Just after Rosh Hashanah, during the second republican presidential debate, political pundit, commentator, writer and speaker Ann Coulter tweeted: How many f***ing Jews do these people think there are in the United States? Immediately, countless Americans jumped all over her for her remark. Faster than you could say Sholem Aleichem, innumerable citizens branded Ms. Coulter an anti-Semite for her thoughtless and in all likelihood hurtful comment.
Personally, I have no opinion whatsoever regarding Ms. Coulter’s attitude towards Jews. Maybe she is an anti-Semite; maybe she isn’t an anti-Semite. I do however have strong feelings about the following:
Former first lady, former secretary of state and current presidential aspirant Mrs. Clinton is known to have hurled the following invective against Paul Fray: You f***ing Jew bastard after Mr. Clinton lost his first bid for elective office. Mr. Clinton ran for Congress in Arkansas’ Third Congressional district. Mrs. Clinton placed the blame for the loss squarely on Mr. Fray’s shoulders. For the record, Paul Fray is not Jewish. Should Mrs. Clinton’s remark have caused the same reaction as Ms. Coulter’s? Should Ms. Clinton’s invective be used against her by Jews or others who wish to put a kibosh on Mrs. Clinton’s current political aspirations? Most important of all, other than prescribing a soap and water oral rinse for the one who spews such vituperative, should the term f***ing Jew be automatically interpreted as an ant-Semitic slur?
Those in political office in this country, including those in the Oval Office and elsewhere have not only said things about Jews that are hurtful, but have dropped the “F bomb” when speaking about Jews as well. Yet, these very same officials, from presidents on down have proven to be good friends to the Jews here in the United States, as well as staunch supporters of Israel. Does this white wash their locker room language concerning Jews? Absolutely not! But perhaps, it’s high time for us Jews to judge individuals by what they do, rather than what stupidly say or tweet behind closed doors.
I am no linguist. I do know however that the Yiddish language is never at a loss when it comes to juicy or naughty words or expressions. Among these words and expressions is the ever so appropriate, yet at the same time inappropriate term farkakteh or crappy. Many a time, has an exasperated store owner directed his employee to tell a customer who is impossible to please: Tell her to take her farkakteh money and shop elsewhere. I must confess that as a child, any time I or my sisters came down with the sniffles, my father of blessed memory would implore us to “get rid of that farkakteh cold”. Feel free to disagree, but I for one cannot help but feel that the current usage of f***ing (not that I in any way condone it) is little different than at all than the Yiddish term farkakteh. Put differently, if just about every presidential candidate kept on stressing the need for a strong Norway, and a political pundit, commentator, writer and speaker with a working knowledge of Yiddish commented or tweeted: How many farkakteh Norwegians do these people think there are in these United States, would that make the individual an anti-Norwegian?
It would be wonderful to live in a society where gosh, golly, dang, and doggone were the only invectives that were ever used both in camera as well as on the street. Until that happens, perhaps some elected official or pubic figure with tremendous mass appeal, can wean us off using the term f***ing by replacing it with the word, confounded. Heck, I’ll even settle for farkakteh!