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Feb 04 2014

Fuck Jerry Seinfeld, too.

My sibling Tidy is a big old Seinfeld fan. A few months ago she pestered me into watching a few episodes of his web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” In this series, Seinfeld drives a guest comedian out for coffee. It is as boring as it sounds.

Right off the bat I wasn’t feelin it on accounta the first 28 minutes or so of each episode is Jerry going off about the awesomeness of the zillion-dollar classic car he’s driving. It’s a different car every time. He babbles on and on about the gold-plated twin axlerods and the triple McSorley gasket-valve sump-plugs in his one-of-a-kind 1962 Jagoffi 1000 SUX. This makes him sound like a total asshole.

Then it’s on to the product placement. He’s shilling for a car manufacturer, apparently. Hey, check out this new Acura! That’s a damn fine sedan!

Then he drives the 1962 Jagoffi 1000 SUX over to pick up some white dude — Jay Leno or Louis CK — and they go to some restaurant and have a carefully edited extempore conversation, after noticing the awesome Acura parked right out front.

I am an advanced patriarchy blamer, so I divined pretty quick that, except for inveterate misogynist Chris Rock and fart-jokist Sarah Silverman, the guest comedians in cars getting coffee are all white dudes. All this whitedudeitude rang a bell, so I cast my mind back through the mists of time, to the popular 90s sitcom that put Seinfeld in a position to afford all those 1962 Jagoffis. Every episode, I recalled, was dripping, not just with regular misogyny, but with really mean-spirited misogyny. And the only black character was the buffoonish lawyer Jackie Chiles.

I perceived a sexist, honky-centric trend. I was not alone, it turns out. “What’s the deal with your apparent disregard for diversity, Jerry?” somebody on TV asked him yesterday. Here is how Seinfeld responded:

“People think it’s the census or something,” Seinfeld said of the assertion that all pop culture should accurately reflect society. “This has gotta represent the actual pie chart of America? Who cares? Funny is the world that I live in. You’re funny, I’m interested. You’re not funny, I’m not interested. I have no interest in gender or race or anything like that.

Seinfeld went on to say that approaching comedy through the lens of race or gender or sexuality are [sic] “anti-comedy.” “It’s more about PC nonsense than ‘Are you making us laugh or not?’” he said.”

OK, look. When rich white dude comedians “have no interest in gender or race or anything like that,” what they’re really saying is that they’re assholes. Their rich white dudeliness permits them to ignore their own participation in oppression so they can continue to cash in. Seinfeld seems to think that, in his “funny world” where jokes about dating virgins and deporting immigrants are hi-fucking-larious, race and gender are antithetical to comedy.

But he is deluded; what is actually antithetical to comedy is being a rich white dude. Only dickheads make fun of the oppressed, and when you’re wealthy and powerful, pretty much everybody is more oppressed than you are. This shrinks up the joke-butt pool pretty quick. When you’re on top of the world, who or what are you gonna make fun of without coming off as a complete tool? Will you complain about the food in first class? Will you put a bumper sticker on your Ferrari that says “My Other Car Is A Rolls”? You can always say something mean about Kim Kardashian or Honey Boo-Boo I guess; enpornulated women and hillbillies are always fair game, right?

So. Aside from Chris Rock and Sarah Silverman, apparently nobody on the planet except a lot of white guys is funny enough to sell Acuras with washed-up ham Jerry Seinfeld in a Jagoffi.

What a dick.

26 comments

1 ping

  1. tinfoil hattie

    Boly shit, how I’ve missed you. I feel like crying from relief.

  2. Ashley

    (Me too.)

    Now I had to go and watch it! Aaaah. Never get THAT ten minutes back. Thanks, Twisty! (just kidding.)

    I watched the Tina Fey episode for 5 minutes and a smidgin of the Howard Stern epi… the difference in the glazed look he gets while Tina Fey is talking about her career goals and the hysterical fake laughter when Howard Stern says he was “thinking of you last night” says it all.

    Yeah, douche lord.

  3. Frop

    Jerry “dated” a 15-year-old girl after he made it big with Seinfeld, no?

  4. radjew

    Hi Twisty, this is a great post. Seinfeld is awful and his show was never funny. Please don’t do that American liberal thing of erasing Jewishness though. Not when there are people in this country who think he and I and our families would look cozy in a gas chamber together.

