Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently told a Harlem Baptist church congregation that Jews “have no rhythm.” Was this our governor showing he’s not politically correct, trying to be funny, or just being stupid?
I vote stupid.
Cuomo said Catholics and Baptists share many beliefs, but Catholics “do it without the rhythm. But we try. We are not as without rhythm as our Jewish brothers and sisters.” He then pointed to Jewish political consultant Hank Sheinkopf, moving to the music in the front pew, and called his movements “ugly.”
Oy vey. Being politically correct used to mean being respectful of others, but now is viewed as being rigid, humorless and dogmatic. Donald Trump is president partly because Americans are sick of political correctness. Trump campaigned on being non-PC, honest and blunt, not a liar or bigot. You be the judge on how that turned out.
Meanwhile, I don’t think Cuomo is prejudiced, but he did violate the two basic rules when trying to be non-PC. The remark has to be funny, and must have some truth to it.
I’m not going to waste your time listing Jews with rhythm. OK, here’s a few: Billy Joel, Paula Abdul, Pink, Drake, the Beastie Boys, Bob Dylan and Adam Levine (yes, I’m pushing it here). For God’s sake, Jewish Brooklynite George Gershwin wrote the song “I Got Rhythm.”
But I digress. Whatever you think of Trump, he did tap into something real. Americans are tired of walking on eggshells. For example, Halloween used to be fun, but now scolds go haywire if a woman dares dress as Pocahontas. (Bigotry! Cultural appropriation!)
As Bill Maher of HBO’s “Real Time” (formerly “Politically Incorrect”) puts it, “The PC police has to stop lecturing us on what Halloween costumes are appropriate, and leave Halloween for the people it was created for: middle-aged gay men.”
Do you find that funny, or offensive? Cuomo meant no harm with his remark, and seemed miffed anyone would not find it amusing. I’m certain he would be the first to laugh at another politician telling a similar joke containing a moronic stereotype about Italians.
Sure he would. Absolutely.
Playwright Mike Vogel’s comedy “Second Chance” is running at Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury, Conn.