History Full Keikel
posted by December 11 at 15:22 PMon
An email from a reader:
It was cool to see a Jewish event in the Stranger Suggests block of the paper, but why use the word kike?
Just curious what made it “okay” in your reasoning. I was taken aback by it and felt offended.
Redacted refers to the Stranger Suggests I wrote to preview The 8, a Hanukkah concert that went down at the Croc last Saturday. (Which featured a klezmer-punk quintet from Brooklyn called Golem that sang in Yiddish and instigated the only hora-style circle dancing the Croc is ever going to see. Fuck yes.)
As a response, I offer two things. The first is “Kike on the Mic” by the Hip hop Hoodios, a Jewish-Latino hiphop outfit from L.A. that’s better than their name implies.
The second is an excerpt from a story about new Jew hipsterism I wrote a couple years ago. The quote is by the Hoodios’ Josh Norek, who’s also a publicist that reps a bunch of Latino electronica bands:
“We have a new song called ‘Kike on the Mic,’” Norek says. “We played that song at a show in L.A., and afterwards the booker came up to me and said, ‘You’re never coming back here! I grew up in New York public school, and if you said kike or nigger, you’d get your ass kicked.’ I explained the origin of the word — it comes from the Yiddish word keikel, which means circle. And then over time, the word took on a derogatory connotation because immigrant Jews would get off the boat at Ellis Island and, not knowing what to put on their immigration paperwork because they didn’t read or write English, they’d just draw a circle. So when I sing ‘I’m a kike on the mic,’ the point is, I’m not offended. You’re calling me a circle. It takes the sting out of the word. And if you listen to the music itself, it’s a really powerful, punchy song. It’s hard rock meets hip-hop meets Klezmer, probably the loudest song you’ll ever hear with a Klezmer horn. And that’s deliberate. It’s in-your-face. It’s militant, but it’s proud. No more of that nebbishy Two Live Jews crap.”
Happy last night, fellow Jews/kikes/heebs/chosen people.