Jewish World Domination: What If It Were True?

Whirled History

By Ariella Cohen

Published April 29, 2005, issue of April 29, 2005.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Like a trompe l’oeil painting or the lectures of a well-read but deranged academic, each chapter of “The Big Book of Jewish Conspiracies,” the first full-length work of, um, scholarship by Heeb magazine editors David Deutsch and Joshua Neuman, operates on a premise that is in equal parts absurd and bizarrely accurate.

Recounting tales from ancient Rome to Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, where they unveil a fresh theory for today’s blinged-out baseball salaries, New York humorists Deutsch and Neuman merge a traditional Ashkenazic, Borscht Belt sensibility with codified history and faint echoes of “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” to create one of the oddest histories every committed to paper: a Judeo-Christian chronicle done in soap-operatic, intrigue-ridden chapters built around the patently silly, but unarguably attention-grabbing, notion that all bad things blamed on Jews were, in fact, the Jews’ fault.

In the chapter “Fratricide,” Deutsch and Neuman break down the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as a fraternity prank with worse consequences than any brother could have predicted. A badly dressed, market-savvy 18th-century Jew takes the blame for the French Revolution after he exploits the laws of supply, demand and fashion and incites a call for liberté, égalité and skirt-shorts.

“We started by putting thoroughly nebbishy and unremarkable protagonists in remarkable circumstances,” said Neuman, “and created a history that didn’t happen, but could have.”

At times dated in their humor — and occasionally totally unfunny — Deutsch and Neuman seem more like giggling historians on a coffee break than full-blown comedians. But the ex-doctoral candidates (Neuman studied religion; Deutsch, philosophy) wear their academic prowess on the page. They weave historical trivia into overblown and stereotype-laden accounts of The Jew in Modern Europe and North America. While Neuman does not recall being particularly impressed by “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and its genre of time-bending humor, he cites the 1984 social study “Revenge of the Nerds” as a primary influence.

“We like to think of ourselves riffing on the tension between Jewish conspiracy theories and pop culture,” Neuman said. “We tell stories of Western history that we don’t want anyone to take too seriously.”

Ariella Cohen is a writer living in New York City .






Find us on Facebook!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.