This May Be The Stupidest Thing I Read All Year

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At Forward Mobile by Jay Michaelson (via David “Spoony” Atkins):

Obamacare ‘Pajama Boy’ Controversy Wrapped in Anti-Semitism
Right Wing Anger at ‘Jewish’ Star of Viral Health Care Ad

Surely the silliest kerfluffle of a political year that contained much silliness was the recent conservative hand-wringing over “Pajama Boy.”

Pajama Boy, you will be forgiven for not knowing, was the star of a recent ad — one among many — by “Organizing for Action” (formerly Obama for America) designed to get people to register for health insurance. This particular ad, part of the ‘Healthcare for the Holidays’ campaign was aimed at the twenty-something demographic, and advised said demographic to “Wear pajamas. Drink hot chocolate. Talk about getting health insurance.”

Interestingly — and seemingly overlooked in the ensuing media hubbub — the ad campaign’s actual purpose was to get those millennials to talk to their families about healthcare. The assumption being that twenty-somethings are more plugged-in than their parents to the details of the Affordable Care Act. Which they probably are.

But I digress. How could such a milquetoast political campaign attract so much vitriol? Well, demonstrating the three action-items of the campaign was a photograph of a young man, wearing pajamas, mug in hand, eyebrows raised, presumably ready to talk about health insurance.

The Right went apoplectic, calling Pajama Boy “a metrosexual in a plaid onesie,” “an insufferable man-child,” and various other vaguely sexist and homophobic epithets. Apparently, real men don’t wear pajamas.

Or glasses. What’s interesting about the Right’s freakout about men who don’t measure up to the standards of the 1950s is how Pajama Boy’s obvious Jewishness has been subsumed by these other characteristics.

Yes, Virginia, Pajama Boy is a member of the tribe. Look at him. Pale Ashkenazic skin, Jew-fro’d black curls, Woody Allen specs. Even the smart-ass expression on his face screams of the Wise Son from the Passover Seder.

Parenthetically, the model himself is one Ethan Krupp, an Organizing for America staffer who is, in fact, Jewish. But whether Krupp himself is circumcised or not, Pajama Boy is semiotically Jewish, even stereotypically so.

In fact, Pajama Boy stands at a centuries-old nexus of anti-Semitism and misogyny. As scholars including Sander Gilman and Daniel Boyarin have shown, Jewish men have been accused of being unmanly for hundreds of years – including by other Jews, such as the early Zionists, whose muscular Judaism was a direct response to diaspora Jewish emasculation. This is an old, old motif.

The Jew is the Other is the Effeminate is the Liberal. He is the urbanite, the parasite, the usurer, the lawyer. His effeminacy corrupts the Volk or the Heartland or the real American values. He wouldn’t know how to drive a pick-up truck if it was on cruise control. And he definitely votes for Obama.

Really, what’s “metrosexual” about Pajama Boy, anyway? The fact that he’s wearing pajamas? Drinking a hot beverage? No – it’s the way in which he so perfectly fits the Right’s image of the liberal Jewish girly-man. There’s a real “masculinity,” and then there’s whatever it is that Pajama Boy is embodying. (For the record, I have no idea whether Krupp is gay or straight. Neither do his haters.)

Needless to say, in this brave new world of Eric Cantor and the Republican Jewish Coalition (whose executive director makes over half a mil – must be a real man), the Jewishness of Pajama Boy is conspicuously absent from the vitriol. But as soon as you see it, you can’t un-see it. Which makes you wonder what the Review’s Charles Cooke – in another line conspicuously omitted by the discussions of this issue – meant when he said “the advertising machine behind the Obama administration seems not to really know what normal human beings are like.”

Normal human beings are gentiles. They spit or smoke tobacco, they speak plainly, and they are manly men who don’t wear pajamas, don’t raise their eyebrows, don’t support affordable healthcare, and definitely don’t flay their arms around like Woody Allen. Or Shylock. Real men. Not Jews.

Whether or not the Pajama-Boy bashers are unconsciously anti-Semitic or not, I don’t know. Consciously, they are against everything “Judaism” stands for, at least as construed by its enemies: outsiderness, cosmopolitanism, liberalism, a progressive rather than nativist agenda, an opposition to the notion that there is one kind of “normal” person, a sympathy for the underdog and the immigrant as opposed to the successful and the privileged, and, yes, a rejection of a certain gendered, masculinist understanding of justice wherein the strong survive and the weak are trampled underfoot like the untermenschen they are.

