Sunday, June 14, 2009

Loud Pushy Author, Deal With It!

I have a t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase

It was a gift from my friend Kent's boyfriend.  I think he meant it as an insult.  But screw him. Because I love that shirt.  

When I used to wear it in LA, people would go wild.  I'd get compliments on it constantly.  I remember the time when a woman stopped me on the street and tried to buy it from me to send to her daughter.  Or the evening the guy behind the counter at the frozen yogurt store loudly announced when my turn came, Can I help the next loud, pushy Jew, please?

Actually, when you work at a dessert-selling establishment on the border of Beverly Hills, there is pretty much always another loud pushy Jew waiting to be served.

In Portland, alas, people plotz when I wear the shirt.  And the worst part is, they don't even know what plotz means.

There are so few Jews here, merely identifying someone as Jewish is presumed to be an act of anti-Semitism.  Even if you are the Jew you're identifying as a Jew.

Actually, just the word Jew itself freaks people out.  They seem to think it is a slur.  So in case anyone of you reserved goyim are still confused about this, let me set you straight:

The word Jew is perfectly fine WHEN USED AS A NOUN.  

When used as a verb, no.  Under no circumstances should you EVER say Jew someone down. Unless of course you want to be anti-Semitic, in which case, go right ahead.  But trust me, you'll pay for such prejudice.  

And I do mean pay retail.

Also not so kosher is using Jew as an adjective.  As in Jew lawyer or Jew neighborhood. Let something like that slip out, and chances are, you are going to offend.  Maybe not every time, but play it safe. Go with attorney of the Hebraic persuasion, or geographical enclave of the former Israelites, and you'll probably be better off. 

I guess it is confusing when a perfectly legitimate, non-derogatory word gets dragged down just because some people use it as a slur.  I once spent a whole summer working with high school students, trying to get them not to use the word "gay" as pejorative, as in that shirt is so gay or that song is so gay.

Years later, I moved to West Hollywood, and let me tell you, it is a city packed full of men in gay shirts blasting gay songs.  

They are, in the words of a certain Jew author, quite regularly gay there.

West Hollywood, that is so gay.  

Not to be confused with San that is so gay by the Bay Francisco.  

Or Vancouver  that is so gay, ay? British Columbia.

Every place I have lived since graduating from college is so gay.   Including, of course, lesbiriffic Portland.  

Today, my squeeze the Cheez and I spotted the same two sensibly-shod women biking together three different times across southeast Portland, with a canvas Pride Festival tote bag dangling proudly from one set of handlebars.  During the final sighting, Cheez overheard the women speaking to each other in what you know I cannot help but describe as a foreign tongue.  

They're German, he said.  That explains their (lack of) fashion sense.

Oh I said.  I thought they were just lesbian business casual.  

Those German lesbians are so gay.  

But what is even gayer than German lesbians (aka dykes auf bikes), or a WeHo gym bunny in a metallic shirt gyrating down Santa Monica Boulevard to the extended dance remix of I Will Survive?

Well, according to the Oregonian:  me!  To be fair, they actually meant me and the rest of the contributors to the new Portland Queer anthology.   But I'm a loud pushy Jew, why shouldn't I elbow (glove) my way to the head of the line, just like it was the fro yo of homo?  

Anyway, if you want to know more, I'll be reading my piece not one, not twice, but thrice (that amount is so gay) in the coming weeks:

Reading Frenzy – 921 SW Oak St, Portland – Tuesday June 16, 7 p.m. 

Powell’s City of Books on Burnside – Downtown Portland – Tuesday, June 30, 7:30 p.m. 

Q Literati! – Q Center – 69 SE Taylor,  Portland – Wednesday, July 8, 7 p.m.

I promise, if you come to any or all of the readings, you'll be entertained.  And I guarantee that once you hear my piece, you will surely proclaim, that is so Jew.  


bono said...

hey, since there's no way i could come see you read, could you send me the piece? please?

Rossi in Rotterdam said...

hey, since there's no way i could come see you read, could you please send me the piece too?

Macaroni said...

Yes! See for all the delishness.