Monday, July 15, 2013

Editor Insists Anti-Semitic Remarks OK When It's Your Neighbors Making Them

Oy, Go Away

Jim Romenesko has an item today about how an editor at a Florida weekly raised some eyebrows when he directly quoted one official making an anti-Semitic remark at a county commissioners meeting.

During a discussion over the salary for the new head of the Franklin County road department, chair Cheryl Sanders said:

“Today’s not the day to do it,” said Sanders. “We’re her (for Nabors’ salary), not to be up here jewing over somebody’s pay. I can’t believe that you all would put a man down who has worked here for 26 years because he don’t have a high school education.”

This, according to the account written by city editor David Adlerstein of the Apalachicola & Carabelle Times. Adlerstein. As in Jew.

It wasn't that Adlerstein got the remark wrong. He had it on tape. A few readers, he told Romenesko, were startled that he used it, even though it was a direct quote of an official. But here's the part that gets me scratching. As he told Romenesko in an email:

“I have heard the expression on more than one occasion around these parts in my dozen years at the paper. It doesn’t offend me, unless it’s used to describe someone who cheats you. But haggling and dickering? To me, it’s a proud trait of my tribe, and it’s a solid cut above cold-hearted stiffing someone with a pious grin. But that’s me."

Damn right, that's you. I find Adlerstein's response, as a member of said tribe, more offensive than what Sanders uttered. It's one thing to spend 12 years editing a weekly newspaper in the Florida Panhandle, where Jews are badly outnumbered, and become inured to remarks from the idiots among the populace, elected or no. But if you're truly proud of your tribe, Dave, then you would know that "jewing" is not a verb that has entered the lexicon as a synonym for "haggling and dickering." At least, not by those who aren't anti-Semitic.

And since when was the fine art of haggling confined to Jews? Anyone who visits a bazaar in Turkey, the night markets in Hong Kong, hell, a flea market anywhere in this country knows better. Adlerstein needs to get out more.  He can use some enlightenment, along with Sanders.

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