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In Praise of Un-Jewishness

Finally, a horrible reality star who is no shanda

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Kim Zolciak.(Kim Zolciak)

There is no television I adore like reality television. When presented with the opportunity, I gorge on it until double-vision kicks in and I’m imagining throw-downs with JWOWW after we’ve had a few. Visiting a relative in a Florida snowbird community this past week, I watched several hours of Selling New York, a reality show about high-end brokers in Manhattan; on the planes to and fro, I helped myself to Million Dollar Listing, a reality show about young, male real estate hockers in Los Angeles.

These shows are lousy with Jews, of course, and what these Jews communicate, beyond the fact that they deal with expensive properties and wealthy clients, is a vulgarity and love of money that at times embarrasses me. More than embarrassment, though, I worry that these shows affirm anti-Semitic stereotypes—Jews are good at business, they love money, they’re hustlers. With their aspiration for enduring manicures (I include the men from these shows herewith), the Jews on these shows, along with the likes of Patti Stanger, Jill Zarin, and who knows who else on what else, give lie to the idea that Jews are a “people of the book.” Unless, of course, you’re talking about the kind filled with checks.

Then, thankfully, I got hooked on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, the best franchise in that robust Bravo empire. The cast of mostly African-American women is rounded out by Kim, the show’s only white woman. Not a Jew. Kim is a wig designer, lives in a gated community, has two seemingly normal daughters, a mane of blonde hair (one of her own creations?), and is now pursuing her “passion” to be a singer. She seems to greet nearly everyone with a loud, throaty, “Hello, love!” that screams hard living and dubious affection.

Kim is trashy. Before her friend’s wedding, on this week’s season finale, she gets her “titties” redone, invites her personal assistant to see how soft they are and then, hobbles into her dressing room where she uses a curling iron on her Rapunzle-like tresses while a cigarette dangles from her mouth. After her gum-chewing football-playing boyfriend picks her up, they make their way to the party, where she asks a waiter to hide a bottle of wine they’ve brought for their exclusive consumption, assuming the booze on hand will be inferior. Classy broad.

And I love her. Not because she’s affable. Not because she’s smart (though she does convincingly offer information on pregnancy, supporting her assertion that she studied nursing). I love Kim because she made me realize that Jews on reality television have no monopoly on garishness. They are not the only ones invoking stereotypes. Other peoples can and do, happily, deliciously, elicit my cry of: Oh! The Humanity!

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Earl Ganz says:



I love your take on Selling New York. I think it’s one of the funniest shows
on TV. The irony of woman’s lib is that woman now have the power to be
as bad as men. And in the program they are. It’s interesting to play thegame
of which of the clients will complete their deals, which will back away, put off
by the obvious greed of their real estate agent.

As for Jewish greed, remember who invented corporations and what corporations
are designed to do, that is make money for its investors at any cost. The goyem
know the manic thrill of making money. You just have to get out of New York to
see it.

I haven’t seen The Real Housewives of Atlanta. I will watch it.

I watch Top Chef with my kids and I frantically TiVo past the commercials — but even so my daughter asked about the Real Housewives franchise: “Why are those ladies always screaming at each other?” I didn’t think “Because they’re trashy, honey” was a good answer. BUT IT IS THE RIGHT ANSWER.

Nice piece, totally irrelevant. There is no way to stop the perception that Jews are good at business. But the victims are among the non-wealthy Jews – not gentiles – particularly young men who are not rich and feel guilty as if not having a pennis. This group includes the vast majority of Jews

Unable to make money as other mythical heroes Jews do in the movies, books, and our own family (where the greatest hero is the “millionaire uncle” we all supposed to have ) we become defensive. We are incomplete. We are failed Jews, as Sara Ivry discovered visiting the (Jewish) snow birds from Florida, but did not say it.

Sure I want to be wealthy, and Jewish and let those who do not like it to fit the proverb:

Zolst zein vi a lomp-am tug sollst di hangen, in der nacht sollst di brennen –

You should be like a lamp, you should hang during the day and burn during the night!

But most hinging lamps are unfulfilled Jewish ambitions. THis is a double punishment

Joy old city says:

“Lousy with Jews”- unfortunate choice of words that would do Himmler proud. And you are writing about, oh, I remember, media stereotypes?

Sara Ivry says:

@Miha Ahronovitz

I must correct you; I did not find in Florida “failed Jews”–I found elderly ones where I happened to be visiting, but ones quite happy with their Jewishness and place in life.


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In Praise of Un-Jewishness

Finally, a horrible reality star who is no shanda

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