Let me cut right to the chase: The title for this essay should really be “The Specifically Jewy Perviness of Harvey Weinstein,” which, as luck would have it, is in fact the title of a short entry by Jewish writer Max Oppenheimer in the very Jewish magazine Tablet. This Jewish writer opines that “Harvey, sadly, is a deeply Jewish kind of pervert.”
Okay, I’m good with that. It fits the facts.
What is this “perversion”? Well, Herr Oppenheimer kindly explains how it is common for Jewish men to lust after women with a “non-Jewish origin,” or, to be more specific, White non-Jewish women. As Oppenheimer writes about the targets of Weinstein’s lust, “It goes without saying that nearly every one of these women — Rose McGowan, Ambra Batillana, Laura Madden, Ashley Judd, etc. — was a Gentile, all the better to feed Weinstein’s revenge-tinged fantasy . . .”
Now what’s all this talk about revenge? And what does that have to do with non-Jewish women? To unpack all of this, I’m going to have to go back in literary history to a Jewish American writer few of my readers under age forty (or fifty?) will even know: Philip Roth.
Needless to say, Oppenheimer knows this history, which is why he employs the following subtitle to his piece: “The disgraced film producer is a character straight out of Philip Roth, playing out his revenge fantasies on the Goyim.” Before visiting what Roth has written, however, I must offer a brief description of the word “shiksa” and its manifestation in American film.
Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary (1994) defines shiksa as: n. Yiddish 1. A girl or woman who is not Jewish. 2. A Jewish girl or woman whose attitudes and behavior are felt to resemble those of a gentile. Cf. shegetz.
If only it were that simple. As it turns out, there is a far deeper, darker meaning to the term. For instance, Rabbi Daniel Gordis, in the glossary of his book Does the World Need the Jews? mentions the word’s pejorative roots: “shiksah — a Yiddish word for a non-Jewish woman, which has a terribly derogatory connotation.” Orthodox Jew Yossi Klein Halevi concurs, writing in his book Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist that shiksa is a “nasty Yiddish word implying ‘slut.'” Author David Brenner and Leo Rosten (in his popular The Joys of Yiddish) both agree that the word means “blemish.”
Perhaps it is the late Israel Shahak, however, who best explains the word’s true meaning. In his important work, Jewish History, Jewish Religion, the Weight of 3000 Years (get the pdf of the book here), Shahak notes that the Megiddo Modern Hebrew-English Dictionary, published in Israel, defines the word as: “unclean animal; loathsome creature, abomination . . .”
Now, do any of you recall the way Woody Allen pokes fun at psychoanalysts in the film Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex? It seems a man in the film is quite enamored of his sexual relationship with a sheep. Thus, there may be two levels of humor at work here: the surface level where comic discrepancy is obvious (sex with a sheep vs. shiksa), but also the intimately Jewish one where only one schooled in Hebrew or Yiddish might connect the animal to Shahak’s etymology of the word shiksa.
In fact, this likely explains the scene in the film where the psychoanalyst, played by Gene Wilder (yes, he’s Jewish) has an Armenian patient who confesses to sex with a ewe named Daisy. Watch that scene. Now, armed with the above knowledge, you may see why Wilder is about to burst out laughing. We can assume the inside Jewish word joke is part of it, but there is also the humor that likely comes from once again “pulling one over on the goyim,” who will miss the entire subtext of the (Jewish) joke — all at the expense of us goyim.
(The theme appears again in the movie in the scene featuring a rabbi “whose secret fantasy is to be whipped by a statuesque shiksa while his wife eats pork.” If you’re confused by all these images, be patient, for we’ll get to detailed explanations soon.)
Because Hollywood is certainly a Jewish milieu, scores of films are filled with shiksa themes large and small, and Woody Allen is just one Jew who mines the theme. There are many others. In the breakthrough film Lenny (1974), for example, a film starring Jewish actor Dustin Hoffman as renegade comedian Lenny Bruce (born Leonard Schneider), we see the quintessential shiksa lust scene: Bruce bursts into a room, intent on meeting his blonde girlfriend, and is stunned to see her posing naked for him. Transfixed, he quivers and intones, “Oh yeah. Oh yeah. It’s a shiksa goddess.” (By the way, Wiki tells us that “Lenny has received a rare ‘100% Fresh’ score on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes based on 16 reviews.”)
There are any number of useful books on Jews and Jewish themes in Hollywood film, beginning with Patricia Erens’ The Jew in American Cinema. As one example of the shiksa theme, she points to the 1963 film Come Blow Your Horn as a typical specimen of Jewish men’s yearning for the shiksa, or, in Erens’s words, “the Jewish male’s search for sexual fulfillment, especially among large-breasted flighty Gentile women.” In this movie, “Alan and Buddy seek a carnal experience which they associate with the Shiksa. For them this provides a measure of independence, as well as acceptance in non-Jewish society.”
