the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Learning from Barbra Streisand


Do you notice that whenever there’s a Hollywood movie where there’s a white guy and black guy disagreeing about something, it always ends up in racial name-calling (Crash, 48 Hours, every movie by Spike Lee)?

Last night, I went to the movies with my friend J.  He is an African-American.  I am a Jewish Caucasian.  We decided to see the new nature documentary The March of the Penguins because penguins are both black and white, and we figured the subject matter was so uncontroversial that no racials tensions could possibly develop.

We met early to have some dinner.  As J. drove, we discussed what we wanted to eat.  J. wanted Italian.  I wanted Chinese.  Neither of us would budge.   Tensions rose and the racial epitaphs started to fly.  J. told me that when he came to my seder last year, that my mother’s gefilte fish "sucked."  I mocked his culture’s weird attraction to eating chicken and waffles together!  It got ugly.

I told him to stop the car immediately.  I knew we needed some help, and I knew there was only one person who could bring us back together — Barbra Streisand.

I took out my laptop (as a blogger, I always carry it around) and stole some wi-fi from some home in Beverly Hills.  I clicked on  Barbra Streisand’s website, where she publishes many of her political ideas (yes, Sophia, TWM, Rachel, and others — all very liberal).  I showed J. one of the posts dated June 18, 2003.

I see people trying to divide the unity of Blacks and Jews, in particular. We can’t allow this to happen, because we have too much in common to be divided. With a shared history of oppression and slavery, as well as a common ingrained culture of social justice, Blacks and Jews, over the years and still today, have been natural allies.

In fact, Blacks and Jews have a long and important history of working together… recently, Blacks and Jews worked together in Florida after the 2000 election when both groups were disenfranchised after their votes were disregarded – Blacks because they were wrongly purged from voter lists and Jews in Palm Beach County who had mistakenly voted for Buchanan due to a poorly designed ballot. It was wonderful to watch Jews and African-Americans come together at rallies during that important time in our history.

J. and I looked at each other, ashamed of ourselves.  Despite our differences, didn’t we learn anything from that 2000 election year?   

Suddenly, we understood what Barbra was saying to us.  Blacks and Jews have so much in common — both groups are idiots!  

Blacks forgot to register to vote and Jews were too blind to read the ballot.

J. and I compromised and we went out for Thai food.

(story truth quotient 8%) (chance that fellow blogger Alley is not going to realize that it’s a joke and lecture me about politics 100%) 

(by the way, maybe this is a Jewish thing, but I’ve always found Barbara Streisand incredibly sexy and beautiful — but I have a feeling James Brolin has one high maintenance woman on his hands)


  1. Anonymous City Girl

    The best quote I have ever heard was from a german friend who pulled out the ugliest pair of shoes to show me and said, “They are so ugly, they are beautiful again… like Barbra Streisand”

    (relevance my comment has to your post 5%)

  2. Tatyana

    mmmm….thai food

    Barbra: you find her sexy before or after she opens her mouth? (and I don’t mean to sing)

  3. Anonymous City Girl

    Tatyana… don’t be dissin’ a sista.

  4. Josia

    Always been a HUGE fan – she’s sexy because she has real talent.

  5. Tatyana

    City girl,
    my sister is a complete opposite of BS.

  6. mary

    I took out my laptop (as a blogger, I always carry it around) and stole some wi-fi from some home in Beverly Hills.

    Ha! Too funny. Good to hear that some folks think Babs is sexy because I used to get told a lot that I looked like her and I was never very happy to hear it. 😉 It’s the Polish nose. Hmph. Thaaaaaaaaai foooood. You made the best choice.

  7. Brooke

    Neil, I will respond properly to this post when I stop crying with laughter.

  8. sunshine

    I agree. She’s like buttah.

  9. Danny

    You can keep the “I Have a Dream” speech—this is my all-time favorite essay on race relations in America. Why didn’t we realize that we had the answer all along…BARBRA!

    P.S. She was damn sexy in “The Owl and the Pussycat.” And speaking of race, did you know that Babs tried to get Sidney Poitier as her co-star in this film? Unfortunately the studio execs couldn’t handle it. It was bad enough their mega-star was playing a hooker and part-time porn star.

  10. xtessa

    hi there! thanks for visiting my blog the other day. went over here to properly thank you and reciprocate.;)

    you had me laughing with your post. i tried reading it the with Babs’ voice in my head.;) have a nice day!

  11. KDunk (non-Jew)

    i always thought babs was hot

  12. The Moviequill

    I used to own a music store and one of my regulars was a Babs obsessed fan..all for the dollar you should have seen me Talk The Talk

  13. meghan

    there is one babs album in particular that is perfect for making masks with. you could find a girl to wear this and make love to babs if you like cause i think james brolin is protective of his lady with the crazy finger nails.

  14. ubermilf

    Sweetie, I think it’s time to pick a new love who shares your ethnicity. How about Natalie Portman? She’s ever so pretty. A bit on the skinny side, but most actresses are these days.

    Please reconsider.

  15. alley rat

    i was laughing at your joke. because it was abour race and all jokes about race are funny, until that last one about me. however, since this joke does not offend my humorless feminist sensibilities, i am not motivated to post an outraged diatribe on my own blog.

  16. Brian

    papa can you hear me?

  17. cruisin-mom

    “Papa Can You Hear Me?”…Brian is right…let’s face it, Babs was at her sexiest in Yentl, playing a woman, playing a man, in love with a man, in love with his wife. Who else could pull off all that transgender sexuality but our beloved Babs!

  18. Jack

    Ok, call me what you will but the only thing that I noticed were the hands on her top. That is kind of funny, have to pick up a pair of those, tops that is.

    Also is that a fur coat or a sheepdog hanging on her arms.

    And FWIW, if you want good soul food in LA you have to go to M&Ms.

  19. Helena

    She gives me Goosebumps. For a while, I think that my dreams were scored with Hello Dolly numbers.

  20. Megarita

    Hilarious. You guys are like a black and white cookie — sweet and satisfying.

  21. JJ MacMillan

    Yes, she was hot in her day. Yes, James Brolin probably puts in a 16 hour day keeping her moderately happy. Yes, her speech was deep and meaningful, but it still won’t make me get along with the Anglish.

  22. Miriam

    Yeah, she’s gorgeous–in the night with the light behind her.

    I bet she has some make-up team!

  23. susan

    omg, it’s slightly reminiscent of an episode i saw of ‘southpark’. i forget, some funny character brings the whole town together in the silly funny way you described your story.

  24. susan

    wow, i didn’t think anybody would think your posts were serious or real. but then again, i wondered about some posts whether some elements were true.

  25. Heather

    I love Babs! She is like buttah . . .

  26. Isabella

    I think Barbra Streisand is damn SEXY! And I love her nose. (:

  27. Sue Ellen

    Neil, let me tell you that I loved your note. And I don’t think it’s only a Jewish thing… I’m not Jewish and I believe Barbra Streisand is absolutely gorgeous and the sexiest woman ever (hands down!). She makes me melt all over the floor… Damn! James Brolin is such a lucky dude…

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