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November 8, 2009 – 11:58 am8 Comments

Letters to the Editor

Danny Katz is not amusing

Woody Allen made a career out of being sceptically humorous, and sometimes derisively mocking the New York Jew. His characterisations have become synonymous with how most of the world see Jews in the “New world” and even how they see themselves.

Daniel Levisohn, in his article “Woody Allen on the West Coast”, writing about Allen and Annie Hall, makes this comment:

Alvy Singer, embodies every character trope of the secular New York Jewish intellectual. He is funny and hyper-literate. He is casually paranoid, observing anti-Semitism at every turn. He lusts after the beautiful non-Jew, the eponymous shiksa, Annie Hall, played by Diane Keaton. He can spout off Freud and his longest relationship has been with his analyst.

There are, of course, other Jewish archetypes: for instance, the no-nonsense Israeli or the observant Hassidic Jew in his black hat. But for many Jewish Americans, Allen’s persona is probably the most familiar. He is what remains after assimilation has stripped away Jewish religious practice.

Larry David in a similar vein with Seinfeld and recently Curb Your Enthusiasm has also stylised the Jewish character albeit be it stuck in the vision of 50’s Catskill’s humour.

In either case both are skilled at the art of the anti archetype and do it extremely well.

Reading Danny Katz’s article in The Age, 05/11/09 made me choke on my morning coffee and toast.

Did Danny pull out his dictionary of Woodyisms and throw in some hip afro American terminology “jewed out” in attempt at some sardonic humour. Well he has failed miserably.

Could he have packed more Yiddish verbs and stereotypes into one article? I think not.

Perhaps his visit to the dentist filled him with so much gas as not only do dull the pain of the procedure but has numbed his brain into thinking that what his written could passed off as witty and funny.

Eli

St Kilda East, VIC

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