Sunday, September 27, 2009
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
Sundown tonight begins Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in the Jewish religion. I will not be blogging till tomorrow night as I spend this solemn 24 hour period fasting, repenting and atoning for my sins. WARNING: This is one of the rare posts in which I do not have an antitrust or larger competition spin on a a posting. Maybe one of my co-bloggers will post something on an antitrust topic.
As I think about deep issues and reflect back upon the past year, I try to explain to my daughters how we have a commitment to making the world a better place. For us, this is a biblical calling. To be sure, there are many important Jewish contributions to the world- with Nobel prize season upon us, I note that the 12 million Jews of the world have produced nearly a quarter of all Nobel Prize winners. However, I want to focus on the contribution to making the world a better place by one of my personal Jewish heroes - comedian Mel Brooks. Mel has made me laugh very hard with his 2000 Year Old Man skit, and with movies Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein and The Producers. Robin Hood Men in Tights was not funny and so I pretend it does not exist, much the way Godfather Part III and Star Wars Episodes I, II, and III do not exist. In this video clip Brooks explains why he is proud to be a Jew. I found a passage from a book in which Brooks provides us with how his Jewish heritage impacted his comedy:
Look at Jewish history. Unrelieved, lamenting would be intolerable. So, for every 10 Jews beating their breasts, God designated one to be crazy and amuse the breast-beaters. By the time I was five I knew I was that one.... You want to know where my comedy comes from? It comes from not being kissed by a girl until you're 16. It comes from the feeling that, as a Jew and as a person, you don't fit into the mainstream of American society. It comes from the realization that even though you're better and smarter, you'll never belong.
American-Jewish Filmmakers: Traditions and Trends (University of Illinois Press)
Have an easy fast and Gmar Chatima Tova.