That fascistic outlook has long been a part of far-right conservatism – whether in revisionist Zionism, contemporary French/Hungarian/Greek nationalism, American Republicanism, or German fascism. Real men are strong, and the weak don’t deserve our pity. Let them get sick for lack of healthcare; they probably deserve it. And as for women, and the parasitic “Jewish” men who resemble them? They are to be suppressed and domesticated, not empowered. Patriarchy is good. Sexism is natural. Get out of your onesies, America. And put on your jackboots.


Those are Jay Michaelson’s words in all their glory. I published the whole thing under fair-use because I didn’t want anyone to think I was quoting him selectively to make him look bad or leaving out the part where he said “just kidding”. You can read more about the author here.

Spoony’s commentary was “This 100%”.

I remember way back to a week before Christmas when Pajama Boy first became news. My initial reaction was to wonder if it was real or a parody. (These days it’s hard to tell.) There was a lot of back and forth tweeting going about PJB, but I sure don’t recall any anger, at least not from the right.

There was laughter and gleeful mocking. Photoshops quickly appeared. It was lots of fun. This was at least one full day before the Duck Dynasty Debacle started and it was a slow news day, so of course it went viral.

I guess I was completely oblivious to Pajama Boy’s “obvious Jewishness.” I never crossed my mind that he was Jewish, or even that he wasn’t Jewish. I don’t think like that – my mind is colorblind. But even if he had been wearing a yarmulke or lighting a menorah I don’t see what difference it would have made.

Antisemitism is one of those isms that never made any sense to me. It’s more like a phobia – an irrational fear of circumcised men. I do understand that it exists, but most of the time I see it exhibited in this country it’s by Arab immigrants and left-leaning individuals and groups.

The far right and the far left both hate Israel and the Jews. But the mainstream right is supportive of both Israel and the Jews while the mainstream left has a large antisemitic contingent. There was plenty of antisemitism on display at Occupy Wall Street/OFA camp-outs. Our colleges and universities are strongly left-wing and they are also the home of the anti-Israel movement.

Ironically, most American Jews identify with the left and vote Democratic. Go figure.

You can safely bet that Michaelson did a Google and Twitter search for evidence of antisemitism, but he doesn’t cite a single example. That means he failed to find any. So the author comes up with a classic left-wing work-around for his lack of proof: “But as soon as you see it, you can’t un-see it.

I’m surprised he didn’t just call it “gentile privilege.”


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92 Responses to This May Be The Stupidest Thing I Read All Year

  1. The Klown says:

    I should ask the Koch Brothers for a raise so I can hire a secretary. I want someone to put together a list of the dumbest stories I blogged about this year. This is my sixth year of blogging, and The Stupid keeps getting worse.

    Maybe I can get an intern.

  2. The Klown says:

    OT: It is almost 2014. Please be advised that it is no longer a newsworthy story and/or an act of courage for a wealthy celebrity in the United States to “come out” as gay. It’s gotten so commonplace that people might as well announce whether they are right or left-handed.

    There are only two kinds of people who care about which way your door swings:

    1. People who consider you as a potential sex partner.

    2. People who don’t matter.

    In most cases, the people in category #1 are also in category #2.

  3. Lulu says:

    The first thing they get wrong is that it is not vitriol directed at butt flap long-handle’s goober guy. It is hilarity. He looks like a rather mean sexless infant. With dork glasses! It took several days to come up with this defense of this peculiar and funny picture. The only victim-hood category that could be scrounged was something that cannot be determined by his appearance but his unknowable religion and ethnicity many days later. If they had said it is haters of babies that are attacking him because he is infantilized (except for his massive masculine expensive watch) it would be even funnier. Or maybe he is drinking organic fair trade cocoa and evil chocolate corporations are after them.. As bots they can dish it out but can’t take it. Realizing they are not cool (they never were) is not going over well with them as they become the butt of jokes. Bots ARE funny and they need to get used to it.

  4. 1539days says:

    Ironically, the ad came out well after Hanukkah, which was some time after Thanksgiving this year. One could assume it was a Christmas (or Christian) themed ad from that alone. Plus, this picture was tweeted by the president himself, which means he essentially endorsed it, unlike the hilariously bad brosurance ads.

