Washington Post essay draws Twitter — and real life — ire

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A recently-published essay, “I am tired of being a Jewish man’s rebellion,” has sparked fury on social media and inspired several response articles.

Friends don’t let friends publish un-self-aware essays on the internet declaring their intention never to date people of a certain religion or culture.

Too bad Carey Purcell’s friends failed her recently after her essay “I am tired of being a Jewish man’s rebellion” was posted on the Washington Post site March 29. But it really gained traction Monday when it made the Twitter rounds, racking up incredulous tweets and article mentions in both Jewish media like The Forward and Haaretz and mainstream media like New York Magazine and The Atlantic.


According to the essay, Purcell is an amazing WASPy human who is “blond, often wear pearls and can mix an excellent, and very strong, martini.” But before all you single young Jewish men slide into her DMs, you should know that she’s been burned before. Yes, two Jewish men broke up with her and while Judaism “was not the official reason these relationships ended,” Purcell has sworn off Jewish men.

These two Jewish men — because two is a definitive pattern, you see — went on to serious relationships with “a nice Jewish girl” after dating her, despite her blonde hair and martini-mixing skills.

https://www.washingtonjewishweek.com/enewsletter/

“I guess dating me had been their last act of defiance against cultural or familial expectations before finding someone who warranted their parents’ approval — perhaps the equivalent of a woman dating a motorcycle-driving, leather-jacket wearing ‘bad boy’ before settling down with a banker with a 9-5 job,” Purcell wrote.

She also makes sure to mention an “overbearing” Jewish mother.


The responses on Twitter ranged from amused to outraged, but almost everyone agreed it should never have been published by The Post at all. And Jewish Twitter wasted no time in taking the author to task.

“Which editor at the Washington Post thought that publishing ‘I refuse to date Jewish men because I believe stereotypes are real’ was a good idea?” said one tweet, from Vox reporter Zack Beauchamp. Writer and former child actor Mara Wilson tweeted at Purcell, “I bet the world‘s tiniest fiddler on the world‘s tiniest roof is playing for you.”

Buzzfeed News reporter Joe Bernstein said, “‘A Jewish Man’s Rebellion’ is my misunderstood LP of jazz standards played on shofar” while another from New York Times writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner was a stronger rejection, “It feels like maybe these Jewish men aren’t leaving you because you’re not Jewish as much as they’re leaving you because you hate Jews?”

Both The Forward and Vulture, a pop culture site from New York Magazine, posted satirical responses, “How Dare Jewish Men Keep Breaking Up with Me?” and “I’m Tired of Being Dermot Mulroney’s Onscreen Love Interest.”

“Hi there, readers! It’s me, a woman who will now cutesily compare myself to Carrie Bradshaw, as if I am simply a spunky newsgal, and not at all someone about to publish something astonishingly bigoted in a national newspaper,” wrote Talia Lavin in The Forward. “My editors did me no favors by choosing to publish this, but I’m going to go ahead and blithely hang myself out to dry anyhow! This is fun. I’m fun.

“I’m going to cite a bunch of statistics about the prevalence of Jewish intermarriage here,” Lavin went on to write, “which definitely undermine my point about Judaism being the prime obstacle to successfully marrying one of those hook-nosed hunks, but which give this whole dubious enterprise a patina of journalistic legitimacy. Otherwise, making a gross generalization about an entire religious community would be indefensible, given my sample size of two boyfriends!”

The takedowns are largely humorous, but touch on the underlying fact that anti-Semitism is rising across the country. Just last month, D.C. Council member Trayon White blamed the weather on “the Rothschilds” and a Holocaust survivor was stabbed to death in France. A recent report from the Anti-Defamation League found a nearly 60 percent increase between 2016 and 2017 in anti-Semitic incidents.

On Tuesday, Purcell posted an apology to her personal website.

“I am truly sorry I offended so many,” she wrote. “It was never my intention to disrespect the Jewish faith or anyone who engages in Jewish customs, traditions or religious beliefs. I realize now that I touched upon serious issues for Jewish people in America and worldwide, for which I sincerely apologize.”

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