Some Mecca: Zabar's Sells Ham (And Additional Podhoretz Commentary as Well) UPDATED


A great deal of mail has flowed my way re: my designation of Zabar's, on the Upper West Side, as a "mecca" of lox. Actually, a great deal of mail has flowed my way condemning the humorless fellow who wrote in to complain that I disrespected Mecca, Islam, Muhammad and Allah by referring to a kosher store as a "mecca." Numerous correspondents have pointed out that Zabar's is not a kosher store, but actually sells ham -- the Ur-treif (shit, did I just insult the inhabitants of Ur?). Not only that, but four types of ham. Who knew there were so many species of ham?

Of course, the ham revelation actually might offend those who worship in the direction of Mecca, who, who those of us who pray in the direction of Jerusalem, believe that ham is a dirty and forbidden food (Surveys have shown that two out of every three monotheistic religions despise ham).

Just to state Goldblog policy here: I will continue to use the term "mecca," as many writers do, to describe a place that is regarded as the center of a particular interest or activity.

On another subject, a certain number of irregular Goldblog readers wrote to say that I made a mistake by identifying John Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary magazine, as editor of Mother Jones magazine. Regular readers of this blog surely know that I sometimes will, for reasons of humor, refer to someone as his or her opposite. To wit, "Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and current head of Planned Parenthood, spoke yesterday...." Or "Andrew Sullivan, the immediate past president of AIPAC...."  Some readers find this technique of humor writing funny; others do not. Very few are thick enough to believe that I think my friend John Podhoretz is the editor of Mother Jones magazine, the ideological opposite of Commentary. One reader, identified only as "Blythe" in his or her e-mail, wrote in this morning to complain: "At 10:22 AM EDT this morning, Jeffrey Goldberg referred to Commentary editor John Podhoretz as "the editor of Mother Jones magazine." Eight hours later, this remains uncorrected. And hilarious. Another embarrassing example of what happens when you hire a reporter who came up without proper supervision and toilet-training."

I will restate another Goldblog policy: I do not expect readers of this blog to find my writing funny. Humor is hard; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But I expect readers of Goldblog to understand that its proprietor knows full-well the identity of the editor of Commentary Magazine. Therefore, I am firing "Blythe" from the position of Goldblog reader. Please do not come back to this blog. You are not qualified to read it. I will be speaking to the web staff of the Atlantic to ensure that you do not gain access to this blog.  I suggest, instead, that you read the Nation magazine, which is now experiencing a resurgence under its new editor, Bill Kristol.

UPDATE: Apparently, "Blythe" plagiarized from a Salon column by someone named Alex Pareene. I don't know of this person, but he is also banned, on account of dumbness, from reading this blog.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. Author of the book Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror, Goldberg also writes the magazine's advice column. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. Previously, he served as a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward, and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

His book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. Goldberg rthe recipient of the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism. He is also the recipient of 2005's Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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