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  1. #1
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    Default Article on Mel Gibson's recent outburst

    Hi,

    I came across the sentence below while reading
    Maureen Dowd's coumn in the New York Times,
    entitled "Mel's tequila-talk". It is about Mel Gibson's
    recent outburst during his arrest for drunk driving.

    "Perhaps he thinks that all he needs to do is spend
    a few months in AA - Anti-Semites Anonymous - and
    find some celebrity sponsor and run for absolution
    to Larry Zeiger, I mean Larry King, where he can say
    with perfect sincerity that the Holocaust was a
    terrible thing and gut yontif."


    Given the topic of this article, I assumed that
    "gut yontif" is a Yiddish phrase, and a quick Google search
    yielded the meaning as "Happy Holiday".

    I didn't quite understand the context of this "greeting"
    here. Is it humor through sarcasm?

    Since English writing has phrases from so many languages,
    it is difficult to understand the meaning of the words
    from the other languages, let alone the cultural nuances/references
    (in this case, American/Jewish cultural reference).
    I learned from a Google search that "Larry Zeiger" is the
    old name of "Larry King".

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Article on Mel Gibson's recent outburst

    I think the writer is saying that it is not going to be very simple for Mr Gibson to clear his name and just going on TV and saying the Holocaust was a terrible thing will not be enough.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Article on Mel Gibson's recent outburst

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I think the writer is saying that it is not going to be very simple for Mr Gibson to clear his name and just going on TV and saying the Holocaust was a terrible thing will not be enough.
    Thank you for decoding, tdol.
    And I used to think I need help only with Ebonics. ;)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Article on Mel Gibson's recent outburst

    In some English-speaking areas -- parts of the US and Britain, for example -- there is a lot of debate about whether we should say "Merry Christmas" when so many residents and citizens follow other religions. If you want to prove that you are not racist and that you believe in the multi-cultural society, you might prefer to use a neutral greeting like "Happy holidays" instead. Going one step further, to prove that you are not an anti-semite, you might try to say it in Yiddish.

    As tdol says, the author of the article is saying that just saying the right things isn't enough to prove anything.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Article on Mel Gibson's recent outburst

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss
    In some English-speaking areas -- parts of the US and Britain, for example -- there is a lot of debate about whether we should say "Merry Christmas" when so many residents and citizens follow other religions. If you want to prove that you are not racist and that you believe in the multi-cultural society, you might prefer to use a neutral greeting like "Happy holidays" instead. Going one step further, to prove that you are not an anti-semite, you might try to say it in Yiddish.

    As tdol says, the author of the article is saying that just saying the right things isn't enough to prove anything.

    Rewboss, thanks for further clarifying in detail. I understood your
    point about using a neutral greeting. If saying it in Yiddish is to prove that
    you are not anti-semitic, then wouldn't it be better to use a greeting
    such as (the Yiddish equivalent of) "Happy Channukah"? :)

    [I should make a correction to my original message - actually I don't know
    if Mel Gibson was arrested. Perhaps he was just given a ticket.]
    Last edited by englishstudent; 04-Aug-2006 at 22:20.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Article on Mel Gibson's recent outburst

    Well, what would actually be better is one thing, but it's irrelevant here. The author is saying that Gibson might be tempted to say things he thinks makes him look like a nice, Jewish-friendly person, but that won't help.

  7. #7
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Article on Mel Gibson's recent outburst

    There is an entire subtext about anti-Semitism in Hollywood in Ms. Dowd's article. Her implication is that Mel Gibson's drunkeness allowed him to say things about Jews (many of the largest and best-known companies in the American entertainment industry are controlled by Jews) that echo the views of many Christians in Hollywood. Gibson won't be able to make this story go away just by pretending that he is a Jewish "home-boy."

    Mike

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Article on Mel Gibson's recent outburst

    Thank you, rewboss and mykwyner.

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