Friday, November 04, 2005

Is that really an ethnic slur?

So I was going to write about why The Apprentice's ratings are down, but I'll think I'll save that for later after watching Thursday night's very entertaining, yet puzzling, episode.

Was there something we missed in the editing? Because we saw Clay say, in a somewhat joking manner, "Remember, [Adam's] the shy, tight Jewish boy." Then we saw Adam say that Clay had called him a "tight-assed Jew." Isn't that embellishing things just a bit, Adam? Especially since Clay was actually riffing on your at least twice-repeated comment that you were a "nice Jewish boy from Atlanta." It's not like Clay just came up with that remark out of thin air.

But the bigger question here is this: Is "tight-assed Jew" even an "anti-Semitic" comment? Is any adjective in front of the term "Jew" an anti-Semitic comment? "Cheap Jew," yes, "Big-nosed Jew," sure, but "tight-assed Jew"? Are Jews generally tight-assed? I wasn't really aware of that stereotype. And "tight-assed" wasn't listed in my dictionary, so I'm still not 100 percent sure what that term encompasses--is "tight-assed" a synonym for "cheap"? I don't think so, but maybe it is.

But of course, Clay, at least from what we saw, didn't even use the adjective in front of the term "Jew" format for his alleged slur--it just came out that way in the big game of telephone that the boardroom is on "The Apprentice."

Now one could argue that what Clay actually did say, that Adam was simply "tight," was calling him cheap. Then again, Adam was talking at the time about that tremendous burden of paying for dinner on the first date. Actually, maybe the most puzzling thing about the entire episode was that Adam apparently was advising the class to take someone to dinner on a first date. Wow, Adam, were you gearing this session for 12-year-olds? Who doesn't know that? Apparently, his next piece of advice was cut out in editing--he told guys to be sure and tip at least 15 percent.

So do I think Clay deserved to be labeled an anti-Semite for a couple minutes until Donald Trump (who has apparently replaced Abe Foxman at the ADL) cleared him of the charge? No, I think everyone was way too sensitive and, well, uptight.

Having said that, the comment--like others Clay made where he actually did use the word "ass"--still was out of place and inappropriate for the situation and the class.

Oh, and there was one more big puzzle last night--if the students hated the sex class so much, judging from the comments Carolyn read, why was their average score almost identical to the other group's score, for which George read only laudatory scores? The difference was .11 of a point, 7.08 to 6.97 out of 10. Ah, the mysteries of reality television.

And one more thing. Donald Trump, don't ask someone whether they're a virgin on national TV. That's not cool. But I must say, Mr. Trump, your analogy of being gay as like a menu, where some like steak and some spaghetti, was the funniest thing you've ever said.


Anonymous John said...

Good stuff. As of this date I might be the only commenter here, so here we go:

I didn't watch "The Apprentice," but tight-assed usually means uptight, right? I don't think that's some stereotype of Jews, at least not one that I've heard growing up in Potomac, where most of the Jews make jokes about themselves and the stereotypes.

But your blog has succeeded in doing something that Mr. Trump and NBC have failed to do: I actually want to watch "The Apprentice" now.

11/4/05, 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Eric--We are big Apprentice fans, and a "tight-ass" Jew to me has always meant "cheap." That's the one thing I've heard several times in my lifetime, and I took it each time as a Jewish slur. My daughter heard it used also when the drunk broke her door down.

1/5/06, 8:07 PM  

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