Now Reading
The Michael Chabon Interview
Gefilte Guilt
Messy Meshugane. Again.
The Art of Kosher Cheesemaking
Smitten with Schpilkes
Behar, and the Source of all Sustenance
Conflicted Convert

The Michael Chabon Interview

Michael Chabon is an expert on a great many things, especially hummus and Alaska. He seemed like the perfect person to turn to for a conversation about Sarah Palin:

Jeffrey Goldberg: Isn’t it great that Michael Palin’s sister is running for vice president? Michael Chabon: Jeffrey, I fear it might actually be kind of sad that I had exactly the same thought when I first heard her name. At least we can safely assume, at this point, that Governor Palin fully appreciates the deep wisdom contained in that old axiom: nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. JG: Is Sarah Palin Jewish? Her husband was in the Yiddish Policemen’s Union. Or maybe the Steelworkers, I forget. MC: It’s unlikely and, I feel, sort of weird the way this Alaskan lady’s fortunes have become caught up, and so quickly, with those of the Jews. An exhaustive search of press mentions on Lexis-Nexis reveals that, until very recently, "Alaska" and "Jews" had been included in the same sentence only 18 times, ever. I know I probably deserve some of the credit for this uptick, but I decline to accept it. JG: What’s your favorite Alaskan food? MC: I know you want me to say moose. You probably also want me to point out that moose (properly slaughtered of course) is kosher. Same goes for reindeer. I have eaten both, in Juneau, Sitka and Wrangell. Reindeer sausage. Mooseburger. Also fiddlehead ferns and lingonberries. But I’m going to have to go with lox. JG: Alaska. Crazy place, or what? MC: It’s crazy beautiful, that’s for sure. I found it a dark place, and not just because it was literally dark much of time, during my second visit, in late winter. Also, I found it (the place, not the people) hostile, and not just in the sense that wilderness is generally said to be hostile. I kept thinking of that bit from Twin Peaks, where the sheriff says, "There is something very, very strange in these old woods. Call it what you want, a darkness, a presence." Almost everything humans have built there is unbelievably ugly. That might have something to do with the air of resentment given off by the underlying terrain. JG: Do you think Barack Obama has placated whatever fears elderly Jews have of him? MC: Huh, I don’t know, can elderly Jews actually be placated? The Israeli government, as you know, has squandered billions of shekels to date on one ill-starred placation program after another, with results that have been uniformly disappointing, leading it to issue the famous finding: You just can’t alter a kocker. But if anyone can do it, Obama can. JG: Do you think McCain was a) smart, or b) stupid, to pick Palin as his running mate? MC: I think the answer is probably both more pathetic and more chutzpadich than either a) or b) would imply. JG: Are any of your children named Bristol, Willow or Track? MC: I was kind of excited when I thought Willow was a Buffy shout-out. Like, how cool, she named her kid after a Jewish lesbian witch! It was part of this weird, innocent spasm of credit-extending that I experienced on first seeing the Governor in action last Friday. But the moment was very short-lived, alas. I bet she doesn’t even watch Buffy. The names are kind of awesome, in my opinion. But then I have a son named Ezekiel Napoleon Waldman Chabon.

[This is cross-posted from Jeffrey Goldberg’s Atlantic blog, which we think is great, and you should visit often]

View Comments (5)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll To Top