Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holiday season again

Time to revisit a few random blasts from the past—all of which happen to deal with aspects of the cultural and/or political sociology of ethnic relations in America. First, the inside dope about the intriguing connection between American Jews, Chinese restaurants, and Christmas ...

Jewish Christmas - The Chinese connection
Christmastime for the Jews (contd.)

... and then two Christmas carols (one more pleasant than the other, but both worth listening to).

Buchananite Christmas carol: "Illegals in My Yard"
All I want for Christmas is ... Jews (Pseudo-Mariah Carey)

The last item is a parody of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" (by an impersonator allegedly named Melissa McQueen), with some gentle parodies of anti-semitic stereotypes mixed in. That's supposed to be fun? Actually, yes. A bit wacky ... but as my friend Andy Markovits says, it's hilarious.

And it gives away an often well-kept secret: "Hebrew boys are so much fun." See below.

Happy Holidays,
Jeff Weintraub

[P.S.  Here's Mariah Carey's own version: ]

Friday, December 03, 2010

"Peace process" déjà vu (from Gershon Shafir)

My friend Gershon Shafir ran across these two Oliphant cartoons from 1971 and was struck by some depressing parallels. He asks: “So what's new? Just replace Golda with Netanyahu, Nixon with Obama, William Rogers with Hilary Clinton, and Sadat with Abbas.”

One question, of course, is whether or not Abbas really is a current equivalent to Sadat. According to some serious analysts like Ian Lustick, along with others whose perspectives on the Arab-Israeli conflict range across the whole spectrum from "left" to "right", Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah are politically irrelevant, and the only real political player on the Palestinian side is Hamas. If this is true, the implications are a lot more terrifying than I think Lustick and the others are willing to acknowledge, so I hope they're wrong. But it's clear that if Sadat himself came back and made a serious proposal to Israel, the current Israeli government would stonewall him.

—Jeff Weintraub

Musical surprises in public places

Unexpected invasions of everyday life by operatic and oratorio music in:

Pamplona, Spain

Tel Aviv, Israel

Somewhere in Canada

These three happenings all took place in restaurants and food courts—a well-chosen venue for this sort of thing, if one thinks about it a moment. And all three videos are delightful to watch as well as listen to, since they combine little social dramas with the musical performances.

(Thanks to my sister Marcy and to Gene at Harry's Place for the tips.)

Happy Holidays (we've entered that season),
Jeff Weintraub

P.S. Also:

Philadelphia, USA