Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Don't bother me I'm working

Had a very Woody Allen-like email exchange last week with fellow blogger/copywriter/kvetcher George Tannenbaum. I wanted to know if he had been watching The Pitch, AMC's new advertising show. In his inimitable way, George wrote back, "I don't watch TV. It would cut into the amount of time I obsess about the Holocaust."

His answer was flip.
But then again, it wasn't.

Like George, I find myself still angsting about the Shoah. I have the History Channel, or as my daughters call it The Hitler Channel, on speed dial. I am intimately familiar with the rise and the fall of the Third Reich (I like the fall better). And I tend to gobble up any books or articles written about that awful time, when one out of every three Jews was murdered. The story of the 6 million must have been told 6 billion times.

To venture into this territory is to risk being repetitive, dull and uninteresting.
Of course, that has never stopped me before.

So let's take a look at the sign that every Auschwitz victim saw before entering the death camp. It reads Arbeit Macht Frei ,which translates to Work Makes You Free.

The sign was hung in irony, by Nazis who were mocking those on their way to the gas chambers and the ovens. But it does more. I believe that Germans saw in Jews that which they lacked in themselves, an indomitable spirit. That is why we became the target of their hate.

In the post-depression, post-World War One era, Germans were suffering through difficult economic times. But Jews were succeeding. In science, in academics, in finance, in art and in literature.

Why? Work.

Long before there was a Protestant Work ethic or an American Work ethic, there was a Jewish one.

My substantiation for this is all anecdotal. But it is also self-evident.

How is it that a people who represent .2% of the world's population account for 22% of the Nobel Prize Winners? How is it that people who prior to 1948 had no country, no home and no will to fight, now find themselves as a prosperous, self-sufficient nation at the cutting edge of technology? And why is it that many gentile parents will tell their daughters to settle down with a nice Jewish boy?

The answer is straightforward and simple. It has nothing to do clannishness. Or some secret plot to dominate the world. Or even an some old-timey biblical pact with the devil. Those canards are just canards.

We Jews simply work hard. Harder than others it appears.

Look at three of the most arguably influential men in civilization: Albert Einstein, Karl Marx and Jesus Christ. All of Jewish lineage. One slaved tirelessly to answer the riddles of our universe. One rewrote politics and created, albeit misguided, a new system for sharing resources. And another convinced billions of people to treat others the way they would like to be treated. Though many of his followers could use a refresher course.

Our propensity for hard work is why the Nazis, the Cossacks, the Inquisitors, the Mohammedans, the Romans and countless others wanted to kill us.

It is also why they have failed.

So if you see an unusually wealthy or successful Member of the Tribe, don't hate them because they're Jewish, hate them because they work hard.

That's enough ranting about anti-semitism, the Holocaust and our alleged super-industriousness. At least for today. If you have an upcoming project and need a hard working copywriter, I invite you look at my credentials, here.

1 comment:

geo said...

Thanks, Rich. I think.