Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh
chris_walsh

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Harlan Ellison on how to respond to Anti-Semitic jackasses

More Harlan Ellison adventures:

Sara Slaymaker, a reader on the HE-affiliated forum Unca Harlan's Art Deco Dining Pavilion, recalled her stunned-into-silence response to Someone who revealed their dumbassedness, meaning: said Someone used the phrase "jew you down" with her, and Slaymaker was flummoxed into non-reaction, because what the hell do you say to someone who actually says that?

Harlan had something to say:
HARLAN ELLISON
- Tuesday, December 23 2008 10:51:39
SARA SLAYMAKER:


Pursuant to your expatiation re the lady who trumpeted her virtue at not having "jewed you down," I offer this m.o. that ALWAYS works wonders for me:

I'll tell it thus:

I was at a comics/media convention in Novi, Michigan, suburb of Detroit, a number of years back. With Susan. Huge venue. A great empty space five times the size of an aircraft hangar; the size of the LA Convention Center; a size only slightly smaller inside than the Chicago Convention Center where they hold Political Nominating Get-Togethers. Big, is what I'm saying here; a big, echoing, sound-carries-for-ten-blocks gigantitorium wall-to-wall with ex-tv actors signing their photos for ten bucks each, with small comic book publishers hawking their wares, with grunge bands blaring their CDs for sale, with a cacophony so oppressive and mind-numbing it would make the carillons of Hell resound like Donny & Marie.

And after sitting there in just such an agora, trying to SELL my books (which most of the slavering children and a few of the goofier adults thought they ought to get for nothing because wasn't I sitting there downwind from actors who were only charging ten bucks for a PHOTO???) I felt the need to micturate, excused myself, and hied me hence to the pissatorium.

On my way back, I passed the site of a small independent comic book artist whose now-defunct magazine had been something I'd collected; and I saw the one issue I was missing. It was perhaps five or six years' gone, and selling (if anyone wanted one) for about 35 cents, according to The Overstreet Guide.

So I paused to speak to the dude sitting there all alone, sketching idly, who was obviously the comic artist himself, and I introduced myself, and I said I'd like to buy issue #whateveritwas. And he said, and this is approximate, but accurate: "That'll be fifteen dollars." To which I exclaimed, not merely a bit taken aback, "You're not serious, are you?"
To which HE said--and this IS telephonically accurate--"Are you trying to Jew me down?"

To which, without losing a heartbeat, I replied...

LOUD
VERY LOUD
VERY VERY LOUD
SO FUCKING LOUD
IT OVERRODE all THE DIN AND CLANGOR
in that gimungous cavern

I MEAN LLLLLLLOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUDDDDDD...

"AM I TRYING TO JEEEEEEEW YOU DOWN....JEEEEEEEEW YOU DOWN...JEEEEEEEEEEEEEW.....

"NO, MISTER (his name here...loud...very loud) OF SUCH&SUCH COMICS...I'M NOT HERE TO JEEEEEEEW YOOOOOO DOWN, WHY ARE YOUUUUU TRYING TO

"GOY ME UPPPPPPPP????"

There ensued an appreciable drop in ALL the noise not only in OUR crowded area, but rippling outward like the inner circles of Dante's Inferno. And EVERYONE looked at this dude, and he actually paled, and thrust the comic at me and blathered, "Here, take it, for free, just take it and go away!"

And I said, again VERY VERY VERY loud, so they could hear me in Detroit, "As one poor Jeeeeeeew, I thank you for your Gentile charity," and I walked away with the fairly useless blue ribbon of that encounter.

Ten minutes later, as I sat signing, a kid came up and said, "That guy over there, the one you yelled at...he's gone."

I have no idea what transpired after I walked away, but ten minutes later the guy had packed up his shit and was gone.

Sara, I offer this phrase to you: "Don't goy me down," or "Don't try to goy me up." Either one, that should emerge from your face, phone ringing or not, the instant the loathsome jingo "Jew me down" emerges from the face of ANYone, and the more crowded the locale, the better. Malls, supermarkets, ballgames, town hall meetings, Church socials...

But, I'm sure you get it.

Yr. Pal, Harlan
*Edited slightly for spelling and to combine two posts*
Tags: harlan
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