The shiksa theme, then, can be viewed from a variety of angles. Within an exclusively Jewish setting, it can be seen as a discourse on the limits Jewish culture sets for its adherents: it is taboo for males to go outside the group for sex or for mating. Perhaps no one has understood the deep roots of this discourse and their lamentable influence on American culture better than sociologist John Murray Cuddihy, author of the seminal 1974 work The Ordeal of Civility: Freud, Marx, Lévi-Strauss and the Jewish Struggle with Modernity, a book I would only recommend to the most serious scholars of The Jewish Question.
In tandem with what Erens writes, Cuddihy agrees that shiksa lust represents an internal Jewish drama: the lure of the non-Jewish women is always threatening to tear the Jewish male away from his own tribe. Cuddihy, however, takes this further, writing that
In Freud, the deepest taboo of Judaism, the taboo against intermarriage, the forbidden lust of the Jew for the Gentile shiksa, for the shiksa as “the promise of fulfillment,” is rationalized, psychologized, and reinterpreted as the desire for the mother, which desire” he continues, “is held taboo by everyone, of course, not just by Jews.” The particularist, ritual taboo of the Jewish subculture — intermarriage, connubium — is reconceptualized (and psychologized) as the universalist, “scientific,” anthropological taboo on incest.”
Of course, since Freud’s ideas had their popular impact during “The Jewish Century,” his bizarre theories were imposed on an unwitting American public, which suffered for decades from this Jewish assault. (For more on this, see MacDonald’s Culture of Critique, Chapter 4, “Jewish Involvement In The Psychoanalytic Movement.”) Our point, here, however, is to introduce the theme of the shiksa to a wider Gentile public and to tie it into the current uproar over Harvey Weinstein’s case. And that finally leads us to that most Jewish of authors, Philip Roth.
That “Informer to the Goyim,” Philip Roth
Roth began writing in the midst of what we can think of as the “Jewish American literary onslaught,” as Jews practically took over publishing fiction in America, and Jewish authors shouldered aside non-Jewish writers. Any English student at an American university from 1970–2000 or so would be familiar with the names: Abraham Cahan, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Joseph Brodsky, Henry Roth, Bernard Malamud, Chaim Potok, Saul Bellow, E.L. Doctorow, J.D. Salinger (half), Norman Mailer, Susan Sontag (“Goys are the cancer of human history”), Erika Jong, Cynthia Ozick and so many others.
Roth came to the fore with the publication of his 1959 novel Goodbye, Columbus, an autobiographically humorous look at Jewish life in the greater New York area. It was with Portnoy’s Complaint, however, written a decade later, that Roth gained stardom. In synch with the times, this novel shocked the elders of that era, including many older Jews, for Roth was explicitly revealing to the goyim many of the negative traits commonly found among American Jews. He was also revealing many of the negative attitudes Jews held with respect to their goy countrymen, an offense which prompted John Cuddihy to label Roth an “informer to the goyim.”
Portnoy’s Complaint is, in so many ways, the story of Roth himself, a tactic which became his trademark. Wiki notes that the book amounts to a “humorous and sexually explicit psychoanalytical monologue of ‘a lust-ridden, mother-addicted young Jewish bachelor,’ filled with ‘intimate, shameful detail, and coarse, abusive language.’” And that it is.
For example — and central to our purposes in this essay — protagonist Alexander Portnoy chronicles his sexual escapades with his shiksa sex object, whom he cruelly nicknames “The Monkey.” Throughout the novel, Roth describes how Portnoy humiliates this Christian girl with all manner of explicit sexual acts. Roth’s characterization of Portnoy’s vicious contempt for “The Monkey” represents perfectly the easily established hostility American Jews hold for the Christian majority.
Consider this long passage Roth wrote that describes the depth of longing for a non-Jewish girl. At this point in the story, it is not particularly hostile, but it does give us a stunningly frank insider description of Jewish male attitudes:
Shikses! In winter, when the polio germs are hibernating and I can bank upon surviving outside of an iron lung until the end of the school year, I ice-skate on the lake in Irvington Park. . . . I skate round and round in circles behind the shikses who live in Irvington. . . But the shikses, ah, the shikses are something else again. Between the smell of damp sawdust and wet wool in the overheated boathouse, and the sight of their fresh cold blond hair spilling out of their kerchiefs and caps, I am ecstatic. Amidst these flushed and giggling girls, I lace up my skates with weak, trembling fingers, and then out into the cold and after them I move, down the wooden gangplank on my toes and off onto the ice behind a fluttering covey of them — a nosegay of shikses, a garland of gentile girls. I am so awed that I am in a state of desire beyond a hard-on. My circumcised little dong is simply shriveled up with veneration. . . . How do they get so gorgeous, so healthy, so blond? My contempt for what they believe in is more than neutralized by my adoration of the way they look, the way they move and laugh and speak — the lives they must lead behind those goyische curtains! Maybe a pride of shikses is more like it . . .
