My Horribly Embarrassing Memo

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On Monday, Avi Steinberg wrote about Kafka in Tel Aviv. His first book, Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian, was just released.


Editor’s note
: The following post utilizes what your grandmother would call “sarcasm.”

It certainly has been a monumental few weeks in the history of humiliation. With the help of Wikileaks, we’re learning so many new things about our friends and neighbors. Who knew CNN’s Anderson Cooper dyed his hair white? Actually, to be honest, I had suspicions. All the signs were there. But still, there’s something startling about hearing him admit, and so bluntly, that he also uses a mirror to practice that signature move of his, the purposeful sidelong squint — and all of this preening just so he can look more like “serious newsman.” Anderson, you’re boyishly handsome. Just own it, babe.

But I don’t judge. I’ve got my own Wikileak grief. I present the following Wikileaked document, which involves, well, me. It catches me saying some things that I’m frankly not too proud of. Since it’s going to be circulating out there anyway, especially among Hasidic bloggers, I figure you might as well hear it from me first. It’s a memo from me to my book’s publicist. Oy, so embarrassing. Here it goes…

INTERNAL MEMO

Hey Gretchen!

Whazzzup. I write to you with a marketing concern. What can we do to–how do I put this–to fan charges of anti-semitism against my book? Does that make any sense? Let me back up. As you know, nobody from the Jewish community has accused my book of expressing anti-semitic sentiments. No reviewers, no interviewers. Nothing. I can’t even get a blogger to make a snarky comment on the subject. This is no good.

When my book came out, my mother’s main concern was, “will I still be able to show my face at the Butcherie?” At the time, I smugly advised her to stock up on Meal-Mart horseradish because she was never going to shop at the local kosher market ever again — not on my watch. Well, guess what? My mother shows her face at the Butcherie every Friday before Shabbes, like nothing happened. Even the surly Russian checkout lady seems entirely unaffronted. And my mother, meanwhile, feels comfortable enough to kvell about the book as she waits in line. WTF? How is word of my self-hatred ever going to spread this way? I swear, I’m never going to sell books in the Jewish community.

Posted on December 8, 2010
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