Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Hipster-i-fication of working class professions

So I went to a butcher shop in Williamsburg the other day to get some meat for a little gathering at a friend's house. I walk in, scan some meats, and when I look up at the butcher to order some chorizo, I see a fucking sub-Wesleyan hipster. "Hey dude, what would you like today?" he asks sweetly. "We have some culatello from Northern Italy and a fine capacola sausage from the isle of Sicily. Try some - no charge, bro." You're telling me what to do?

Here's what I want you to do, bro - I want you to stop taking a job in a working-class profession, and for all your hipster buddies to do likewise. When I walk into a butcher shop, I want to be greeted by a gruff, brusque, downright scary guy who stopped going to school in 10th grade and couldn't tell the difference between Flaubert and Clifford the Big Red Dog, who doesn't have a fucking clue where any of the meat comes from but can cut a perfect slice of meat in the way that trade workers for centuries have learned one physical thing really well but have no pretensions to being engaged with the world of ideas. While you're at it, tell your hipster bartender friends that I want my bartenders to be named Jack and say, "the usual, Danny?" even if I lose out on learning about some great microbrews (which seriously crushes my inner yupster spirit, but so be it). Try it- no charge, bro.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Story about my Roots

My Great-Great Grandfather Jakov Berger was a peasant in a shtetl on the Polish/Russian border. One time when he was about my age, a friend of his told him the adage that successful Jewish businessmen of the day were fond of bandying about - "Dress British, think Yiddish." Jakov was dyslexic, hard of hearing, and not terribly bright, but he had big dreams, so he tried to take this lesson to heart:

He died penniless, but he was buried in one of the heaviest, wooliest, Jew-iest coats ever produced at that time, so he was a happy man.