Wednesday, March 05, 1997

Life in the Styx vol. 4, no. 29 (Old Styx)

Life in the Styx vol. 4, no. 29, March 5, 1997 (Excerpts):


The cover of Tuesday's New York Times, featuring the picture of Clinton about to plant a wet sloppy kiss of Arafat's behind was only marginally less disgusting than the picture of Rudy Giuliani dressed in drag. I have no idea what Clinton is doing anymore. I have given up trying. I wonder what will happen when Arafat declares a Palestinian state the moment a spade-ful of dirt is raised from Har Homa. AS I have said in the past, a state is a very good thing since it will allow Israel to deal with the Palestinians as a belligerent neighbor -- which the Palestinian's seem determined to remain -- as opposed to the overlord-vassal relationship we have now. Remember, the Palestinians have declared war against Israel and they are winning handily. The war is fought on many fronts with many weapons. Israel's inability to see this, especially the otiose astigmatism of the Right, is the main cause of our failures to this date. Cut and Run, Bibi.


I spent this past Shabbas in Kew Garden's Hills, Queens for my roommate'S aufrauf (oof-roof?). This was the first extended time I have spent in the Royal Borough, and although I was tempted, David Letterman-like, to use "woman's minyan" as the punch-line for every third joke, I showed admirable restraint. I few comments about Queens, though:

(1) It is a very nice area in terms of having green, leafy thangs lying around in the dirt, but there's a BIIIIG problem with the street names.

They were obviously created by a damaged mind. Get this: [My roommate] lives on 71st Road. But there is a 71st Street, 71st Drive, and 71st Lane as well. All right next to each other. It's like that for every number. Makes you want to pitch the city planners into a vat o'boiling goo and scream in their ears with a bullhorn:

"YO! Jerky! The reason why we use cardinal numbers in the first place is cuz you will NEVER RUN OUT OF THEM! [scream like Sam Kenison]."

Note: there is no functional difference between a street, road, drive, or lane. None. Never had it. Never will. [Laugh like the 7Up guy] (But I'm sure there's some Nimrod out there who will defend the Kings' County Planning Commission; save it for someone who cares).

(2) There are sooo many Jews in Queens. When I was walking to shul in my ol' home-towns, one could find where the synagogue you were going to by playing "follow the Jew." Not so in Kew Gardens! It felt like I was in pre-war Krakow. Hundreds o'Jews going into houses, shuls, yeshivas, park benches, ... everything was turned into a shul there. Not that I'm complaining, it was kinda cool actually, but verrry verrry different from my experiences.

(3) In the bedroom I stayed in, my hosts has their collection of Intellivision cartridges. This brought back immense memories of the whole Atari Culture I grew up in. Of the three denominations, Atari, Intellivision, Coleco, I was of the orthodox Atari faith. Just thinking about it over shabbas made me realize what love and joy I have and had for my Atari 2600. I and [my other roommate](also an Atari acolyte), went through all the great games of our youth -- Warlords, Adventure, Berserk, Yar's Revenge, Superman. So, publicly, I want to thank my parents for allowing me to get an Atari (and to get all those cartridges). This should be good proof to some parents out there that yes, your kids do remember these things. [I'll wax more philosophic about Atari elsewhen].

(4) That Weird Aufrauf feeling. For all those out there unacquainted, an aufrauf is a Shabbat before the wedding that is dedicated to honor the groom and his family; it is held in the groom's home synagogue, as opposed to the wedding which is held usually in the bride's hometown. The groom's friends come in for the aufrauf, are put up in neighbors' houses, and usually eat meals in the synagogue. The weird feeling I refer to is the identity one has as the groom's friend, cuz you are oftentimes a complete stranger in the groom's shul, yet the should becomes your place of meals and you are given a special status more so than a usual guest.

Anyway, I hope the wedding goes through well. It will be in St. Louis; I may take notes.


