We all–I should hope–remember the terrific Woody Allen riff in Annie Hall about hearing anti-Semitism everywhere. He is walking along trying to persuade his friend, played by Tony Roberts (whom I think I once saw eating in a deli with Joel Grey, but never mind) that he overheard somebody say, “Jew eat”–instead of “Did you eat?” Hilarity ensures.
Well, the kosher chicken, its fat deliciously rendered as gribenes, has come home to roost at MSNBC, where this morning co-host Mika Brzezinski referred to her own show, just moments after interviewing the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., as “Morning Jew.” Check it out:
As a Jew–and one who has twice appeared on Morning Jew at that–I offer three thoughts:
1) I forgive you, Mika. As somebody who lives in fear of accidentally uttering something fatal to my career every single time I go on radio or TV or send a tweet, I know how you must be feeling. You are living out the worst nightmare of all of us. It’s as if you are our biblical scape-goat. So if you need a pass, print out this sentence, carry it in your wallet, and show it whenever you need to: “I am not an anti-Semite. Mark Oppenheimer says so.”
2) This isn’t for you, Mika, but for our dear Tablet readers: We now have two examples of the “Jew eat?” category: Woody Allen’s and Mika’s. Can you think of other Semitic slips of the tongue? Tweet them to us @tabletmag and we’ll cull some of the best. If you have links, even better.
3) Hey Mika, since I forgave you in (1) above, can I come back on your show sometime? Remember how good I was when I plugged this book?
Mark Oppenheimer is a Senior Editor at Tablet. He hosts the podcast Unorthodox. He has contributed to Slate and Mother Jones, among many other publications. He is the author, most recently, of Squirrel Hill: The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Neighborhood. He will be hosting a discussion forum about this article on his newsletter, where you can subscribe for free and submit comments.