So: dusk on the frozen lake of a city park, skating behind the puffy red earmuffs and the fluttering yellow ringlet of a strange shikse teaches me the meaning of the word longing. It is almost more than an angry thirteen-year-old little Jewish Momma’s Boy can bear. Forgive the luxuriating, but these are probably the most poignant hours of my life I’m talking about — I learn the meaning of the word longing, I learn the meaning of the word pang. There go the darling things dashing up the embankment, clattering along the shoveled walk between the evergreens . . . I want Jane Powell too, God damn it! And Corliss and Veronica. I too want to be the boyfriend of Debbie Reynolds — it’s the Eddie Fisher in me coming out, that’s all, the longing in all us swarthy Jewboys for those bland blond exotics called shikses . . .
In a later scene, however, the brilliant Portnoy, having just recited a famous poem, reveals to his blonde lover (“The Monkey”) the name of the poet — William Butler Yeats — but immediately realizes “how tactless I had been, with what insensitivity I had drawn attention to the chasm: I am smart and you are dumb . . .” Later, Portnoy happens upon a note she has written and responds: “I am just face to face with my first specimen of The Monkey’s handwriting. A note to the cleaning lady. Though at first glance I imagine it must be a note from the cleaning lady . . .”
dir willa polish the flor by bathrum pleze & dont furget the insies of windose mary jane r
Portnoy reads the note three times, finding new meaning with each reading, the most significant of which he describes:
Oh that z, that z between the two e’s of “pleze” — this is a mind with the depths of a movie marquee! And “furget”! Exactly how a prostitute would misspell that word! But it’s something about the mangling of “dear,” that tender syllable of affection now collapsed into three lower-case letters, that strikes me as hopelessly pathetic. . . . This woman is ineducable and beyond reclamation.
Despite this contempt — or perhaps because of it — Portnoy continues his sexual relationship with his shiksa, “The Monkey.”
Was this at all motivated by revenge fantasies, though? In fact, it becomes easy to argue that it is because Roth himself tells us so. In passages related to the Quiz Show scandal of the 50s, the author inserts a scene into the book that portrays a naked, viscerally anti-goy animus:
I was on the staff of the House subcommittee investigating the television scandals. . . . and then of course that extra bonus, Charlatan Van Doren. Such character, such brains and breeding, that candor and schoolboyish charm — the ur-WASP, wouldn’t you say? And turns out he’s a fake. Well, what do you know about that, Gentile America? Supergoy, a gonif! Steals money. Covets money. Wants money, will do anything for it. Goodness gracious me, almost as bad as Jews — you sanctimonious WASPs!
Yes, I was one happy yiddel down there in Washington, a little Stern gang of my own, busily exploding Charlie’s honor and integrity, while simultaneously becoming lover to that aristocratic Yankee beauty whose forebears arrived on these shores in the seventeenth century. Phenomenon known as Hating Your Goy and Eating One Too.
Did you get that last line? “Hating Your Goy and Eating One Too.” Harvey Weinstein, is that how you also felt? Is that why Max Oppenheimer writes, “The disgraced film producer [Weinstein] is a character straight out of Philip Roth, playing out his revenge fantasies on the Goyim”?
If you are still not convinced Roth’s character Portnoy is filled with revenge fantasies, then consider Portnoy’s telling confession to his psychiatrist in another scene. “What I’m saying, Doctor, is that I don’t seem to stick my dick up these girls, as much as I stick it up their backgrounds — as though through fucking I will discover America. Conquer American — maybe that’s more like it.”
Quite frankly, I think readers should copy these quotes and share them with any friends or family willing to listen. Then talk about the Weinstein article. Show them Max Oppenheimer’s piece, too. Try to explain this Jewish mentality to them. Though you need not necessarily mention it explicitly, try to get across the message that Jews constitute much of the elite in this country — and many of those Jews are hostile toward the people they rule — hostile toward us. This goes a long way toward explaining our current situation, I maintain.
This theme of Jewish men lusting after and abusing shiksas is in the news now but it deserves attention on its own anyway. Thus, I plan to do two or three more essays in this series to further explore the topic. For instance, I’ll take an in-depth look at how Dustin Hoffman often plays a character with a shiksa love interest, beginning with that blatantly Jewish film The Graduate. I will also look at Ben Stiller films as well, then possibly move on to examples from television.
This is the kind of stuff we should be learning in graduate seminars, but instead most students are learning harmful nonsense about “White male privilege,” tranny rights, and the sorrows of Sitting Bull and such. Nothing about Jewish power and privilege, let alone the deeper attitudes Jews hold toward the vast non-Jewish world they rule over.
PS: I can’t help but add one peeve I have had ever since reading “Portnoy’s Complaint” years ago: Why didn’t the objects of Roth’s scorn rise up and crush the assailant? Why did those Baby Boomers think the whole thing was just one fine joke? “Oh, how clever!” they would say. “Oh, how naughty!” Those Boomers back then should have known that this literary assault was part and parcel of the Jewish assault on all parts of Western civilization. Now we who have inherited this fallen world must deal with the consequences, with the Harvey Weinsteins and their ilk. Thanks, Boomers.