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I’m Sorry for the Super Jews

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To the Editor:

When I read last week’s Observer, I at first thought it was the April Fools’ Day edition even though it was October [“Judt at War,” Suzy Hansen, Oct. 16]. I could not believe that a Jew, Abe Foxman, was infringing on the right to freedom of speech and the exchange of ideas from a fellow Jew, Tony Judt. This goes against the very grain of Judaism. After all, we are the religion that incorporated the question into a religious ceremony (the four questions in the Passover Seder).

Then I remembered that Abe was a Jew, but a deviant strain of Jew called the Super Jew. They fly around the world wearing a yarmulke and dressed in a cape and shirt in the colors of the Israeli flag, blue and white, with a big “J” embroidered on it. Like the real Superman, they have infrared vision and can find anti-Semitism everywhere, including places where we mere mortals cannot even see it. Like the gypsy moth, the Super Jew is only attracted to the light of reporters, cameras and the rich.

Even though I am a Jew proud to live in Israel and disagree with everything Tony Judt has to say, I want to hear his ideas. By hearing them, I can better respond to Israel’s critics. Tony, I hope that you accept my apology and invitation to share your ideas with this Jew when you are in Israel in January.

Laura Goldman

Tel Aviv, Israel

Too Nasty!

To the Editor:

Being one of the straight men in California who is strangely attracted to Simon Doonan’s column—I read and forward it to multiple friends and family each week he writes—I was saddened by his use of Anne Frank’s name to describe his discomfort during a remodel [“Elvis Costello? Zzzzzz! But Patti Rings My LaBelle,” Simon Says, Oct. 16].

But before I chastise him, I feel the need to prove that I am a true fan: I took my lovely wife and kids to New York City this June and dragged them to the windows at Barneys and proclaimed, “These are the creative windows of my favorite columnist.”

I have to say that I am as cynical and stonehearted as any New Yorker, but, alas, I swallowed hard when he invoked “Dear Anne’s” name. It is insensitive and tasteless. Mr. Doonan is brighter and more creative than that. Let’s refrain from invoking Anne when you are in unpleasant, dank, dark and cramped quarters.

Instead, how about: “This is so Carnival cruise ship,” dissing the poor white Anglos who can’t afford better; “This is so Lane Bryant,” dissing the fat chicks (that he proclaimed to admire many a column ago) who can’t squeeze into anything else; “This is so Serendipity 3,” dissing that ugly and disgusting “heaven” for stupid tourists who wait three hours for bad ice cream, bad service and have to deal with the bitch with bad caps on her teeth to get a table.

These are just a few. I know he can come up with others.

Evan Levy

Danville, Calif.

Eulogies Are Dead to Me, Too

To the Editor:

What a pleasure reading about the candidness of Roger Ailes [“The Fox in Winter,” Rebecca Dana, NYTV, Oct. 9], with guileless statements from “How can one trust journalists when nothing written is ever accurate?” to “If you don’t want to be criticized, die. Because when you die, everybody says nice things, for some reason.” My exact sentiments.

I’ve heard many syrupy eulogies that made me shudder. Needless to say, praising the dead is very disturbing to discuss amongst friends, or strangers, especially if they’re religious.

Eulogies are so cloying that one would think the dirt covered nothing but angels. I wonder if Mr. Ailes would agree that eulogies should be more like “roasts”—mention the bad deeds with the good. Just once I’d like to hear a negative truism of the cadaver, so I could compare it with mine.

I’ve heard only one unkind remark about a cadaver, and that was when I worked in a casket company. The woman picking out a casket for her husband declined to buy a mattress and a pillow because he had been a rotten husband. “He’s dead,” she rationalized. “How would he know he has a mattress and pillow?”

Mr. Ailes concedes: “I don’t have any interest in getting compliments because I’m dead.” Exactly!

Susan Smpadian