  5. Lulu says:

    I declare 2014 the year of making fun of everyone in the public eye. They are stupid, wrong, ridiculous, whiny, butthurt, self-absorbed, assholes. Not only is outrage tiring it doesn’t do any good. So make fun of them. All of them.

    • DeniseVB says:

      Speaking of whiney aholes, more Dem Fundraiser emails that caught my eye, but will spare you the copy/paste, here’s the Cliff Notes…..

      1. From the House Dems (DCCC?) – “Are you as tired as we are of the Tea Party calling us names? Send us money to help us make them stop it…., blah, blah, blah….”

      2. From Daily Kos – “Sadly, we have to layoff some of our hardworking staff, BUT you can help us save those jobs by signing up to donate $5 a month to us OR just donate $5 now….blah, blah, blah….”

      3. Two emails from the Warner and Kaine with the exact same subject/timedate, figured it was from the DSCC and just deleted them.

      I’m sure there’ll be more since tomorrow’s the last day of the FEC quarter. I sense an uptick in desperation of butthurt. To be fair, I just delete the whiney GOP crapmail w/o reading them too.

  6. DeniseVB says:

    Nope, “Jewish” never entered my mind either. In fact, he reminded me of “Leonard Hofstadter” from Big Bang Theory. Then I saw the actor again in Christmas Vacation when he was 14 playing Chevy Chase’s son and thought no, PJB looks more like the younger Johnny Galecki. Probably more as the character he played in Roseanne as Darleen’s boyfriend.

    Now that’s all I thought about PJB, not an anitsemite thought ever entered my head. 😉

  7. abc says:

    What kills me is that over at a certain beige and blue blog a few years ago, it was all the outrage that people would suggest that Jewish people were an ethnic group. “It is a RELIGION, NOT AN ETHNICITY,” they snarled with spittle hanging off their lip.

    I would like to send the attack dogs from that blog over to tear this guy a new one, because he is suggesting a genetic makeup to Jews! We are supposed to know that they have a certain look! And BTW, I had no idea with this guy either.

    Big Bang Theory: For me, he may look like Leonard, but he’s much less likeable, more like a Sheldon. He’s a Shelnard, or a Leondon. Or something.

  8. ok—-I’m Jewish and let me give you my take….two things:

    1) the folks putting this crap out there are doing it because they have learned that if they scream “racism” it apparently wins them some points. Since it is clear that this guy is likely white, the “racism” charge couldn’t be used. So—-voila—it is anti-semitic!!!! Utter bullcrap!! And it is a cheap shot of the highest order.

    2) on the subject of real anti-semitism, unfortunately it is a perennial, but this is nothing new. The entire history of the Jews is full of close calls of extinction at the hands of our enemies through time (the religion is over 5300 years old). And there is still some of it here in the U.S. I have an Italian last name (by marriage) and I look Italian so sometimes people say some bad stuff about the Jews while I’m present (I never let it slip by without saying something). It’s there. But to insist that this pajama boy thing is antisemitic is a joke—-a big fat one. And pathetic. Totally desperate.

    • Constance says:

      The strange thing is my Jewish friends can tell if someone is Jewish (or think they can) just by looking at them. So I guess they think everyone can and is judging who is Jewish and who isn’t when in fact most non Jews never consider the idea.

  9. angienc says:

    Only a complete and utter moron can comment on someone’s “obvious Jewishness” to accuse someone else of anti-semitism.

    Ugh, vile progs really are the worst.

    • DandyTIger says:

      That’s either funny or sad when you think about it. They’re so victimhood oriented, their entire existence is about looking for bigotry. Which in turn makes them the ultimate bigots.

  10. gxm17 says:

    Oh good grief. As everyone has already mentioned, the writer is confusing anger with ridicule and effeminacy with childishness (which given the prevalence of misogyny among the progbots probably tells you more about the writer than anything else). But there’s also a huge amount of hypocrisy (again, what else should we expect from the progbots?) because I recall much derision directed toward Mormon undergarments in 2012 even though the Romney campaign never featured said clothing in an ad. Lastly, and again just the sort of hate and self-absorption we’ve come to expect from Proglandia, there’s the ageist assumption that 20-somethings are better informed than their parents. As always, progbots wearing their pettiness and prejudice like a crown.

  11. elliesmom says:

    “The assumption being that twenty-somethings are more plugged-in than their parents to the details of the Affordable Care Act. Which they probably are.” I don’t think so, Tim.

