The verses in Kings I Chapter 11 say that King Solomon, influenced by his wives in his old age, built monuments to various idols. The Talmud explains that he did not actually build them, the wives did, but he was held equally liable for tolerating this behavior. Judged by this standard, I suspect my own performance would be lacking too. If sacrilege or sedition are packaged with wit, my response is likelier a chuckle than a gasp.
Yet a little book, ostensibly a satirical quasi rendition of a children’s book to teach Yiddish, has me spitting, fuming with outrage. Outraged as an American, outraged as a Jew, outraged as an honest analyst of political matters, outraged as a writer who employs humor to serve truth, outraged as a student of language, outraged as a speaker of Yiddish, and ultimately… outraged as a human being clinging to some sense of decency.
This mini tome has been out since 2006, but it came to my attention only this week. It is published by Little, Brown — heretofore a reputable outfit — and entitled Yiddish with George and Laura, by Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman. This small cutesy book is far from cute. It is nothing less than an abomination.p>The premise is simple. A disingenuous disclaimer says it is a work of fiction “populated” with real, nonfictional individuals. George and Laura Bush, their daughters, brother Jeb, and their parents, are drawn by an accurate sketch artist, so everyone knows just who is who. It opens with a portrait of the President waving in front of the White House alongside a classic bit of See-Spot-run educational pap. Except it does not edify, it vilifies. br> /p>
See George.br> As if the purpose is merely to acquaint us with this Yiddish slang word, meaning a cross between a dope and a loser, the sitting, elected leader of the country is disrespected on the very first page. There is no joke here, other than a “ha, ha, Bush is an idiot” scoff meant to be shared without substantiation by initiates in a snide fraternity. As Ann Coulter documented in her book, Scandal , the Democrats have evinced the same sneering derision toward the intellect of every Republican President since Eisenhower. p>Besides for the fact that it is a cheap shot offered without proof, it is inappropriate to humiliate a sitting President at random, even if the accusation were true. Unless a specific policy critique is on the table, it is simply uncouth to announce that your President is an idiot, much less to do so in a format aimed largely at kids. But if you think that is bad, fuhgeddaboudit. It gets much, much worse from there. br> /p>
He is our president.
He lives in a fancy white house and is a big shmegegge.
George loves his job.br> That Yiddish word is actually borrowed from Hebrew, and it means a drunkard. Instead of the sensitivity a liberal would demand for a reformed alcoholic, we get to see the President labeled, again liltingly, as an ex-drunk.
He gets to take a lot of vacations.
He gets to do special things for his family and friends.
“Not bad for an ex-shikker,” he thinks.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?