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It’s All in the Lingo

"The real way to combat your privilege is by apologizing for it in every possible context"


A guide to political discourse in 2021

So you want to join the conversation, impress others as politically aware, be a modern-day Renaissance man— er, we mean, person who respectfully admires but does not appropriate or attempt to imitate other cultures? Look no further than this guide to impressing others with your shallow pseudointellectualism, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum.

Sorry for Woking You Up

Want to look woke? It’s all about the apologies — recognize that whoever you’ve become, whatever you’ve achieved, it’s all due to your privilege. The house you bought? Privilege. The job you have? Privilege. The shalach manos with matching themed costume? I have never heard of anything so privileged in my life.

Luckily, there’s an easy way out of this — donate substantial percentages of your income to charities servicing underprivileged populations. HAHAHA. We kid. The real way to combat your privilege is by apologizing for it in every possible context.

“Hey, dude, I really wish I could volunteer at your soup kitchen, but I’ll be off in Bora Bora next week. I fully realize that I’m only able to do this because of my in-laws’ oppression of indigenous peoples, though. Sorry about that.”

Add in an apology, top it with a pair of blue light thick-framed glasses (sustainably made, of course — or just ordered from Warby Parker) and you’re good! Don’t forget to read up on climate change while you’re on that jet!

On Trial

Whichever party you affiliate with, there’s no denying that Trump’s impeachment represents a pivotal moment in American history. Political pundits from both sides of the spectrum agree that the trial — on its surface an attempt to examine the ethical limits of a president’s moral culpability — was in reality exploring the original intent of our founding fathers and their ex post facto perspective on Twitter vis-à-vis the First Amendment, constitutional doctrine and its prima facie prospective limits as a quid pro pro for [NOTE TO EDITORS: PLEASE INSERT LEGAL WORDS HERE] and the unavoidable friction that results when the right to a speedy trial of a protected class collides with said class’s interest in distracting and delaying.

A Blizzard of Triggers

Sick of those pathetic, spineless snowflakes taking over American culture? Prove that you’re the sort of hardworking, honest patriot our forefathers had in mind when they were admitting cherry-tree-chopping culpability and drafting the Bill of Rights… that’s right, tweet about a college kid half your age. Because nothing says “pulled myself up by my bootstraps Puritan work ethic” like taking someone else down with an easy insult… all from the comfort of your couch. She thinks she’s triggered now? Wait till she sees what I bought with my Second Amendment rights!

About Face

What is whataboutism? What about it? Like an eleventh-hour Trump pardon, whataboutism is the liberal’s Get Out of Jail Free card. Whether an opponent pinpoints a potential pitfall in your party’s platform, you’re asked to justify a judiciary appointment, or an old tweet casts a new and unflattering light on your political hero, shouting “Whataboutism!” as you point an accusatory finger at your challenger is the answer. Make sure to stuff those AirPods in real good as you make your hurried escape — whataboutism does not allow for hearing any response.

Common Ground

This thinkpiece has clearly only scratched the surface of the many intricacies of today’s complex political system. But that’s okay: in an era of Twitter threads, 600 words is basically a legal tome.

And besides, no matter which party you affiliate with, whether you see the impeachment trial as the last defense of a beleaguered republic or a bullying kick at a poor defenseless billionaire when he’s down and robbed of his ability to protect the electoral process by calling his political opponents names on Twitter, after the long, harrowing year of 2020 — which saw a nation torn asunder and tested like never before — pundits from both side of the aisle can lay down their differences and find one point of agreement to unite a nation: The other side is a bunch of lying, opportunistic, hypocritical morons.
—Bracha Stein

In Adar News

US-China conflict averted by groundbreaking Dikduk scoop

After Chinese leadership took offense at a perceived President Biden slight and raised the specter of conflict in the Pacific, Mishpacha’s forensic analysis succeeded in clarifying the misunderstanding that threatened world peace.

The saga began last week at a town hall, where the president’s performance left parts of the secular Jewish press kvelling at his expertise in Yiddish.

Responding to an offer from a Jewish languages professor in the audience to learn some academic mamma loshen, Biden declared, “I actually know some Yiddish.”

To which CNN host Anderson Cooper added, “It would be a shanda if you didn’t.”

But later in the same event, Biden raised eyebrows with this comment on China’s leader, President Xi (pronounced “she”):

“When I came back from meeting with him [China’s President Xi] and traveling 17,000 miles with him when I was vice president and he was the vice president — that’s how I got to know him so well, at the request of President Hu — not a joke — his predecessor.”

Already angered by Biden’s tough tone on Taiwan and Hong Kong, the Chinese leadership reacted furiously to the seeming slight to former-President Hu’s dignity.

Like Henry Kissinger’s late-night intervention with the Soviet leadership during the Yom Kippur War while President Nixon slept, a senior Mishpacha correspondent averted a crisis even before it had been reported.

In a quick call to the Pentagon, the correspondent noted what was obvious to any cheider yingel: “Hu” in Lashon Hakodesh is “he,” and “he” is “She.”

The message was quickly conveyed to apparatchiks in the People’s Republic that far from focusing on Yiddish, President Biden has been dedicating serious time to learning dikduk and the Megillah.

Which explains why, so close to Purim, Biden’s v’nahafoch hu turned President Hu to President Xi.

—Gedalia Guttentag


Frum Media Watch

Months after Israel-Gulf Arab peace broke out, the Abraham Accords are starting to remake not just geopolitics, but frum life itself.

Most obviously that’s with the recent launch of the Beth Din of Arabia (tip: to qualify as a dayan, it helps to know Moreh Nevuchim in the original Arabic), plus the scramble of kashrus organizations to certify local hotels.

But the peace deal has even affected frum media: it’s seemingly a law of the fifth Shulchan Aruch that no week should go by without a picture of a chassid posing next to a jalabiya-suited native — or preferably wearing one himself.

And it’s not one-way traffic either: the Economist quoted an Emirati official that “it’s almost like everything Judaism became trendy.”

The only thing left for media-watchers to report on is whether Gulf newspapers have tired of sending Arab reporters to pose in a shtreimel in Boro Park.



(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 850)

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