You Look Like a Jew (it’s an obscure reference to a band)

Pussy Galore, in all of their transgressive glory, called a song “You Look Like a Jew”. It was a great song actually- off of a great record. There’s this squirrely guitar line with “primative” (i.e. heavy simple and awesome) drumming with some mumbled lyrics that end with a shout of “You look like a Jew”.

I was thinking about that song today- while pondering the whole nature of rock vs. art vs. commerce vs being truly “punk rock”/ anti materialist / anti-establishment. Frankly there’s nothing anti about selling a painting for 500,000 except anti-poverty. Pussy galore never sold a lot of records- but some of their records became kind of valuable for a time in that collectors mentality.

I was also thinking about that line because I am a Jew.I’m a Jew who grew up in the south with parents who came from the north. It was only after I came to NY to go to college that I understood what that meant. I had an “a-ha” moment out of the blue. After living in NY for about 3 months, I was walking down the street and it struck me that my parents were so different from most of the people I knew growing up because they were from somewhere else- from a different culture really.

It occurred to me at that time that I too – looked like a Jew- and acted like one- and sounded like one- and on one level I understood that and on another I hid it- so a part of me felt hidden. I don’t think that I ever experienced much outright racism due to my status as a Jew. I say this without irony- but my friends made fun of me for being cheap- carrying coupons (I did carry coupons), and yes they called me a Jew. I didn’t take it all that seriously- because it wasn’t said all that seriously. However, I knew that as someone who was “different” I had to simply take the ribbing because to take offense would be offensive.

When I came to NY though, I felt out of place because I was southern. I nodded to people on the street and said thank you to people at the cafeteria. I was a soul lost at sea- neither fish nor fowl- and I am still lost.

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