Thursday, October 24, 2002

A Jew, a Conservative and a crook - definitely not a gentleman or Why do journalists never have anything nice to say about anything?
David McKie of the Guardian tells the intriguing story of a shady British character of the 19th century. He makes a point of mentioning the shady character’s Jewish background (the son of a Jewish peddler from Dublin) and his “real” (Jewish sounding) name. I am surprised that this gossipy detail is seen to be relevant, in such a sanctimonious, PC publication.

I know a lot of people who have changed their names for various reasons. Bish’s last name, which I adopted when I married him, is the name of his choice, and not the name he was born with. I see nothing wrong with that. I wouldn’t say this is not our “real” name.

I also know quite a few British Jews whose parents or grandparents felt it necessary to shed the burden of a “Jewish sounding” name. This seems to be much less prevalent among American Jews.

Mr. Mckie’s commentary has to do with some busts of famous Brits, that the aforementioned crook had erected in Leicester Square, which, it seems, he had bought and renovated, and that have recently been ruined by the misapplication of chemicals. Mr. Mckie seems to think that if the original donor of the busts wasn’t a very nice person, it is some sort of poetic justice that they have been damaged. The fact that the guy died destitute and discredited was not punishment enough, apparently, even over a hundred years later.

Something on the line of “fruit of the poisoned tree”?

Remind me to throw out my copy of “Crime and Punishment”. Never mind that it is one of the books that left the greatest impression on me. Dostoyevsky was an anti-Semite, after all. That’ll show him.

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