Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Battle for Identity

Daily Wii Fitness Age: 25 -- Not bad, considering I feel twice that coming off of two straight twelve-hour days and having just returned from the gym.

  • What I'm Watching/Listening To/Reading:
    • Happy to see that Kal Penn will be a regular on "House" for the foreseeable future (strike not withstanding). The Namesake, starring Penn, is out on DVD and it's one of the better movies I've seen in the last year. It deals with an Indian couple, who move to the U.S. after their arranged marriage, and their children born in New York, who, when they've grown, want to be Americans just like everyone around them. Anyone who comes from a culture that struggles with assimilation into "mainstream" society (like Jews, more on this later) will relate. Everyone will see Penn truly break out as a serious actor.
    • In the Safeway line today (And how bad are the Safeway lines? The lack of self-checkouts don't help the fact that they have 30% max of the lines open at any one time.), the National Enquirer had a story on "Who's Gay and Who's Not!". Among others, there was a picture of George Takei, who is very openly gay. Crack investigative reporting.
    • "I love talking about pi." "You're going to be flipping burgers at the supermarket!" "All of the ugly animals should die and the pretty animals should live." And the ending with Jared playing Dance Dance Revolution? Funniest..."Kid Nation"...Ever.
    • Name me one TV channel that's better from top to bottom than History International.
  • Random Thoughts/Links:
    • The pick for the NFL game that nobody will actually see? Green Bay (+7) vs. Dallas.
    • I kind of hate to say it, especially for a game of such big import to the conference, but I'm not really going to miss it.
    • God told me to read this article and call Richard Roberts a jackass.
  • Daily Rant:
A few years ago, the great Israeli writer A.B. Yehoshuah said something to the effect that if you don't live in Israel, you're not a real Jew. I attended a discussion at the Israeli Embassy yesterday where this came up and then discussed it over coffee (well, tea and bottled water) this morning with an Israeli co-worker. One can take this statement two ways: first, that Zionism (the belief in the existence of a Jewish state) is a key to Judaism and can only be truly practiced through aliyah (emigration to Israel); second, because Israel is a Jewish state, one only has to live in Israel to truly be Jewish. In other words (on the second one), Judaism is so prevalent in Israel that you can't not be Jewish. Even Israeli Arabs know about Jewish holidays of which many American Jews aren't aware. There is a large movement of Israelis that are anti-religion because the government is so under the thumb, as they perceive it, of the religious, but these people still get the Jewish holidays off, still have to deal with most things being closed on Shabbat. And this point is why I disagree with Yehoshuah and think that American Jews are perhaps more Jewish.

The Christmas season started this year on November 23, at the latest. The U.S. presidency is so entrenched with Protestants that Catholics are deemed controversial candidates. The Constitution and government don't play in this -- we live in a Christian society. It's easy and attractive for a Jew to be assimilated and feel like they're just like their friends. Even living in a city that celebrates diversity does not make one yearn to be different. To be Jewish, you really have to want it. Even if your Judaism is all cultural and not religious, you're still making a choice every day to be a minority, a choice that any racial minority doesn't have. It's this choice to be different that makes being Jewish in America much more difficult, and therefore in my eyes much more admirable, than in Israel. Zionists in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s had to fight for their country like I never have. I think this makes them greater patriots for Israel than I'll ever be for the U.S. For those same reasons, I say that the American Jew's fight to be Jewish makes them greater Jews.


Roy said...

Two Comments on this post.

I saw the tabloid cover. Totally ridiculous, especially the Takai sub headline that said "He boldly goes.... where?" or something alone that line. Some people swear by these 'publications'.

RE: Name one TV channel better top to bottom? I know it's totally subjective, but for me, I can name a few. In fact, it sparked me to rank my favorite cable and broadcast channels.

Top to bottom (and for me, better than History International), it goes (counting down);

5. HBO: Pluses, standard comedies and dramas that are funny / tense, but also can use the C word and F word liberally. Imagine the Curb ;restaurant opening' scene on any other network. Boxing, and the most quality movies. Avail in HD. Minuses, Have to pay for it. Has some *blech* filler shows.
4. Food Network: Pluses, good recipes, integrates well with their website, good personalities, and good entertainment shows too (Throw-down, Good Eats, Iron Chef, Ace of Cakes). Plus Giada is hot. Avail in HD. Minuses, you can overdose on it too easy. Watching make me hungry, which is a negative for a 'fat guy'.
3. Comedy Central: Pluses, South Park (still great), other signature shows, Daily Show, Colbert Report, etc. Good standup too. Can watch it for hours. Minuses, not avail in HD, and Mad TV is a big enough minus to drop it down.
2. ESPN: Pluses, more live sports than any other network. The only one I know that has MLB, NFL, NBA, College FB, College BBall, Nascar, etc, etc. More live HD than anybody. PTI. Got me through college without dying of boredom. Minuses: is currently killing my love of sports by over analyzing every little thing. Focuses too much on approx 10 franchises.
1. Discovery: Pluses, this is a well rounded network. I learn, I am entertained. Game shows (Cash Cab), instructional (How it's made, Dirty Jobs), one of my favorite new shows (Survivorman), and one of the best shows of TV (Mythbusters). Can watch it for hours without overdose. Available in HD. Minuses; some paid programming.

Quick rankings for the broadcasts.
4. ABC: Cavemen makes you last
3. NBC: Earl, Football, Heroes, and nothing else
2. Fox: Guilty pleasures, thy name is Fox.
1. CBS: I log more hours here than the others.

Sorry for the long response, but I am enjoying the Blog and it's fun to write back.

Josh said...

Thanks for your list. I definitely see your points, but I could just stick History International on and veg in front of it all day, whereas I'd have to change the other ones (Discovery is the closest, but has too many cop shows for me). If you want to actually blog (and you by no means need to do it every day), let me know.