Shtick is shtick
December 7, 2011
I enjoyed Andrew Silow-Carroll’s column “Yesterday Never Dies” (Nov. 17 ), although I am not sure I agree with his assessment that American Jews have lost a mass culture. Our generation’s culture just is not the same as that of today’s Jewish youth.
I grew up in the 1970s and 80s, but my parents are the age of my peers’ grandparents. I spent many a weekend in the Borscht Belt. I have lived and taught in Israel and New Jersey. American-Jewish culture still exists, but the references have changed. The reduction of the existential threat has watered down the Jewish content to an extent, but not the Jewish approach. Instead of George Burns, Henny Youngman, and Sid Caesar, we have Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, and John Stewart. Instead of Oy-Oy-7, there is The Hebrew Hammer (available on DVD).
Although the Beatles are no longer “the” Beatles, bands still make pop music, good music, and then break up. Jewish culture and humor survive; you and I may just not feel today’s humor’s rhythm like our good ol’ stuff.
Shtick is shtick; it is just in the Hamptons now instead of the Catskills.