  5. ew_nc

    I mentioned Seinfeld’s misogyny in a reply to a Tweet recently. You would have thought I’d pissed on old Glory. They came out of the woodwork in defense of the sainted Seinfeld, one even mentioning that, after all, he’s Jewish. What that had to do with the degree of his misogyny I don’t know.

    He will never comprehend the level of privilege he has to be able to make a statement like, “I have no interest in gender, race, or anything like that”. 99% of the world has no such luxury.

    Then there’s his penchant for much younger women. I’m going to assume he’s buddies with Woody Allen.

  6. Noel

    Dude’s vile.

    Same with Woody Allen.

    They’re all part of the same Sicko Bro Club – sociopaths, sycophants and predators, every last one.

    Overjoyed to see you writing again!

  7. Noel

    Dear Twisty:

    Should’ve thought of this before clicking ‘Blame’, apologies, but my blog is probably not something you or most of the commentariat here would be interested in reading (all kinds of warnings for nakedness, BDSM and general sex-pozzieness). Feel free to make the link go poof if you like.

    Sorry again everyone!

  8. Twisty

    Whoa, Jerry Seinfeld is Jewish?

  9. carol

    So happy to see you posting again. It’s always fun reading you. Your posts are not only spot on, they’re also really funny.

  10. Comradde PhysioProffe

    Seinfeld went on to say that approaching comedy through the lens of race or gender or sexuality are [sic] “anti-comedy.”

    Louis CK actually specializes in approaching comedy through the lens of race, gender, and sexuality. He is a bit of a brodude, but I wouldn’t lump him in with fatuous shittebagge Seinfeld.

  11. Twisty

    Louis CK actually specializes in approaching comedy through the lens of race, gender, and sexuality. He is a bit of a brodude, but I wouldn’t lump him in with fatuous shittebagge Seinfeld.

    I don’t equate the two, but I’m glad you brought up Louis CK, because that guy is a problem for me. I agree that he is the opposite of fatuous. In terms of sheer artistry, he’s orders of magnitude beyond Seinfeld. His comedy is infused with an unbearable, elegant, hideous, and honest melancholy that I find interesting and unwatchable at the same time. I liked what he said about Tig Notaro, whose now-famous breast cancer bit struck a similar note. Women in his TV series are astonishingly (for TV) fleshed-out characters played by great actors. But then there’s that segment where he’s doin his standup act, and without fail it’s some pretty harrowing, self-indulgent shit about jacking off or some other gross thing that dudes do, OR, he kills off Parker Posey OR, he kills off his fucking DOG, and I can’t hang. I get why the cognoscenti adore him, but he’s not for me. Maybe because I keep expecting him to shoot himself in the head, which is stressful.

    I mention him in this post because he’s a white dude who has coffee with Jerry Seinfeld.

  12. Twisty

    @ radjew I was flippant about Seinfeld’s Jewishness, but you’re right; I neglected to acknowledge that Jews are an oppressed class, and that anti-Semitism is alive and well in the US and abroad, and that Seinfeld is therefore not as privileged as a full-on WASP in his position would be. The degree to which this mitigates his being an asshole? Undetermined.

  13. TwissB

    @radjew It is simply that, as a Jew, Seinfeld oughta know better than to indulge in snarky comments about other oppressed classes. Except women, of course. As the only oppressed class that doesn’t include men, women are fair game for all to take a shot at. What all of these top comics and their imitators seem to have lost sight of is that there is nothing intrinsically funny about labels.

  14. womynsong

    And Seinfeld certainly ought to know better, what with all the pogroms he doubtless faced as an oppressed Jew growing up in 50s and 60s–era Long Island. Is it true that he participated in the Massapequa Ghetto Uprising?

  15. Isabel

    ” I was flippant about Seinfeld’s Jewishness, but you’re right; I neglected to acknowledge that Jews are an oppressed class, and that anti-Semitism is alive and well in the US and abroad, and that Seinfeld is therefore not as privileged as a full-on WASP in his position would be.”

    Hahahaha Jews are an oppressed classed **in the US**- by what metric? Please show some actual evidence for this- of Seinfield and Allen’s oppression specifically.

    lol, don’t ever change, Twisty!

  16. Twisty

    Are you actually suggesting that anti-Semitism doesn’t exist in the US? Are you mad? The tone of your comment is itself anti-Semitic.

