Thursday, March 13, 2008

Jew, Not a Jew. That is the Question

I have nothing substantive to add to the Spitzer saga that hasn't already been said. However, I was on the phone yesterday with a client & somehow the subject of Eliot Spitzer came up. He asked me if Spitzer was Jewish, since a number of people had been referring to him as an Evangelical type -- a crusader, etc. I said that I was fairly certain that he was, but that I would check. After I hung up, I thought to myself that our discussion sounded like the SNL Gameshow skit "Jew, Not a Jew?"

Anyway, I did a little research and discovered this piece from Gawker, Eliot Spitzer: Shanda fur die Goyim. This answers the question:

And he could have been the first Jewish president! Eliot Spitzer, (still) governor of New York State, is weighing his resignation [obviously written pre-resignation] following his tryst with a shiksa prostitute. Though the idea of a Jewish president is great, let's be real: The guy was way too bald to ever make it into the Oval Office, regardless of his foreskin status. Some have blamed the Portnoy's Complaint instinct for this mess, but honestly, if this affair shows anything, it's that Jews are just like any other politicians, only occasionally more so.

Spitzer's education, propensity to argue and dedication to fitness all made him a nice Jewish boy. But he never conflated his moralist streak with his religion the way some Jewish politicians do (cough, cough Joe Lieberman). Instead, like Michael Bloomberg, also a member of the tribe, Spitzer was a crusader. As attorney general, he went after white collar criminals, as well as prostitution rings, and created a reputation as do-gooder fighting evil. (Bloomberg, less didactic, went after smokers and fatties.) And the public loves when anyone self-righteous, regardless of religion, takes a fall.

Prostitution affairs ensnare B-list political goys like Randall Tobias, Ken Calvert and Allan Howe all the time. Eliot Spitzer proves that Jews can violate the codes of marriages just as well as any other religion, and his fall from pious grace makes it more shocking (or entertaining, depending on the observer). But only a Jew would've thought to put a down payment for future services.

Speaking of the SNL skit Jew, Not a Jew, I also discovered a site dedicated to the quest of Jew or Not Jew, which also ponders the Spitzer question:

We've often lamented the lack of prominent Jewish politicians here on Jew or Not Jew. That'll teach us.

The governor of New York State as a Jew would have been a cause to celebrate. We'd have waxed eloquent about the Hebrew Crusader. The tough as nails prosecuter who followed a hard line on crime all the way up to one of the most high profile governors' offices in the country.

Now? Not so much.

But who are we at JONJ to judge how one finds companionship? Surely there are worse offenses for a governor to commit. So we decided to forgive him and put the K score at 2. A nice low number that acknowledged the offense, yet admitted there was a chance for reconciliation.

Then we found out that his "woman of choice" was named Kristen.

Seriously now, a Sara, a Leah or even a Rachel -- that we could understand. But a Kristen?

Now that just goes too far.

Verdict: Sadly, a Jew.


Steve Gimbel said...

"Seriously now, a Sara, a Leah or even a Rachel -- that we could understand. But a Kristen?"

Not only that, but apparently he was also caught paying retail...oy.

Susan said...

Trivia test for those who are not ashamed to admit they have first-hand knowledge of this:

Who is the comedian(ne) who played this game in such a funny way,

and on what show did s/he play it?

JudiPhilly said...


Or even worse, as we label it in the office -- retail plus.


Are you referring to Tom Hanks on SNL in 1988?

Susan said...

Gilbert Gottfried, complete with German accent, on Howard Stern, when he was on freeFM. May have predated SNL, but certainly was a regular feature from 1993-2001.