Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
The Schmooze

Batali Bites the Banker Hand That Feeds Him

You don’t have to be a fan of the U.S. banking system to realize that credit default swaps are not the same as gas chambers and the gulag.

Or so you would think. But celebrity chef Mario Batali evidently doesn’t see that distinction, having compared American bankers to both Hitler and Stalin while participating in a panel discussion yesterday about Time magazine’s next Person of the Year.

“The ways the bankers have kind of toppled the way money is distributed and taken most of it into their hands is as good as Stalin or Hitler and the evil guys,” the TV chef and restaurateur remarked, in comments that were published on Forbes’ website. Asked after the discussion whether he stood by the statement, Batali told Forbes writer Jeff Bercovici, “Oh, that was just a metaphor.”

Well, um, yes. But whether it was an accurate or constructive comparison is another issue, and Batali, whose wife is apparently Jewish, has refused to back down, tweeting in reference to Bercovici, “Mr b deliberately misquoted me for a pr land grab #shameonforbes.”

Batali’s “misquote” tweet would have been more impressive if the chef had explained how he was misquoted, but that’s not really the point. No one looks to the owner of overpriced Italian restaurants for precise historical analysis.

Instead, Batali’s comment is a reminder of just how intellectually lazy people tend to be — how little moral or historical perspective they show in likening things they dislike, or even things that just kinda bug them, to the past century’s most murderous tyrants.

A quick scan of the Forward’s archives reveals people making Hitler/Holocaust analogies in reference to — among other things — U.S. tax policy, ordaining female bishops and being Kanye West.

Batali obviously has a sense of proportion — at least when it comes to combining ingredients. The Shmooze suggests he apply it to his political metaphors, too.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.