful font began to gnaw on my soul.

The heavens did not part, as I pondered the words emblazoned on the back of that car, but the Skeptitron 5000 (as I sometimes call my brain) began whirring and clanging like a pinball machine.

“God Is Awesome” sounds, at first irritated blush, like mere redundancy. Um, yeah – the word “awesome” was more or less coined to render an apprehension of the divine. An experience of awe is what all sacred texts, including both testaments of the Bible – the original and the disappointing sequel (which we chosen ones sometimes call the Grease 2 or even the Godfather 3 of religion, but only behind the backs of our goyische friends) – strain to convey with bushel baskets of parables and metaphors. To say “God Is Awesome” is to say that God is God, or God is big. In other words, duh.

But our friend with the license-plate frame most likely doesn’t use “awesome” the way the Romantic poets did. I’m aware of the evangelical movement’s embrace of the catchphrase “My God is an awesome God,” which does bear the hallmarks of correct usage.
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But that’s not what I saw dancing lamely before my eyes at that North Hollywood intersection.

No, I shudder to report, “awesome” in this case bears the sense it acquired in the waning days of the 20th Century – a word ideally yelped by a tow-headed moppet in a backwards baseball cap in some ghastly “family comedy” when somebody gets whomped in the nards. “Awesome” in the sense of “Dude, Nickelback’s doing a commercial for AT&T? Awesome!” or “Dude, I found some change in the couch and I totally have enough for a chalupa! Isn’t that awesome?”

If God is that kind of awesome – and if my smeller is to be trusted, that’s what Mr. Happy License Plate Religious Guy is cooking – I need a moment.

The implications are sobering. For despite mass culture’s tendency to ramrod the importance of what is euphemistically called “faith” down our gullets like grain down the neck of a fois gras goose, “God Is Awesome” sounds oddly defensive to me. As though the mightiest being of all, the King of the Universe (as our people like to say), had hired some beaten-down PR hack to run a campaign convincing people He was, you know, cool. Going after the youth market with some ugly yellow font and a glossary of buzzwords from 1988. “Hey, kids — what's the 411? Do you like skateboarding? That Lindsay Lohan sure is def! And isn’t God awesome?”
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Is it fair to suggest that the license-plate frame was in fact a desperate cri de coeur? Why does God need to be “awesome” if He’s already awe-inspiring? The real truth was not in the wording (insincere, formulaic; a gingerbread house for the non-denominational Hansels and Gretels out there) but in the lettering: those sickly yellow sans serifs were practically shouting “Why don’t you believe? Why can’t you just blindly submit to our dogma, like your parents did?”

But increasingly, it appears, they won’t – T-shirts, Christian rock albums, 24-hour cable shows and license-plate frames notwithstanding.

And that, my friend, is awesome.
God, The Blog: Part The Second

To recap, here is our menu of options about the existence of God, which we plan to discuss in no particular order:

1. God is compassionate, but if he steps in every time you'll never learn.
2. God isn't compassionate. We are so fucked.
3. There is no God.
4. There was a God, and He was getting all ready to help out, but then He DIED.
5. It's complicated.

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Nietzsche, of course, always picked #4, though he postulated a long illness. True, he never sent flowers, but fundamentalists are wrong to think he was gleeful about the event.

(Oh, and by the way? Putting a “Nietzsche is Dead – God” bumper sticker on your maroon Taurus with aqua detailing does not make you cleverer than Nietzsche. He was really fucking clever. Seriously, no matter how many miles you put on that hideous car, you’re never gonna see what Nietzsche saw. Christ, just writing his deathless monograph The Birth of Tragedy, let alone the often-cited but never-read-by-us Also Sprach Zarathustra, turned his soul inside out, like, six times.)

In the interest of full disclosure we must report that Hitler liked Nietzsche a lot. He liked Wagner, too. Simon’s dad loves Wagner, and actually subjected his wife, Harriet, to the totality of The Ring Cycle, which takes an entire calendar year to perform. Did you know that? It’s not true at all. (Even so, Daddy-o, when your wife says she’d like a nice ring for her birthday, this is not what she means. You should know that by now.)Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

In any case, his apparently sincere disdain for Hitler does not prevent Dick Glickman from rocking out, in his way, to Dick Wagner’s interminable saga of Siegfried. So we can’t always ask “What Would Hitler Do?” and then not do that. (Although it’s not bad as a rule of thumb.)

At this point you may be saying, “I hate Nietzsche. And opera. And Simon. That ‘God is Dead’ shit is depressing! Let’s talk about #1, where God is at least alive.”

Okay, let’s. Let’s say there is a compassionate God, whose shiny essence is always trying to steer us in the right direction. Could not this God be like the one sane member of a family, who always tries to keep the peace but is roundly ignored by the noisy and self-absorbed claque of alcoholics, abusers, compulsive shoppers and Republicans who turn every holiday dinner into a psychic battleground? Maybe he exists, he’s around, he’s compassionate, but no one’s allowed him to get a word in edgewise in over a century. And even when they do, they’re too sloshed to pay attention.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Or let’s imagine that God is not so warm ‘n’ fuzzy, but is more like an implacable sheriff on the moral frontier. The Old Testament is filled with obstreperous assholes who disregard God’s generally reasonable dictates, and they usually get smote (smoted? Smited?) right quick. But today’s equivalent of the Bible’s bloodthirsty creeps don’t have to worry about punishment by lightning – they’re more likely to get promoted to CFO. What if thousands of years of human indifference to holy design had worn down the Almighty’s resolve, causing Him to put down his tin star and retire to the eternal saloon?Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Of course, if there isn’t and never was a God (that’s Door #3, for all you Nihilists out there), that would explain a lot. It would explain why leaders who murder thousands or millions of people are generally rewarded with still more power and oodles of fly bitches. It would also explain why you can get pretty far in politics by trying to put the Ten Commandments in public spaces even if you not only can’t name them from memory but regularly break all ten, frequently at the same time. It would even explain “Fear Factor,” on which TV producers pour buckets of maggots on the heads of contestants in between commercials for meatball subs. And the popularity of Jessica Simpson.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting (Seriously, Ms. Simpson: the thing with the singing? Stop it.)