I want people to know that in n my comments in Styxii27, in ever considered the attack on the empire state building to be considered 'terrorism' at all. Rather, I put it under a special, growing, category 'wacko with a gun' (WWAG). Even though this wacko blames the Zionists -- he's a Palestinian and they blame Zionists like wacko Americans blame the UN, it's their term for the secularized devil (why is the Medieval hairy man-goat any different from Timothy McVeigh's black helicopters?) Hamas calls Arafat a Zionist tool (when those guilty of civil disobedience are tortured by Arafat's regime, I'd bet their first thought is 'why is Arafat such a Zionist?')

It is sad, though, that I can put Ali Amu Kamal in a set category (i.e. WWAG). He is an honorary member of Disgruntleds Anonymous (have you noticed that 'disgruntled' has taken on a specific meaning -- the adjective meant to modify a formerly quiet man who kept to himself who one day turns into a mass murderer). Being disgruntled in this highly specific meaning is an American specialty -- and despite the fact that it happened recently in Devonshire & Tasmania, it is an American regularity. Maybe its the full force of Modernity in America with its seismic uncertainties that pry apart weak minds, minds that in simpler times would have been mildly unhinged are blown apart by the bombardment of media images, war, weapons, technology, buzzing like nuclear bees around our heads.

It is as if American society is saying: "Makes sense to me; Kamal was annoyed at the world so he bought a gun and started firing." It's his god given right as an American to bear arms and express his personal opinions with an unmistakable 9mm diction. In fact it should be protected by the First amendment not the second -- because what else conveys the particular message that Kamal wanted to express besides semi-automatic pistol fire?

The WWAG are people who feel that complex problems can be solved with a gun. Call 'em Gordian Knot-Heads. A gun is so glorious, so powerful, so beautiful. In our culture, the gun is turned into a symbol of the fullest expression of the power of man -- a natural extension of will, what we are born to use to set things right. No wonder a gun is called an "equalizer" (it's also called a "mohaska," at least according to Sean Connery in The Untouchables, but that doesn't help my argument much). Weak minds -- the Wackos -- a gun is a natural item to be drawn to (one can extend this to rapists as well). This leads to:


If you saw the Wednesday 2/26/97 New York Times, you know that right under the follow-up article about the Empire State killer is a story about another YC Grad (JSS) who planted a bomb in a Jacksonville, Florida synagogue in an attempted assassination of Shimon Peres. [Note about the title, I consider anyone who attempts an assassination, yet misses, is still an assassin]. The bomb didn't go off and was found 9 days later by a bunch of kids who were playing with the package during a bat mitzvah. This shows a few things:

(1) This man, Harry Shapiro, is a monster whose brain is a big ol' sack o'puppy chow.

(2) The FBI can solve a case! (Now all the FBI has to hope for is that all criminals turn themselves in on their own accord like Shapiro did). Shapiro also called 911 and warned them about the bomb, claiming he was the Islamic Jihad (which would have fooled no one in Israel cuz we all know the Islamic Jihad has no need to kill Peres).

(3) The GSS (Israel's security agency) is as bad as the FBI. How could they not find the bomb? Shows you that they protect Peres as well as they protected Rabin, eh?

In any case, even though Noam Friedman (from the recent Hebron shooting) and Baruch Goldstein are under the category of WWAG, Yigal Amir and now Harry Shapiro are not so easy to place in the wacko bin. They are more sane; stupid but sane. But maybe not -- it could just be a different style of crazy. They are best described as Extreme.

The Disgruntleds are transferring their need for anxiety relief into an act of violence. People like Friedman, a full-blown whack-a-mole delusional schizophrenic, are drawn to extreme philosophies cuz (a) wacko groups don't really mind the people they take in (b) it's hard to separate the Extreme from the Insane. Whatever the case may be, it just reinforces our need to patrol the wacky denizens of the yeshivas even more.


If anyone wants a copy of the remarks Rav Avi Weiss made at the recent conference of Orthodoxy and Feminism, I have a copy I can email out. Don't ask me for my opinions on the matter; I fear that no matter what I say on the matter I will get resoundingly schmeitzed. And we all know that discretion is the better part of valor, and cowardice is just prudence with bad PR.