Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Nuch A Kashe

See here, here, and here. Oh, and also, here. I feel like there may also have been a similar discussion somewhere on E-kvetcher's blog; or it may have been LNM. Both of these wonderful bloggers are far too prolific for me to find said post, if in fact it does exist, and so if it does I would appreciate the link.
Now I know- this all begs the question "am I not making the situation worse?" Which, I probably am. But come on people. Get a grip! If we weren't all so very very self-absorbed, wondering where exactly we fit into things and how other people think we fit into things, this entire conversation would sound ridiculous. Honestly, it already sounds ridiculous, even to me, and I'm Jewish. I'm finally starting to sympathize with people who say "Call me anything you like, but G-d forbid you should label me!" On the one hand, it's a cop-out that I don't believe in; on the other hand, they're probably just sick of the entire stupid discussion already. I know a bit what that's like.

Several points. 1) Human beings categorize everything in their brain in order to understand it. It's called assimilating information into a pre-existing structure. (Or something like that. I'm too pressed for time to wiki the exact wordage.) People naturally categorize other people in their brains because that's how we understand everything.
2) No one likes to think that they are a steryotype. However, most people are, if not steryotypes, at least extremely predictable. "There is nothing new under the sun" means people and personalities too.
3) Everyone is a mix of things today. It's all sociological, really; where you came from in Europe, where you settled post-Europe, who everyone married...things used to be a lot more defined, for example when people were born, raised, and died in the same shtetl without ever going anywhere, save the next village over for their Rabbi's tish. The world got smaller and people got mixed up. It is no longer a chiddush that you are a mix of different backgrounds. Nearly everyone is.
4) I know that categorization is a useful and necessary tool for manipulating and understanding the world, and G-d knows, for shidduchim. But there is a limit people. Really. I am, indeed, all for the whole "be in as many categories as you want! It's fun and confusing!"approach, because it is fun. And confusing. But there is a point at which other people really don't care as much as you do. So, you know. Chill out.

I think this last is very possibly my main point. When you start getting into long-winded, more than thirty word descriptions of exactly who, where, and what you are in the Jewish world, it gets to be a little much. It's like "ok, I get it, you're not the steryotype!" Only, of course, you are.

I mean, look man, all I'm saying is this; I barely have the energy to care about my own issues of identity (which I have, just like everyone else) but I have even less patience for everyone else's issues of identity. Really, we don't care that much. And really? Neither should you.


Blogger Lubab No More said...

Thanks for the shout-out and the nice words.

I always liked to answer the question "How do you label yourself?" with the (somewhat Israeli) response: "I'm just a Jew. [shrug]"

I don't think I've blogged about labels per se, but here are two posts of mine that touch on the topic.

1) Lubab No More's Jewish-English Glossary

2) RESULTS SHOW - Religious Background Poll for Skeptics

12:23 PM  
Blogger Yoni said...

... I guess.


12:54 PM  
Blogger הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

a question if I may;

it seems you (blog auther) attend University in Israel(?) How is that? does the whole Hebrew thing work out and such (I mean, I speak Hebrew but..)?

(I'm asking because I'm thinking of it, and want some real world opinions...if you respond, you can email me if you want).

1:02 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

I find it amusing because as much as stereotyping is a social stigma in the US, it is just a part of life in the Old World...

Everyone knows that Russians are drunks, that Germans are anal-retentive, that Italians will hit on anything in a skirt, that Greeks could not build a level house if their life depended on it.

And for the most part they are all proud of it, or if not proud, they will accept it with a shrug of the shoulders. I guess they lack the American faith in transforming themselves?

2:13 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

I realize many of your links are dealing with religious sub-sect identifications, but I think that the notion of stereotypes is broader than that.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

No, I remember those posts....didn't you and I somewhere have a discussion involving Jimmy Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life?" Or was that someone else?

There's no need to be sorry. Everyone does it.

Dude with the really long name in Hebrew:
I do, in fact, attend university in Israel. You can e-mail me at if you have questions.

Unfortunately, it sometimes seems that even Europe is somewhat more p.c. than of yore...I realize that the notion of stereotypes is a broader issue, but I wasn't really focusing on stereotypes. Rather, I was focusing on the people who insist on talking and talking and talking about the stereotypes, or the psuedo-non-stereotypes, and how they couldn't possibly be stereotyped, while constantly creating new stereotypes which are really just slightly altered remodels of the old stereotypes.

I'm sorry, I guess this is sort of symbolic of my general frustration with mankind. I also haven't really slept in awhile.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...


8:59 PM  

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