Monday, September 28, 2009

Crackers at Yom Kippur

It's a school holiday here in New York on account of Yom Kippur which is the culmination of Jewish Holy Week.

Ever since I came to New York City, I've been friendly with lots of Jews. Jesse Jackson didn't call it Jaime Town for nothing. Folks said Jackson was an anti-Semite. Maybe he is - what do I know? I do know that some Jews are quick to holler Anti-Semite. Jews get touchy. Who can blame them? The Jews have been targets of genocidal mania for centuries.

Throughout European history, the Jews worked to remain a distinct people while the rest of us blended together with the conquerors when our regions were seized by another tribe. The Angles and the Jutes and the Celts and the Saxons and the Normans all fucked each other and became one mass of bloodthirsty white Europeans who then proceeded to build empires on the backs of dark people the world over.

This dedication to Jewish community and identity is plain to see in the family of The Artist from the South of France until WWII when his grandfather married a Catholic woman. His family lived in France as Pope's Jews who came into being when the Vatican was transferred to Avignon. The Pope's Jews did business for the Catholics and in turn were allowed to live. Since his mother and grandmother were Catholic, The Artist from the South of France was not Jewish. He wasn't a practicing Catholic either, but I thought dating an Artisit from the South of France would be a big change from the Ukrainian/Polish Jews to whom I gravitate. As it happened, The Artist from the South of France's family was so Jewish there is a street in Jerusalem named after his Great Uncle. So much for me not dating Jews.

I am not going to chronicle all the Jewish men I have dated here because (1) my mother would figure out that I was still married while I was dating a couple of them and (2) the story is too good to tell for free on the Internet. Further, most of my interactions with Jews have been as Velvet's mother and as a teacher. At Firestarter School, for example, there was a large population of Israeli Jews.

I have spent enough time among the Jews to be concerned that Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin or somebody is going to blame the Jews for the Wall Street clusterfuck and whip the Crackers into a frenzy.

Maybe Cracker is also a racist term - but it's helpful to use racist terms when discussing racist issues. To clarify racial and class distinctions, I like to look at New Orleans before the flood. During Katrina, you could see that an antebellum social structure had been dominant in New Orleans. The plantation owners became the folks who got out of town way in advance of the flood. Poor blacks and whites were left to die. Cracker Overseers were in minor positions of authority. They weren't so powerful they could get out of town and hang out with the plantation owners - and even if they had the money they were too tacky to come to dinner. But the Cracker Overseers were powerful and corrupt enough to take advantage of the situation.

The South is not the only place with lots of Crackers anymore than the South is the only place with the Klan. There are plenty of Crackers in Pennsyltucky, Ohio and other Midwestern districts where the settlers were primarily white - and Ku Klux has chapters in all those places. Of course, Gone With The Wind shows that land owners were also in The Klan. The need to keep all the wealth and power in the hands of the White Men is not restricted to Crackers. The rich supremacists simply boss around the poor ones, although those hoods must equalize them somehow.

Crackers will never have as much money as Land Owners. God made that clear with the Divine Right of Kings. Although that world view was challenged during the Reformation, the idea that some people are rich because God likes them best runs rampant in America today - from NASCAR rallies to Congress to Corporate Junkets.

Red Necks have nothing to do with anything in this context. Red Neck just means you worked outside a lot. Men who stomp around checking on their oil rigs and other property are just as big of Red Necks as hired help - and in point of fact, none of them are necessarily racist or conservative although Red Necks got that reputation during Vietnam. There is plenty of White Trash at every socio-economic level, too, because Trash is Trash - rich or poor, North or South. Two prime illustrations of trash with money are Crystal Allen, played by Joan Crawford in The Women and Dan Packard of Dinner at Eight played by Wallace Beery.

Joan is the bath tub being taunted by Rosalind Russel and Wallace Beery is with Jean Harlow. The Jean Harlow character has always been one of my favorites because she forced her Robber Barron husband to do the right thing in business so she could social climb to her heart's content. The point of bringing these movie characters into the discussion here is to show that rich folks may be ruthless, self-interested opportunists, but they aren't Crackers. There are no rich Crackers. Not for long, anyway. If a Cracker made money off Wal-Mart stock back in the day or by hitting lotto, the family either drank it all or educated themselves and aren't Crackers anymore.

