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Monday, December 25, 2006

Ignoring the Obvious

posted by on December 25 at 15:00 PM

On Friday, the Seattle PI wrote an “article” about eating Chinese food on Christmas Day. Yawn. But I like Chinese food, so I read it, and noticed a glaring omission— the article mentions nothing about Jews.

Jews eating Chinese food on Christmas is one of the dominant Jewish stereotypes, like being a lawyer or having a chatty mother. In my family, it was true every year, even though as Jews we were terribly secular. I remember going to Lexington, Massachusetts to Peking Garden every Christmas Day and sharing the room with many Hasids and yarmulkes.

So how could the PI leave this out of their article? The article does allude to differences of religion in this bit:

Those who show up at Chinese restaurants include people who do not celebrate the Christian holiday; businesspeople and international guests from downtown hotels; college students staying in the area and singles looking for a crowded, lively atmosphere.

And it spotlights Christians who choose to celebrate in a Chinese restaurant here:

Families also have moved their Christmas parties from their dining rooms to Chinese restaurants — with customers showing up in red-and-white hats.

This might be taking the theme a little bit too far, but is it possible that the PI left Judaism out of a very bland article because of the recent outburst of anti-Semitism in these parts? This “story” is so devoid of controversy it makes my gums bleed, but would it have hurt the PI’s political correctness to make a brief mention of a perceived Jewish tradition? In the end, I am confused. Pass the shu mai.

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I just ate Chinese. Plenty of Jews, but I noticed for the first year that there were Hindus.

Posted by Gitai | December 25, 2006 4:09 PM

"the Seattle PI wrote an “article”"

Ari, thank you for mentioning the PI several times in your 'article'. 'Brad Wong' is the name we list as the reporter whenever the entire staff here at the PI collaborates on an 'article'.
Note to the Stranger: in the future, please mention Judaism in every one of your bland 'articles'.

Posted by you look good with bleeding gums | December 25, 2006 4:11 PM

I, for one, will be happy when this whole ridiculous episode in Seattle cultural relations blows over.

Happy New Year!

Posted by HAPPY NEW YEAR | December 25, 2006 4:11 PM

Ari, if you head on over to the House of Hong I understand they make a special dumpling that has a filling mixed from red bean paste and essence of Get Over It. You should try, you might like.

Posted by let's get some shoes | December 25, 2006 5:37 PM

Chinese food on Christmas is my favorite Jewish tradition. PI = STUPID.

The Christmas tree thing should not blow over, it should be remembered bc Seattle will start to look like the mid-west if that stuff happens again.

Posted by Papayas | December 25, 2006 5:47 PM

Last I checked, Jews aren't the only people who don't celebrate Christmas. Why single them out?

Posted by Gomez | December 25, 2006 8:18 PM

Is there a local Jewish eatery that we need to go to?

And I am snipped, so that should be a plus somehow.

Doesn't count for Chinese food.

Right on the corner, try the Shanghai - always excellent. Love the eggplant and those long green beans. Any one of the chicken dishes.

Posted by sammy | December 25, 2006 10:17 PM

Where's Shoshana when you really need her?

Posted by Big Wags | December 25, 2006 11:02 PM

I have eaten in Chinese restaurants on Christmas many times in far more interesting cities than this one, before I was a boring old married person, and I occasionally pretended to myself that I was Jewish while doing so.

Posted by Fnarf | December 25, 2006 11:14 PM

If you've managed to escape to the west coast, I don't see the point of eating Chinese when there is a Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, or Filipino restaurant on almost every corner.

Posted by Sean | December 26, 2006 12:11 AM

It's true - my Jewish mother told me that her family often went out for Chinese food on Christmas Day in New York (or at least Brooklyn) when she was a kid.

Double-super guilty detail - she apologizedly mentioned that the colloqualism at the time - in the dreadful but not intentionally hateful language of late '40's/early '50's - was going out for "Chinks" on X-Mas, but it was said in a way that sort of made you think they both felt oppressed by the fact that Christmas pretty much shut everything down for everyone who wasn't a WASP (or at least a Catholic).

Posted by Duelling Oppression | December 26, 2006 12:50 AM

Some stereotypes are true. I can't speak for other Jewish families, but Chinese is *traditional*. Thai was where we went for my Zede's birthday (he flirted with the waitresses shamelessly), Korean is what we ate when we visited my grandfather's cousin, but Chinese was where we went for Christmas - either dim sum or dinner, depending on our schedules. One year, in Los Angeles' Chinatown, we were seated next to a large Chinese family that was enjoying a roast turkey (among other dishes). Our watering mouths must have been apparent - the table had the restaurant staff send over a plate of sliced turkey to us. Sweet!

Posted by Zil | December 26, 2006 1:49 AM

above - class act by any standard on any day

of course, they had the whole turkey, lot of spare food

Posted by sammy | December 26, 2006 8:42 AM


Posted by The Baron | December 26, 2006 9:10 AM

i'm so confused by this. not mentioning jews? last night my friends went out and celebrated our Very Jewish Christmas as we do every year. take in a flick and then off to a chinese restaurant to eat. this is how our families all celebrated when we were growing up. and how our parents' families celebrated, too.

Posted by back east | December 26, 2006 9:39 AM

WTF? Why is Chinese food singled out? A lot of people, of varying religious beliefs, go to all kinds of restaurants on Christmas Day - every year I work at my brother's restaurant schlepping six courses of french haute cuisine. Last night, we did 80 dinners - I can guarantee the diners weren't all jews.

Strangely, more than half our patrons on Christmas Eve were Asian, though. It was such a compartitive outlyer that, sociologically, I wonder what about the significance.

Posted by dewsterling | December 26, 2006 1:11 PM

Didn't Eli Sanders just do a piece in the Stranger about the general obliviousness of Seattle to all things Jewish? That's why. (I'm not Jewish, but I am Jew-ISH - my maternal grandfather was a Polish Jew, but I didn't even know what a Jew WAS until I was nine years old: that's just how things are sometimes on the (west)coast of oblivion).

Posted by Grant Cogswell | December 27, 2006 3:02 PM

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