Tuesday, February 2, 2010


NYLJ 4/10/07


4. When the town council meets in any sleep little old fishing village, the ordinances are as much whims of the electorate as they are meant to regulate the affairs of commerce and revenue allotment & distribution. Then, the major issue might be whether to install a parking meter outside the general store or an ordinance against dropping a pole off the intercoastal bridge during the hours when the schoolbus is making pickups and dropoffs.

However, when that sleepy little village wakes up to the fact that property values have skyrocketed since becoming the summer tourist resort for refugees of the steaming megalopolis next door, these votes can have far-reaching implications. Like First amendment conflicts.

Every time the average American see a Hari Krshna, Moonie, or Jews for Jesus pamphleteer, they have the same reaction. Something happens internally, a cringing sensation more borne of revulsion than fear, and the overwhelming desire to flee, or to put the blankest of expressions and the most speed as you walk past their desparately friendly pleas and imprecations. And Jehova’s Witnesses which—in some ways—are even worse as being so passive-aggressive. But they do have their rights.

It would be a toss up to who is more offended by them. The indigenous population, generations of Episcopalians and Methodists, god-fearing as any who would make their living off of one of the basic elements of existence, would have good cause; as if anyone had to come into their town square to tell them how to worship the almighty. Why you might as like invite Muslims and Mormons to the debate as well!

As for the transplants, those summer birds who jack up prices for five months—at the outside—and allow the natives to live off the difference for the next seven, they would be in two camps, and both equally hostile to the proselytizers. There’s the Eastern Liberal Intelligencia of The Establishment, or, as they are known by outsiders: the E.L.I.T.E. At the first sign of the approach of someone with a fixed smile and a blessing, they run as fast as they can for a decaf, double-latte and the shelter of treasured agnosticism. The others are the real Jews—those of the five boros who want a smeck of the goyim’s paradise instead of the usual mob in the mountains. The Borscht Belt might’ve been fine for their parents, but Moishe don’t surf, a Bubbe don’t blog. And sure, you got wireless in the Catskills and Poconos. And its Kosher too, you shouldn’t mind a bit. But you want to live in an emerging global economy, you got to make a break, you gotta go where the goys are….

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