Your RDA of Irony

Ire and Irony


The headliners read like a who’s who of music: Aerosmith, 50 Cent and Don Henley of the Eagles. No, it wasn’t the Grammys, it was 13-year-old Elizabeth Brooks’ birthday party — a $10 million mega bat mitzvah. Aerosmith alone was paid a $1 million to perform — flown in on her father’s company jet.

Her father is David Brooks, who was then the CEO of DHB Industries, the leading body armor provider to U.S. soliders in Iraq. And he had his company pick up the tab for the party two years ago, according to investigators.

Most of us will never earn ten million dollars in a lifetime. Evidently, neither did David Brooks. He was just indicted for fraud, tax evasion and insider trading. Perhaps billing the company for his wife’s facelift was not really a legitimate business expense. And would you be surprised to learn that his company’s products are defective? The body armor that isn’t. When tested, DHB’s Swiss Cheesecloth was found to have “critical life-threatening flaws.” Policemen in New York and U.S marines in Iraq have discovered that their bullet-proof vests couldn’t stop a dust bunny. So David Brooks might be an accessory to murder. He may have killed so many Americans that he qualifies as an Al Quada All-Star.

Of course, a man who’d squander ten million dollars on a Bat Mitzvah is capable of any crime. The very idea seems so Anti-Semitic that Mel Gibson must be jealous. That ten million dollar orgy of excess is blasphemy, an affront to God and his first two commandments: “Thou Shall Have No Other God Before Me” and “Thou Shall Not Worship Idols”. Brooks was worshipping himself–a self-made Golden Calf–rather than the tenets and values of Judaism.

If you believe in Judaism, you believe in justice. Unlike those gorgeous, sexually omnivorous idols of Olympus and Asgard, our staid, stiff God pioneered morality along with a constricting dietary code. Thou shall not steal, and certainly not to subsidize a teenage bacchanalia. A poor bedouin people, then a scattered and persecuted tribe, through the ages all we Jews truly possessed were our faith and values. At the whim of Crusader or Cossack our material acquisitions were gone, but our teachings endured. They defined us and gave us a strength that has defied history.

Now, we find ourselves in a land of tolerance and opportunity; the ghetto has given way to the suburb. We no longer are restricted by the majority’s Church or prey to the bigotry of a Tsar. In fact, we are free to make asses of ourselves. Philip Roth was never at a loss for satire. The bar mitzvah has long since become a parody of its original purpose: a genuine rite of passage. Today, the ceremony is just an excuse for extravagance. Modern American Judaism seems largely defined by its sense of humor and a high cholesterol diet. But our heritage still imbues us with an empathy to the oppressed and an indignation with injustice. Although we did not copyright the Golden Rule, we apply it when we vote.

But those values mean nothing to David Brooks. Nature should not merely abhor a vacuum; it should despise him.

Tomorrow I may come up with satirical ways to spend ten million dollars on a bar mitzvah. But today I am just too angry.

  1. Alan says:


    Well said. Nothing to add…except: how is it possible for people to be so totally f***ed up?

    For a long time, the American bat/bar mitzvah has made me ashamed of being Jewish.

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