The Zionist Conspiracy
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Banned By The Jewish Press
EMPLOYER: There's just no way that we could keep you on.
Following my posting yesterday of the Jewish Literacy Test, Jason Maoz of The Jewish Press e-mailed me last night to say that "I've been told to tell you you're no longer welcome to write for the paper."
The offending item was of course Question 4, which asked: "About which newspaper did numerous rabbinical authorities proclaim that it may not be read outside of the bathroom?"
Explanation ruins satire, but since some people obviously just didn't get it...
Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz's call - in the wake of the Netan Levy matter - for people to ask questions to those in their community about their background inspired me to write the Jewish Literacy Test, a satirical look at some of the absurd practices and urban legends of the Orthodox community.
Among others, none of the Beastie Boys really went to MTA, Phil Collins never demanded that "dogs and Jews" leave his concert, and all of Teddy Kollek's children did not become frum. It's also highly unlikely that any revered rabbi was ever actually asked whether it is permissible to read The Jewish Press in the bathroom, and even less likely that any rabbi then responded, "the real question is whether you can read it outside of the bathroom."
Nevertheless, these stories are part of Orthodox lore, and that - along with the fact that an impostor would be clueless about all these unique absurdities - is what The Jewish Literacy Test was skewering.
As for the end to my writing in the Jewish Press: Since my second child was born in December 2006 I've had very little time to write and I think my byline has only appeared in the Jewish Press two or three times since then.
I appreciated having a forum to express ideas and thoughts that were important to me. Recently I had a chance to seriously consider Sports and the Orthodox Jewish Fan in a front/back page piece. In November 2005, I was provided that space to reflect on the tenth anniversary of the murder of Prime Minister Rabin. After the Second Lebanon War, I wondered why Israel was less secretive about its war operations and strategy than Eric Mangini is about the Jets' operations and strategy; very similar criticism subsequently appeared in the Winograd Report. Upon Yasser Arafat's death, I wrote about his life's work of murdering Jews. Shortly after Prime Minister Sharon's stroke, I assessed his tenure as prime minister. I pointed out the moral flaws in Steven Spielberg's Munich, analyzed Sharon's "disengagement" plan from its first rumblings through the Gaza withdrawal, and lamented political extremism among Orthodox Jews while proposing a rational moderate right-wing approach to the issues surrounding Israel.
My thoughts about the Ted Floyd/Netan Levy matter were to appear in next week's Jewish Press. Readers of this blog likely will not be disappointed that this column won't be appearing.
It is of course the prerogative of The Jewish Press - a private enterprise - to declare me persona non grata. But I confess to being disappointed to receiving an e-mail stating "you're no longer welcome to write for the paper." I never received a penny for the many articles that I've written in The Jewish Press. I didn't even get a subscription to the paper. I always took very seriously the responsibility of publishing something for a wide audience and tried to submit quality writing.
Hopefully my submissions made a small contribution to the discussion and consideration of ideas that are - or should be - important to the mostly observant Jewish readers of The Jewish Press. But I don't think that's how the newspaper sees it. To them, it seems, writing for The Jewish Press is a favor they provided to me, a one-way privilege that I have now squandered.
Finally, in the past I have praised Jason Maoz for his efforts toward trying to improve the quality of The Jewish Press. I stand by that praise.
My correspondence with Maoz began in late 2003, when the once-mighty Protocols blog linked to a post of mine criticizing The Jewish Press. Since then, I've exchanged hundreds of e-mails - at least - with him, about the Mets, the NFL, things that appeared on blogs, in The Jewish Press and other Jewish newspapers, and the wider media. It's the sort of interaction that makes little sense outside of the blogosphere but is not at all unusual within it.
At that time, Maoz asked me to write columns for The Jewish Press. I initially responded with a litany of complaints about the newspaper. Ultimately, I relented, on condition that I not be required to refrain from criticism on my blog when I thought it was warranted, that I not be forced to self censor. He agreed. Of course, yesterday's post was not even critical of the paper, let alone mocking toward it.
I certainly have no regrets about the Jewish Literacy Test. And I can only hope that yesterday's other post - about the arrest of Michael Knight and an investigation into a crack commando unit still wanted by the government - does not result in a ban by NBC.