for 7 September 2000. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run
I was reading Suck and just when I
clicked the JackinWorld link my
roommates walked in and saw the
page. Now they think I am weird.
Thanks, Suck. Thanks a lot.
Oh well. Off to watch that lucha
libre (Mexican wrestling) tape I
It's best that they know the truth
from the start, kids. Maybe you
should back away from the computer
and go eat some fried cheese with
them next time. It's really best to
make friends early in the semester,
you know. Cut down on your media
diet and start interacting with
other humans. Do you really want to
end up like us?
We thought not.
First of all, the Honeymooners
didn't paint a bleak picture of
domestic life at all - it was the
world outside of the Kramdens'
marriage that was bleak. Ralph had
a low-paying job that required him
to deal with irascible people all
day long. He had little chance of
ever getting the things he didn't
have - responsibility in the form
of being a boss, respect from
Alice's mom, more money to have a
nicer home. Ralph was a guy with
big dreams, one who wanted to be
important, who wanted people to
look up to him, and who wanted to
be able to provide for his wife.
But his lack of education,
refinement, and connections meant
that the only way he could ever
hope to better his lot in life was
from too-good-to-true get rich
The only things that WEREN'T bleak
about life were domestic
relationships -Ralph's friendship
with Ed, and his marriage with
Alice. It hurt Ralph deeply that he
couldn't give Alice everything he
wanted to, and so he tried myriad
schemes to get rich. Alice fought
with him because he didn't want him
to jeopardize his job with risky
ideas, and because she saw that
Ralph was usually too prideful
about things. Ralph fought with her
because he was frustrated with
life, and frustrated that the
person "most in his corner" wasn't
being supportive of him in his
endeavor to provide for
her.Eventually he would remember
that his wife loved him for who he
was, failings and all. The
underlying premise of the show was
that a passionate love between two
people is what is most important in
life, and is what sustains people
when the outside world deems them
unimportant. Bleak is two people in
a loveless marriage, who care only
for themselves and certainly not
for each other (you know, the type
of relationship you guys write
about endlessly). Such people would
never embrace in appreciation,
love, and forgiveness as the
Kramdens did virtually every
Lastly, Gleason and the writers
made damn sure that Ralph was never
portrayed as coming close to
hitting Alice. Ralph loved her too
deeply to consider it. Moreover, do
you for a second believe that Alice
would have stood for that?!? Alice
moved out when he insulted her
mother. She would never have
tolerated any affront to her
dignity, much less physical abuse.
She never backed down from Ralph's
yelling, instead standing
toe-to-toe and demanding that her
voice be heard and taken into
account. It's amazing - Alice
Kramden was a groundbreaking
character who insisted with every
ounce of strength that her husband
not override her autonomy in the
name of love, and not only are NOT
extolling her, but you're casting
her as a woman who would allow
herself to be victimized. You've
missed the entire nature of her
Thanks for your time,
You're right. Even if Ralph didn't
love Alice too deeply to consider
beating the shit out of her, Alice
would never had stood for that. How
could we have misjudged these fine
people - er, characters - so badly?
How could we not show more empathy
for people - um, characters - who
are obviously really struggling
with some difficult issues? How
could we mock such people - or, uh,
characters - when they're clearly
in pain, and desperately crying out
for our help?
You're a real character, Jeff.
Let this be a lesson to you kids at
home. That media diet is warping
your mind. Unless you want to end
up working for Saturday Night Live,
you'd really better rethink your
I'm sure I was at least as creeped
out as you by Gore's deathbed
narrative, but I think you're wrong
to question his story about
planting tobacco as a kid. As far
as I know, he did spend summers on
the farm in Tennessee as a kid
(good photo ops for his senator
I'm not questioning the fact that
Al Gore planted tobacco as a kid,
much as my instinct to never
believe a word the man says wants
me to. It's just that he tends to
present a really selective personal
history - gasp - so that, in his
big convention speech, he noted
that he'd studied religion at
Vanderbilt, that he'd gone to
Vietnam, and that he'd been an
"investigative reporter," but
neglected to mention those little
temporary detours through Yale and
St. Albans. Maybe he just forgot.
He adjusts the narrative to suit
the audience, is all.
And he always drops the "g" on the
end of -ing words when he speaks to
what he perceives as working-class
audiences: We're fightin' for the
workin' man. Irritating. Uh, sorry:
Irritatin'. I wonder if anyone else
notices this? Paul Wellstone does
it too. These are the kinds of
things I notice, despite all those
years of electroshock treatments.
Please help me.
Oh Polly Polly Polly. Oy Polly
Polly Polly. You just don't
understand. Jews are every bit as
crazy as everyone else. It's just
that we're allowed to drink.
Indeed, we're required to drink.
We've got special prayers for it.
It's so basic to our faith that in
Iran we've got special dispensation
to make our own wine. (Iranian Jews
tend to have lots of friends when
the wine is ready.) Hell, we've got
a major holiday on which we're
required to get drunk. It helps. A
lot. But don't go wacko and start
praising Jewish food. As the dear
late Zero Mostel so wisely put it,
all that schmaltz has killed more
Jews than Hitler.
Alan S Kornheiser
Jewish food no good? Clearly you've
never been to Catholic mass. And
let me tell you about what my
family eats every Christmas, our
traditional Eastern European
Catholic meal. Turkey? Ham?
Croissanwiches, all around? Nay.
Raw garlic, lima beans, buns soaked
in honey, sauerkraut, and prunes.
Actually, it all sounds pretty good
to me, right now.
Anyway, you might be just as crazy
as anyone else, but there's a big
difference between letting that
crazy out whenever you feel like
it, and swallowing it back until
you're stockpiling automatic
weapons one day and you're not
quite sure why.
I mean, my stockpile is for the
coming Apocalypse, but it took me
years of therapy just to figure
Kvetching, but silently,
While your assessment of my fellow
tribesmen is in some measure
accurate, I don't think you've
quite got the full picture. You
see, being a cutesy vulnerable man
in a culture of bossy demanding
women is horribly frustrating and
at length, soul crushing. Young
Jewish men like myself often flee
their claustrophobic families,
drink heavily, and date schikses
ranging from the ever so slightly
tweaked (usually half-jews) all the
way to the unhinged (usually
catholic). Well some do. I guess
the other ones become dentists and
call their mothers once a week.
What I'm saying is, it's very
complicated, but hey, what isn't?
Thanks for amusing me. I'm going to
go eat breakfast now. Then I'm
going to call my mother.
Yeah, yeah, you flee your families,
screaming loudly, but then get back
just in time for dinner. I know all
about it. Far better to complain
loudly, flee, rebel, date stupid
goys, and return refreshed and
ready to stay with your tribe from
that day onward, than to seethe
quietly, pretending to enjoy your
family, all the while never telling
them what you really think or want,
until one day you realize what that
stockpile of weapons is for.
Well, that's what MY stockpile is
for, but hell, it took me several
really strong acid trips just to
figure that one out!
Ok...got a really good laugh out of
this one about Jews having the
coolest emotional make up ...
here's a good Jewish family story
...Last thanksgiving there's a huge
fight with my brother and my
mother, I get involved and my
brother and I practically come to
blows ...he storms out of the
house...and then the next morning,
he and Mom go out to breakfast and
everything's fine... My nice Jewish
wife (who is easy on the eyes) was
even shocked at this one. Jesus
Nice one! Thank god you're Jewish
and not a repressed Wasp or a
Catholic, because what if that
fight broke out and your brother
had a stockpile of weapons in his
basement like I do?
MY stockpile is for killing really
big insects, but it took me a
divine visit from God himself to
uncover that mystery. Hail Mary!