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I must admit that, for the past several Monday nights, I have tuned in to WCW Wrestling on Turner Network Television while channel-surfing. And, much to my surprise, the star of each show is a huge, manic wrestler named Goldberg, with a shaved head and trapezius muscles the size of volleyballs. Goldberg? Can it be? A Jewish pro wrestler? Sure enough, he’s by far the best athlete, the best pure wrestler, out there. He tackles his opponents with the fierceness of General Moshe Dayan battling Egyptians in the Sinai Desert in the 1967 war. Next thing I know, he pins Hulk Hogan and is the world’s champ!
Being Jewish, I’m in ecstasy at Goldberg’s triumph. But I’m thinking, This is a very important cultural event. A Jewish pro wrestling champ. It’s up there with Joe Louis, the “Brown Bomber,” or maybe even Jackie Robinson. It could explode centuries of stereotypes of Jewish men as pencil-necked geeks, all looking like Woody Allen, known only for their intellectual prowess, if that. Does anyone else even know about this, or grasp its significance? Sure enough, the City Paper, as usual, is out there on the cutting edge, with Dave McKenna’s article “So This Is Progress?” in the July 17 issue.
It’s no secret to me that Jews can be athletic. My father played semi-pro football, as well as basketball with the championship CCNY teams of the early ’50s. My dad’s father was a gymnast, and there is a great old picture of him on the parallel bars, forearms bulging. I grew up playing ice hockey, tackle football, and any other sport I wanted to play, even excelling at some of them. But this is not the image most people have of Jews. So I welcome Goldberg, the Tiger Woods of the Jewish people.
There is a danger in all this, however. The danger is that a new, even more destructive stereotype of Jews will emergethat we are all just a bunch of dumb jocks!
Chevy Chase, Md.
via the Internet