    Asking me to prove that Jerry Seinfeld is oppressed is like asking me to prove that Oprah Winfrey is oppressed. Obviously they are rich enough to be able to insulate themselves from the effects of oppression. But they are both members of groups that are universally acknowledged to be targets of discrimination. Stripped of their vast wealth, they’d both be just another couple of schmoes suffering varying degrees of marginalization.

  17. Ashley

    In terms of economic oppression, Isabel has a point. Many Jews are very politically powerful and materially wealthy in the US. Their oppression here is more social- if anything I’d define it is a social insulation. Within this country, the oppression really can’t be compared in this day and age to African-American oppression. It’s different in other countries. I think in some ways this country has been a haven for them..? I mean, I’m not trying to be racist but I don’t really think I’m far off here. I know that their diaspora has suffered genocide and many many horrors than my heritage, but I kind of mentally liken their experience here to ours (the Irish)- we came here to escape something and it did get better for us. I always thought of their American story as similar- mostly because i thought THEY thought of it that way.

  18. Twisty

    After a decade of doing this blog, I have learned at least one thing: it is dangerous to make assumptions, oppressionally speaking, about minority groups of which one is not a member.

    I’m writing a post on this very topic as we speak. Stay tuned.

    Meanwhile, two things:

    1. Non-rich Jews exist.

    2. I agree that, in the US, anti-Semitism and anti-African-Americanism are not apples-to-apples comparable. However, I stand by my assertion that the fabulous wealth enjoyed by Seinfeld and Winfrey not only permits them to enjoy personal exemption from the discrimination suffered by less powerful members of their respective groups, it puts them together in an entirely different subgroup of their own: they’re 1-Percenters. This fact pretty profoundly curtails, in my opinion, their oppressed-class street cred.

  19. womynsong

    Oh man, I hope your upcoming post inspires Phyllis Chesler to drop by and explain that the entire U.S. media is virulently anti-Semitic, failure to recognize this fact in itself constitutes anti-Semitism, and Israelis are being harshly oppressed by the Palestinians. She’s actually posted here before.

  20. monika

    Thank you Twisty for your responses to the commenters lucky enough not to have to deal with antisemitism. I and many other Jewish women face a unique sexism that intersects with our Jewishness. Men and women love to tell me how I’m going to hell and that I “hide my horns” well. And apparently I deserve all of it because I dared to pursue a higher education (oh and I’m one of those mythical poor Jews). Just as an aside, a Jewish woman can still identify with her cultural background while not embracing the woman hating aspects of a patriarchal religion.

    Jerry Seinfeld is insulated from some oppression due to his wealth, but no amount of money can make the word kike hurt less. I’m more concerned with his sexism however, especially towards Jewish women.

    Oh and before the white girls here forget, Jewish women are the backbone of feminism whether you like it or not. Shulameth Firestone, anyone? I’m still waiting for Alice Walker to be called out on her disgusting comments.

  21. ThatDeborahGirl

    There was a second black guy. He was the guy that let George park cars.

    All those years, two black guys. And a couple of Indians. And a Soup Nazi. And a lot of women. I guess they fill the minority quota.

    Also, Seinfeld is on record saying “Who cares?” when it comes to issues of his shows and diversity or the lack thereof.

    I’d love to be the one to tell him exactly “Who cares.”

  22. ew_nc

    “Oh and before the white girls here forget”

    What? First of all, I’m a woman, not a girl. I’m the one who originally brought up the Jewish thing, but only in reference to someone else bringing that up to me, elsewhere, as if to say that’s a mitigating factor in his misogyny. It was not meant to be anything close to a slur, only an example of a poor defense someone gave for his general asshole-ness.

    As a Caucasian who was raised Catholic, I don’t presume to say that I can empathize with what it is like to be Jewish. But I try to keep my privilege in mind in all situations, so that I can keep it in check. However, misogyny crosses all racial and ethnic lines, and I can call out sexist creeps like Allen and Seinfeld with impunity.

    So monika, you might want to check your condescending tone a bit.

  23. monika

    Actually I was responding to Isabel’s comment more so than yours, ew_nc. Did you miss the part where I also condemned Seinfeld’s sexism and drew a parallel between the unique combination of sexism and antisemitism that Jewish women like myself face? I’m a woman too, and I’m allowed to speak about female oppression in whatever tone I choose. This really isn’t about you…

  24. Serial Cereal

    Aaaaaaand here we have a hijacked thread.