    • Lulu says:

      No, no, no to young people understanding complex matters like health insurance. The type of “plugged in” that comes with knowledge about health insurance comes with time and experience. When I explained what Obamacare does with premiums, insurance pools, individual market, employer plans, deductibles, co-pays, federally mandated services in plans, restricted provider networks, etc my three young adult children who are not dummies but inexperienced with health insurance, were livid. All three are under 30, have full health insurance which they contribute to from their employers, and have seen their coverage decrease with premiums increase. They are not happy and see that Obamacare is a scam. Two asked why didn’t we just buy insurance for people who were uninsurable or low income as it would have been cheaper? I told them less opportunity for kickbacks and graft as well as less political control of people’s lives. The media and social networks are lying to them.

      • Constance says:

        I think that the young people I am around simply can’t grasp that the media are lying to them and their friends are vapidly regurgitating what they have heard on the evening indoctrination (news).

  12. piper says:

    Are young people really plugged in – had a discussion last week with 2 young people about our debt and who would pay for it. They looked confused for a sec then said something about all the money we seniors had which should help in debt reduction. Laughingly I told them I was planning to spend all my hard-earned and saved money before my departure. One of them actually told me that was selfish. Guess again kids most seniors are barely making it and the rich has a roomful of attorneys keeping their ‘moneys’ safe from you and the gubmint.

    I never really thought about this silly man’s ethnic heritage. I can see many different strains: Italian, Sicilian, Arab, Jewish, Greek, or just another special snowflake.

  13. The Klown says:
  14. insanelysane says:

    Someone had to dream up that ad and suggest that a man put on silly pajamas and look dorky for the camera. I blame the ad campaign for making this “man” look silly and laughable. That’s the person with prejudices.

  15. The Klown says:
  16. Last day in Santa Fe found the lead story of the local paper praising the 1.1 million people who have now signed up for Obamacare and how great it is going to go in 2014. Local doctors advertising “we accept Obamacare”. George RR Martin, creator of Game of Thrones now owns a small movie theater here and is going to have a marathon showing this week end. That’s the haps in Progville! Get outta here!

  17. mothy67 says:

    I need to thank G L A A D for making my life hell Somehow I caused all of this. Not sure but I think I caused homelessness diabetes a crack epidemic child hood obesity a ballooning deficit the ladies of the View and the rest of societies ills. No need to say thanks just doing what I can to single handful take down western civilization

    • DeniseVB says:

      Love it ! I almost bought my husband a front door mat that said “Because of the Shortage on Ammo, There Will Be No Warning Shots”. 😀

      • Constance says:

        Sounds like a great doormat to have!

      • Somebody says:

        I want one of those door mats!

        Here’s a tip for getting cops to respond promptly, call and report teenage girls flashing cars driving by. This happened in my neighborhood and I’ve never seen a quicker police response! Cop cars arrived from every direction in record time.

        Then the cops were fighting over whose call it was, as they all wanted to interrogate the girls. I’m sure it helped that they were all cute little cheerleader girls.

        We all decided if someone was breaking into our house we might be better off reporting a cute teenage flasher at our front door.

    • DandyTIger says:

      Sadly in real life they probably would have ignored the burglars in the shed and stormed the house instead.

  18. foxyladi14 says:

    I am dense. I never entered my mind that he was, or even that he wasn’t Jewish. 🙂

  19. mothy67 says:

    So my health insurance ends tomorrow. I had liver and kidney failure. Given two months. Went all natural with food. I was being screened for transplant but decided against it. My blood work now has me as completely normal and healthy. BUT my file says I am knocking on heaven’s door. Cannot get it changed. Also says I have hep c which I do not. Anyhow it makes insurance unrealistic. BETTER off just paying cash should I need to go to the hospital. Cheaper

    • votermom says:

      (((Mothy)))
      I’ll be praying for you.

    • Lulu says:

      I know where you are coming from. If I wasn’t on husband’s insurance I would be long gone. Stay well and proving the medicos wrong.

      • mothy67 says:

        My heart is pig valves and T e f l o n. Since 1970 they have been telling me how I am going to die. Gets boring after a decade or so. This time though it was all diet. I was on a ton of meds and weighed 70 pounds more than I do now. Couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs. Decided if I was going out it would be on my terms. I was in awe as I watched myself stabilize. Best part is I eat all the time now. Eight times a day.

