Thursday, July 22, 2021

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

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Roberta, Where's The Anti-Jewish Angle In This Art Show Review?
by Dean Baquet, Executive Editor, The New York Times

Dean BaquetNew York, July 25 - Roberta, this is a fine recap of the Met's upcoming exhibit - good job getting them to grant you an exclusive preview of the Pollock retrospective. It's a real coup. But I wanted to tell you in person, because I think it's important, that I'm putting the story on hold until you can find a convincing way to work in some subtle antisemitism. Otherwise I might have to kill it entirely.

You know our policy, Roberta. I can only assume the pressures of the impending deadline forced the anti-Jewish requirement from your consciousness. That's fine; it happens to everyone from time to time. And we only formalized it a few months ago, after years - decades, really, long before my time as EE - of it being a kind of 'oral law' that the staff passed from generation to generation. Perhaps that one meeting with the official announcement wasn't enough. You have to see the Slack channel, Roberta. What do you think will happen among our younger set if I green-light a piece that contains no Judaeophobia?

Remember what happened with Bari Weiss. We don't need another storm of that sort. And Bret Stephens had to leave Twitter - our token conservative voice! I can take him or leave him, as you know, but appearances are important.

So is consistency. I'm not going to tell you how to do your job - I know about as much about art as I do about the Middle East. I will, however, suggest a few ways to include anti-Jewish animus in your review, in case you're pressed for time and can't come up with ideas right away.

First, there's the standby of invoking "Israeli Apartheid." You can compare anything modern to Banksy, and from there it's easy to slide in references to his activism on behalf of making it easier for Palestinian terrorists to kill Jews, and that opposition to that position is racist segregation.

Then you've got the option of taking abstract imagery and having it call to mind "violence" or "barbarism," which you can then parley into a screed against circumcision or ritual slaughter. If you prefer a little more discretion, the Holocaust or Nazism are always powerful reference points, from which you can slide into calling Israel or just Jews in general the New Nazis. I might have some Eli Valley material you can explore - you know what? I'll e-mail to you.

Do try to mix things up a little, though - I don't want to be beating the same anti-Orthodox drum again and again, as we do with TV and film coverage.

Glad we had this talk. Are you free for lunch?


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