The Week In Review
MONDAY, DECEMBER 11 This week of Biblical weather, satanic summits, and an otherwise-uninterrupted slew of Jew-centric news kicks off today with Menorahgate, the stunningly klutzy reasonable-request-turned-media-firestorm that threatened to metaphorically devour Seattle early this week until an ass-kicking windstorm threatened to literally devour Seattle later this week. The brouhaha began with the aforementioned reasonable request from one Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky of the organization Chabad Lubavitch, which offered to provide an eight-foot electric menorah for inclusion among Sea-Tac International Airport's display of Christmas trees.
Never mind the iffiness of positing the relatively minor Jewish festival Hanukkah as a parallel to the humongo-major Christian festival Christmas, or of using an eight-foot electric anything to signify the spiritual; the rabbi's request was certainly worthy of at least a response. But when December rolled around without any sort of acknowledgement from the airport-controlling Port of Seattle, Rabbi Bogomilsky kicked his campaign into high gear, threatening a federal lawsuit if the Sea-Tac Christmas trees weren't immediately joined by a menorah. Port officials responded to the rabbi's drama queenery in kind, immediately yanking down all of the airport's Christmas trees and instigating a media shitstorm that coated everyone and everything involved with stinky brown flecks, and made many of us never want to see the words "Christmas," "menorah," and "airport" in the same sentence ever again. Today the ruckus came to something of a close, as a rightfully exasperated Rabbi Bogomilsky rescinded his threat of legal action (he only wanted to add a menorah, not banish everything), a weaselly Port of Seattle returned the trees to the airport, and in the great Christmas tradition, everyone was left disappointed and annoyed. Now let's never speak of this again.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12 Speaking of annoyance and disappointment, today those two mildly upsetting emotions were upgraded to nausea and sorrow thanks to the international conference questioning the existence of the Holocaust that wrapped up today in Iran. Among the highlights cited by the Associated Press were closing-day speeches by Hezbollah cofounder Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, who told the gathering of 67 "researchers" that "there is no reason to believe that the Holocaust ever occurred," and former KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke, who characterized the nonexistent Holocaust as "a weapon to deny the rights of the Palestinians and cover up the crimes of Israel." Most interesting attendees: members of Jews United Against Zionism, a fringe group that dons ultra-Orthodox duds while denouncing the use of the Holocaust to justify the founding of the state of Israel, whose creation the fringe group sees as a violation of Jewish law. Nevertheless, the real story is the hurricane of condemnation that clobbered the government-sanctioned conference from all sides, including the U.S., where the White House eloquently blasted the gathering as "an affront to the entire civilized world as well as to the traditional Iranian values of tolerance and respect." Last Days recalls fondly the not-too-distant past, when even the mention of Holocaust denial was considered too disgusting for any respectable media outlet, and looks forward to the future, when those who strive to deny the Holocaust are pitched into Hell and forced to eat pus-filled knishes while watching Shoah for all eternity. (Which means twice.)
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13 Nothing Jewish happened today, unless you count news reports on the $1.1 million worth of cocaine that washed up yesterday on a pair of beaches in Florida, home to the United States' second-highest Jewish population. As for the cellophane-wrapped and abandoned coke: Florida authorities found 27 kilos on a beach in Floridana, and 37 more kilos on a beach in Hollywood, and confirmed such stashes are typically dumped off boats being chased by the Coast Guard.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14 The week continues with a Northwest storm straight out of the beloved-by-Jews Old Testament. Boasting 70-miles-per-hour wind gusts and dumping an inch of rain within one hour, the history-making storm caused landslides, sinkholes, sewage backups, extensive flooding, long-standing power outages, and eight tragic deaths. Minuscule ray of hope: As of press time, no alleged religious leaders have attempted to blame the killer storm on Jews, gays, feminists, or any other group with limited weather-controlling powers.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15 For centuries, Judaism has celebrated circumcision not just as light surgery but as a religious ceremony that fulfills the holy covenant of Abraham and blesses the child as he is "introduced to the study of Torah, to the wedding canopy, and to good deeds." But thanks to the findings of the National Institutes of Health, circumcision may soon make the leap from superstitious appeasement of a foreskin-hungry G-d to a legitimate tool in the fight against AIDS. Details come from the New York Times, which cites the NIH's claim that circumcising African men may cut their risk of catching AIDS in half. "Researchers have long noted that parts of Africa where circumcision is common—particularly in the Muslim countries of West Africa—have much lower AIDS rates," reports the NYT's Donald McNeil Jr. "But it was unclear whether other factors, such as religion or polygamy, played important roles." Lucky for all, the NIH's recent trials cleared things up considerably, with preliminary results suggesting circumcision cuts a man's risk of HIV infection in half. ("Uncircumcised men are thought to be more susceptible to AIDS because the underside of the foreskin is rich in Langerhans' cells, which attach easily to the virus," reports the NYT. "The foreskin may also suffer small tears during intercourse, making it more susceptible to infection.") Faced with the findings, the NIH's Data Safety and Monitoring Board halted its studies of circumcised and uncircumcised African men, claiming "it would be unethical not to offer [circumcision] to uncircumcised men in the trials." Even better, the new findings have proven impressive enough to sway those in control of several major sources of AIDS funding, who'd previously refused to bankroll circumcision efforts due to lack of hard evidence. Congratulations to the NIH researchers and their lucky study subjects, and the countdown to the arrival of the first politely angry letter from an American anticircumcision activist begins... now.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16 Nothing happened today, unless you count the 36th anniversary of the "Leningrad Trial," wherein 10 Russian Jews were accused of trying to hijack a Soviet plane to immigrate to Israel.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17 Nothing happened today.
Dear everybody: On Thursday, January 4, at the Triple Door, I'll be hosting one of my semiannual annotated Showgirls spectaculars, this one thrown in honor of the child-advocacy heroes at Washington State CASA, whose mission you can read about at www.washingtonstatecasa.org. As for the sketchiness of raising money and awareness for needy kids by screening one of the most offensive movies ever made: Yeah, it's weird, but the postmodern, often childless freaks who flock to things like Showgirls make dynamite volunteers for CASA. For tickets, call 838-4333. (Send Hot Tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.)