Simon, in case you’re wondering, generally leans toward #3. (Sera “kinda” believes in God, but then, she also “kinda” believes in Nixies, which are those two-tailed mermaids pictured on a Starbucks cup,
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting so Simon elected to leave her perspective out of this otherwise post-Medieval section.) “Getting to #3” is all part of what Simon likes to call a lifelong journey of spiritual “unbecoming.” He considered himself a pantheist and clung loosely to this cosmic catch-all for a while back in the ’90s, but that ship has sailed (to the sounds of a fantastic Cameron Crowe movie soundtrack). Now he’s come to the conclusion that asking “what happens after we die?” is a bit like asking “what happens after the movie?” Credits roll. Fade to black. So enjoy the fucking movie.
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In our next post: onward to #5: It's Complicated!

Are You There, God? It's Us, The Very Hot Jews

Let's talk about God.

Okay, either your stomach just did a little "Oh, no" flip, or you let out an involuntary snort at our impertinence. What makes us, two hilariously non-observant Jews who accidentally erased huge portions of our Jewish educations while "experimenting in college," qualified to tell you anything about The Big Guy/Girl/Many-Armed-Creature Who Might Not Even Exist?

Look, straight up? We're not all that qualified. Um, we're blogging. This ain't exactly Hebrew University here. But look on the bright side. No pop quiz. And you can, and probably should, read this naked. And drunk. Stoned, if you're into that; whatever, man — we don't judge.

The Very Hot Jews have a lot to say on the topic of God. Appearances (and utterly un-God-fearing behavior) aside, we think about It a lot. So we decided to create a sort of God Guide for our dear readers. Being irreligious never seems to deter our people from metaphysical musings, and with the exception of our smoldering hotness, we are squarely in the tradition. (Not that other Jews aren't hot. We are, to generalize about our people, smoldering in that distracting semitic way. To roughly quote Sarah Silverman: "Jewish girls are sexy! Yiedel diedel diedel." But it would be wrong of the Very Hot Jews not to also clarify that we're so hot we fuck up the bell curve.) In the next few posts, we'll wander in the theological wilderness and explore the cosmological crannies that the Rebbe never told you about.

God, The Blog: Part The First.

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The Holocaust. Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Cambodia’s killing fields. Darfur. Slavery. Fox News. The soul-chilling horrors of human psychosis and its results are always threatening to pop the pretty, pretty balloon we call faith. For people who think of themselves as Jews, the question of how a kindly, rabbinically bearded Jehovah could permit the world to turn into a slaughterhouse is always, how you say, front of mind.

Yet as often as we Liberal Arts-edumacated writer types ponder this question, we don’t really know the answer. But we promised to write about it anyway and so we will.

We set our alarms, woke up at the crack of 10:30 this morning, grabbed some Starbucks, and headed down to the bookstore to read everything they have on the subject of the existence of God. Just to keep our karma good, we then purchased a calendar filled with adorable puppies and kittens for $12.95.

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(If there is a God, he wants you to make a purchase to justify reading $3000 worth of literature for free, then leaving your half-empty latte cups in the aisle for some seven-buck-an-hour employee with papercuts all over his body to trip over, spill, and then have to clean. Come to think of it, slipping said employee a fiver is also acceptable.)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting So we read for a few minutes, and then Simon decided he was bored and wanted pizza and a beer, and when he approached Sera to tell her it was time for the break that refreshes she berated him, wagging her copy of Conversations with God accusingly… but then the Men’s Health and Fitness magazine fell out of it, creased open to a full-page photo of Adrien Brody with practically no clothes on, and Simon spoke volumes with one raised eyebrow. And that, people, is how research is done.

No need to thank us for our heroic efforts.

Here's the main question that gets in the way of us being fully down with the Lord: While Hitler was killing six or so million of us, including one and a half million innocent children, what the high holy fuck was God doing? And furthermore: Why didn’t he raise a pinky to help our supposedly Chosen asses? If there is a God, how could he have allowed such a thing to happen?

While 97% of the self-help books now clogging your local Barnes & Noble like hair in a drain will sell you some confirmation that a benevolent deity rules the universe, we prefer to offer a menu of options:

    1. God is compassionate, but if he steps in every time you'll never learn.
    2. God isn't compassionate. We are so fucked.
    3. There is no God.
    4. There was a God, and He was getting all ready to help out, but then He DIED.
    5. It's complicated.

We'll examine these in more depth in posts to come. You won't know whether to ROFLYAO or drown your existential sorrows in a bottle of Kedem wine. (Speaking from personal experience: avoid the Kedem.)