        • votermom says:

          What kind of diet? Low carb?

        • mothy67 says:

          Fresh. Garlic. Peppers. Cabbage. Whole grains. Fish. Red meat usually bacon once per week. Oatmeal. Lots of red stuff but easy on tomatoes. High in potassium. Funny thing is my insurance covered exorbitant pills but had to pay dietician myself. Never more than 8 ounces of juice per day. Whole fruit is fine but fructose can be tough on liver. Use monk fruit extract when craving sweet but it is expensive

        • The Klown says:

          They told my dad in 1967 he had maybe 2 years to live if he was lucky.

          He died in 2003.

  20. threewickets says:

    Let’s face it…Pajama Boy is the face of OFA. He looks like a younger Felix Salmon to me. I don’t know or care if he’s Jewish. Same people who spend too much time wondering if somebody is gay or not seem to spend too much time wondering if somboby is Jewish or not.

    • The Klown says:

      To me stuff like sexual orientation, race, ethnicity and religion are mostly irrelevant data that only matter in certain limited situations.

      Yet somehow not caring about that stuff makes me a bigot in some people’s eyes.

      • mothy67 says:

        I would tend to agree but when groups pull things like G l a a d. They force the conversation. I had more people make some nasty comments to me over the past two weeks than I have in years. They are not speaking for me but sadly we all get lumped together

  21. underwhelmed says:

    I wonder if this nonsense has any connection to the massive backlash against the Israel academic boycott backlash. Also, why does the far right hate the Jews? Because of the old they killed Jesus nonsense?

  22. piper says:

    Another apple falls from the acorn tree (I refuse to slap myself or bang on the desk)
    Eleanor Holmes Norton Dem from D.C. – reason for low sign-ups

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/dem-congresswoman-obamacare-sign-ups-low-because-millions-think-gop-repealed-the-law/

    • Lulu says:

      LOL. That is hilarious. I guess the Obamacare PR machine and the navigators have not done much work among the DC civil service employees.

  23. helenk3 says:

    this is just sad

  24. piper says:

    More apples falling from the acorn tree
    Global fanatics trapped in Antarctica release this unbelievable statement saying ” sea ice is disappearing due to climate change.”
    Too much vodka or climate has frozen their few remaining brain cells.
    http://weaselzippers.us/?p=165995

    • Lulu says:

      Cognitive dissonance. They went there to record `melting ice and by god nothing, including massive ice forming, is going to stop them.

    • r u reddy says:

      What has the Arctic Ocean sea-icepack been doing since 1980? What have the non-polar glaciers and ice-fields been doing the last few decades?

  25. helenk3 says:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-25552825

    US announces 6 drone testing sites.

    guess the friendly skies will not be so friendly anymore

  26. votermom says:

    I have a year end book post – do you guys want it this afternoon or this evening?

  27. helenk3 says:

    http://weaselzippers.us/?p=166002

    Nevada church told to take down billboard saying Support Our Troops with a background of the American flag

    there is one part of me that says ” I was lucky enough to live in the greatest country in the world. A country that did more for other countries than most. well now we have people that want to destroy that country from within. What will they replace it with? Thank God at my age I will not see a lot of the damage”

  28. Constance says:

    I guess I don’t get how the ad or the mocking responses to it were sexist or misogynist. Just because pajama boy was seen as not quite male enough doesn’t mean they were calling him female. They were calling him asexual and that is not an insult to women.
    It’s the same problem society has with assigning all sorts of “other” categories to women’s restrooms. “If it’s not quite male enough then use the women’s bathroom”. NO! anyone or thing with a Y chromosome is not female and has zero business in the female restrooms or locker rooms. There is a definition of femaleness and that definition is not “anything that isn’t male enough”.

  29. votermom says:

    LOL Best pajama boy tweet

  30. The Klown says:
  31. The Klown says:
  32. The Klown says:
  33. Lulu says:

    “The individual mandate was not necessary and it’s probably a big political thing, and that is going to hurt the Democrats because people don’t like to be told what to do by the government no matter what party they’re in,” the former Democratic National Committee chairman said on Monday.”
    “The main rationale for the individual mandate, Dean explained, was that insurance companies supported it as a way of forcing younger people to enroll.” http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/367192/dean-individual-mandate-not-necessary-andrew-johnson

    The finger pointing begins.

  34. The Klown says:
  35. The Klown says:

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