In its quest to reach a hipper, younger audience, the Seattle Weekly (editorial motto: “Under New Management”) has started running the syndicated advice column Ask a Mexican.
When I first heard about Ask a Mexican a few months back on NPR’s On the Media, I thought it sounded like an amusing, edgy and oddly informative effort to combat racial stereotypes. But now that I’ve had the chance to read it in the Weekly… not so much.
Maybe it was just an off week. Or perhaps I just couldn’t handle the incongruity of seeing such an un-Brewsteresque column in the pages of the once venerable Weekly. But rather than combatting hateful stereotyping it just struck me as an opportunity for the questioners to luxuriate in it under the guise of enlightened sarcasm.
Writer Gustavo Arellano keeps his sense of humor as he slaps down the questions with snark, wit, and big wallop of reality. But the questions… oy. Questions like “What is it about the word ‘illegal’ that Mexicans don’t understand?” or “Why do Mexicans love public rest rooms so much?” Rather than encouraging dialog, the whole column comes off as an opportunity for sensitive liberals to have a good laugh at the expense of ignorant bigots — all the while giving the bigots a public forum.
But what do I know? The Weekly’s new publishers are successful professionals, after all. I mean… they even have focus groups.
So rather than criticize, I’m choosing to follow their lead and ride the wave of ambiguously self-hating ethnic stereotyping that surely leads to a younger, more lucrative demographic. And so I’m pleased to announce the launch of HA’s newest weekly feature: Ask a Secular Jew Who Married a Shiksa and Lives Near Two Orthodox Synagogues.
Here’s how it works. If you have a question about Jews or Judaism, and you think a secular Jew who married a shiksa and lives near two orthodox synagogues might have the answer, just ask away in the comment thread of this post. I’ll answer one or two of the most ridiculous and blatantly antisemitic questions in next week’s column.
All I ask in return is that you please show a little decorum and follow the rules. For example, I will not answer simple, Jew-baiting death threats. However, if, for example, like one anonymous email correspondent you were to ask “Why don’t you die you Christ-killing, motherfucking jewboy bastard?”… well, that would be acceptable… as long as you remember to include the question mark.
I look forward to your questions, and eventually, a lucrative syndication deal.