Yehuda Levin’s Vaudeville Act
Message: I’m Jewish
It was hard to read Rabbi Yehuda Levin’s rant—the sentence could end right there, of course—without noticing how ostentatiously Jewish he was being, how he seemed to be going out of his way to remind you of his religious and cultural authenticity.
“The speech that you gave in Brooklyn to the Orthodox Jewish community.”
“I was in the middle of eating a kosher pastrami sandwich.”
“I almost choked on the kosher salami.”
Let’s repeat that one, just for fun: “I almost choked on the kosher salami.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates, the Atlantic blogger, has an illuminating take. “A lot of what this Rabbi is doing strikes me as what a lot of my folk would call ‘cooning’ if this dude were black,” he writes. I was unfamiliar with the term (and probably wouldn’t use it myself, given its etymology): According to Urban Dictionary,
Modern day coons are blacks who play stereotypical roles and black entertainers that promote ignorance. Cooning is someone is acting like a ‘coon’.
(a is singing and dancing in public with white people watching)
b: Will you come on and stop cooning!
Sounds about right.