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Joan Holloway’s Tushy is Jewish

Monday, August 09, 2010| Permalink

Rachel Shukert is the author of the memoir Everything Is Going To Be Great. She will be blogging all this week for the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning‘s Visiting Scribe.

Hello! My name is Rachel Shukert. You may remember me from summer camp, where I faked a recurring nut allergy in order to spend most of my time watching Days of Our Lives in the air-conditioned infirmary, but I’m also the author of Everything Is Going To Be Great, my brand-new memoir of the two mostly disastrous years I spent after college living in Europe and disappointing my parents.

This is my very first post for the Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning blog, and it would probably be a good idea to talk about my book and why I wrote it and what I’m doing for it and why you should buy it. I’ll do that later. Right now, like every other person in New York City, I only really want to talk about Mad Men. But I’m going to do it in the style of a leading comic light contemporary to its early 60’s milieu. For those of you who don’t watch the show, perhaps this will serve as a valuable primer.

For those of you who watch the show but don’t know Lenny Bruce, mazel tov on your high school graduation and look him up. For those of you who are familiar with neither Mad Men nor Lenny Bruce, I don’t know what to say to you. I guess check back tomorrow when I promise to write about my book and/or my feelings.

Here we go!

Dig: I’m Jewish, Don Draper’s Jewish, Pete Campbell is Jewish, Roger Sterling is goyish.

Betty Draper is very goyish. Trudy Campbell, Jewish. Matthew Weiner’s characterization of Betty Draper as an emotionally withholding shiksa goddess trophy wife for a man trying to subsume their his true identity behind a fake name and crumbling façade of masculinity? Very, very Jewish.

Gin is goyish. Rye is goyish, even if the Bronfmans distribute it. Hangovers are Jewish, as is marijuana. Creative is Jewish, Account Services is goyish. Plaid pants are goyish, but the plaid wallpaper in the Drapers’ kitchen is mysteriously Jewish.

Everyone at the old Sterling Cooper is goyish, especially Ken Cosgrove, who’s so goyish he’s practically a swastika. The new Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is also goyish, but it’s trying to be Jewish. It’s like a giant conversion class. The buyout by the British was goyish but the episode where the guy got his foot run over by the giant lawn mower was the most Jewish thing to happen on television since Seinfeld went off the air.

Joan Holloway’s tushy is Jewish, very Jewish. Her air of unruffled competence is goyish. Adultery is goyish, but all of Don’s mistresses, with the possible exception of the dippy schoolteacher have been Jewish. Betty’s friend Francine may be casually anti-Semitic, but she is very, very Jewish. Remember what she said about all the Jews she saw on her vacation to Ft. Lauderdale? Switch things up a little and it could have been your Aunt Doris talking about the trip the B’nai Brith Senior Group took to Branson, MO last summer. “We were outnumbered. It was uncomfortable.”

Rachel Shukert’s new book Everything Is Going To Be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour is now available. Come back all week to read more.

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