Here’s the clip, if you have a strong stomach. Bad stuff at the end.
Any of the obvious responses — sponsor boycotts, FCC complaints (naming actual live individuals as “people who should be shot” has to violate some rule or other) — would simply help to spread the “powerful Jews” trope. And since one of his targets was George Soros, Abe Foxman and his fellow clowns at the Anti-Defamation League wouldn’t be interested anyway. The only way to deal with this is on a personal level.
Fortunately or otherwise, I don’t run in those circles. But everyone who knows Lorne Michaels, the producer of SNL, or runs into him in public, should be openly, persistently, and unspeakably rude to him, so that he finds it impossible to appear in polite company. If you see him in a restaurant, walk up to his table and say, loudly enough for everyone to hear, “You’re a miserable bigot. Did you leave your armband at home tonight?” Michaels should be dropped from charity boards and disinvited to meetings. The man has a case of moral leprosy, and anyone who touches him is infected.
We’re in for some bad economic times, and during such times anti-Semitism is always a threat. Lorne Michaels is helping that threat along from a powerful platform. Make him suffer for it, pour encourager les autres.
And someone should get Tina Fey her own show, so we can see her comedy unmixed with bigotry.
Update From our “Eeeew, ick!” Dep’t.: Michaels turns out to be Jewish, at least ethnically: he changed his name from Henry Abraham Lipowitz. (See, I told you I didn’t run in those circles.) For my money, that aggravates the offense. Clearly he doesn’t really hate the Sandlers and Soros because they’re Jewish; he’s prepared to use anti-Semitic tropes against them because they’re liberals and Democrats.
Second update A reader advises me to chill: “This is just a big stinking pile of unfunny.”
Third update The mail keeps rolling in; most of my correspondents didn’t see what I saw, or what Jeet Heer saw. I’m not reluctant to change my mind under persuasion, and like a good ethnic joke, and especially a Jew joke, as well as anyone. (“The Commandments are free? We’ll take ten.”)
But I’ve watched the skit again, and it still seems to me like something Julius Streicher could have written. Not only do three Jews own our politicians, which allows them to engineer and profit from a financial crisis; one of them offers to buy a cute shiksa from her husband.
Again, I don’t think Lorne Michaels is targeting Jews: he’s using classical anti-Semitic tropes to target three specific Jews who are heavy contributors to Democratic and liberal causes he despises. The right wing has already made Soros — who, despite what I think his unwise support for the drug-legalization movement, counts in my book as a national hero for OSI’s efforts in Russia and Eastern Europe — into a demon-figure. And people who seem to regard meeting a Palestinian without spitting on him as evidence of anti-Semitism are helping.