The Teabaggers of September 12th are middle and lower class whites who, by racist definition, are Crackers. I say this with all the authority of the Southern Petite Bourgeoisie. I might have been a Duchess in Beaumont's Neches River Festival, I'll have you know. I'd have been on a float in a parade wearing a tiara and everything.

On this Jewish High Holy Day, I worry because now that Rupert Murdoch and them are stirring up the Crackers with all the fear they can muster about a Negro president, it won't be long before the Jews are the target. If the Crackers get going on the Blacks and the Jews at the same time, nobody will notice anything else about Health Care, Afghanistan, Education, the Environment - nothing.

I'm not worried about Long Island becoming a Jewish Reservation like in the movie C.S.A.:The Confederate States of America because enough Jews are in positions of power and influence in this country to prevent that sort of thing from happening in Reality.

If the people manipulating the teabaggers have their way, then we will become as close to a world like The Confederate States of America as we can legally be. Now that the Crackers are just as broke and without prospects as other minorities in America, they are running scared. Of course they were horrified when Obama addressed classrooms. The last thing Crackers need is more Negroes with education, money and access to power.

The propaganda mongers might be able to find the one black man with a machine gun in Arizona and trot his ass out for the news to make it look like people besides Crackers are riled up - but that blip in the 24 hour cycle is not the first time somebody found a token black to prove a point.

I don't know enough about Zionists and American politicians of every variety working together to protect Israel to even begin to participate in that kind of discussion. I'm just saying that today I'm worried about the malevolence on the loose in our country as we hover on the brink of a class war. I wonder how much longer it will be before Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh starts going after Ron Emanuel. I wonder what they'll make of the Rabbi in Michelle Obama's family.

Michelle Obama's cousin, Rabbi Capers Funnye


dissed said...

Okay, that made my head spin around, but maybe it's just my fever.

Gail said...

Hi there-\

First, that video was disturbing on many levels. Wow. And it is a holiday here too - so there are enough Jews in Connecticut too. :-)

And Skipp was raised Jewish - he sings all those lovely Hebrew chants that I find so beautiful He knows the faith and life well - and spatters us with many traditions.

Very high order post - as in, very intelligent and of a higher order of thought. I barely could reach. phew.

Love you

p.s. what happened to the post that didn't post!!??

PENolan said...

Gail,if you are referring to Men, Money and Me - it had too many convoluted interactions even for me. I'll post it again when the time is right.

jadedj said...

I don't know if I would use the word convoluted, but it was a lot to digest. So what...that's the way you write. I stop by here sometimes and scan the post, and then come back to digest it. This was a very interesting analysis of many many subjects. I thoroughly enjoyed it kiddo.

PENolan said...

As long as you'd use the word Cracker, JadedJ, then I'll be content. You, Punch and Mr. Charleston know all about crackers.

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Brava! Brava, brava...

PENolan said...

I reckon you know a cracker when you see one too, Mr. Konopelli.

PENolan said...

ps to JadedJ: dissed got dizzy because she read the first version of the post which included tangental, anecdotal information. The unifying thread of the thought was in a bit of a tangle. Entertaining and endearing? Let's hope - but decidedly convoluted.

dissed said...

No, it really was my fever. It's gone today.

Can't mistake a Cracker, whether seen or heard. Crackers love some public hystrionics.

jadedj said... applied to mule drivers in the 1800's Florida territory. They could be heard "cracking" their whips, from all around...or some such. I have trouble finding conversations where I can work in whip cracking, except of course the adult movies in which I starred back in the late 70's. In fact, my screen name was Big Cracker. Can't speak for Punch and the Cee.

PENolan said...

So all y'all originally met back in the 70's?

jadedj said...

Met is not exactly correct. In fact, I take umbrage to the term, met. Punch actually worked on only one of my films...he operated the clapper, the reason being, he had much experience with clap. Cee was a grip...and an expert grip at that. but had a tendency to grip at the wrong moment...which, I understand from certain sources, is still the case.

Just thought I would clarify all of this.

Comrade Kevin said...

The Jewish population here in DC is quite high, which I noticed a couple days back when the security for the local temple was quite evident and there were less people out and about except to go to worship.

PENolan said...

The kipot will tip you off every time.

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