    Judaism is a religion. Semitism is a race.

    Really important grasp the difference. Ahorita. Because there are people out here who suffer on the daily from those two being purposefully switched by white supremacist paid-propagandists. About 95% of the world seems to buy that these terms are interchangeable.

    I cannot stress the damage this does enough.

    The “Sons of Abraham” oppress women. This includes Muslim dudes and Christian dudes. Even if one or two of those 3 religions are more oppressed than the other(s), they are ultimately all evil shit built on lies to keep women as chattel and worse. They are all different flavors of shit sandwich.

    Patrilinealism gives rise to racism. The ill-blame-inati cannot be allowed to pull this little switcheroo anymore. It’s throwing non-religious/secular Semitic people- especially women- under the bus.

    Jerry Seinfeld is obnoxious with all his swaggering around, facehole flapping with apparent impunity. He doesn’t care cause he doesn’t have to! Can’t stand the guy.

  25. pearlsbeforeswine

    Fuck Seinfeld. And fuck people commenting every day on my short fat body, bent nose, squinty eyes, and apparently “Barbra Streisand looks” that leads the entire world to ask me if I’m Jewish. Again, it’s a religion not a race and no matter how I look I reject that misogynist religion and the racist bigots who raised me and told me that all others than European Jews were inferior and I should marry a “rich Jew and have lots of grandkids”. When I came out as queer and genderqueer/trans my family did the Jewish death ritual pretending I was dead. Come on, blamers, Jerry Seinfeld is no victim because he is Jewish. He is a misogynist ass like my family. And please note that my mother has been anorexic for fifty years and has plastic surgery every year (and starved and emotionally abused me while worshiping my brother) while my bald fat hairy dad called me “too ugly” to “even waste money on a nose job”. My grandfather hit me when I told him it wasn’t fair that my grandma had to serve the table while my brother and dad got to sit. My brother had to say a prayer every am to thank God he wasn’t a woman while I had to thank God for his will in making me what he had to make me. I am tired of hearing how great Judaism is in comparison to Christianity and Islam. They all think we are asking for rape, demure baby havers, or helpless victims, never humans due to our biology. Fuck Seinfeld, and I hope the fifteen year old he raped back in the 1990s realizes that there is more to life than getting pronged by a funny looking misogynist pedophile whose talent has been gravely overrated. Oh, and the next misogynist gay man who says I look like Barbra Streisand because I have her “super Jew face” is getting a swift kick to his precious junk.

  26. Sabrina

    Thank you, Twisty, for calling out the antisemitic comment above. For me reading about Jerry Seinfeld I was half holding my breath waiting for it to come, the mention of his Jewishness. When Woody Allen’s name was mentioned the knot in my stomach grew tighter. For me, it was not the fact that his Jewishness was “erased,” it was that not mentioning it was like an elephant in the room. Rich famous Jews in Hollywood…so much potential for antisemitic tropes. Calling him white did not bother me in that his “identity” was erased, it made me nervous because one form of anti-semitism seems to be shoving Jews into this cliche of evil mastermind who runs the world behind the scenes, runs the media, runs the banks…in other words, embodying all the evils of the White Capitalist Patriarchy. As though Jewishness enhances the qualities of whiteness, as if it makes us The Ultimate Oppressor.

    OF COURSE these rape-y men’s actions are despicable and must be discussed and thrown into the public light, their Jewish heritage does not mitigate the damage they do to their victims obviously. And it is highly highly cringe-worthy and disgusting when people like Seinfeld (and my Aunt) somehow do not connect our own historically marginalized status with empathy for other marginalized groups in helpful ways. I’m not sure what I’m saying here besides…it’s scary to be Jewish when there are discussions happening regarding Jewish assholes? Thank you for handling it, in the comments and the more recent post, with grace and compassion. (I’d post in that comment section but it is so hate-filled…)

  1. Internet feminism hurt my feelings, but then I got up offa that thang » I Blame The Patriarchy

    [...] nudge that was strangely free of hostile scolding. A reader calmly pointed out that in a recent post — about ultra-privileged Jerry Seinfeld’s diversity tone-deafness — I had omitted to [...]

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