'I Don't Believe in God, But I Do Believe in Jews'
James Parker, in the latest Atlantic, on Larry David:
IN MY DREAM, a long-fingered witch was zapping me with heart attacks ("Feel that? Feel it coming?"), and then, disconnectedly, I was in a car with Larry David, driving through Brooklyn. As we entered an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, Larry said, "Oy gevalt! It's Passover!" and piously bowed his head. "Larry," I said, surprised, "I didn't know you cared about this stuff." And in my dream Larry David replied, with great solemnity: "I don't believe in God, but I do believe in Jews."
Not a bad line, right? Pret-tay, pret-tay good, as Larry himself might say. The unconscious--mine, anyway--is rarely so aphoristic. Even better, it's a line that happens to be true: Larry David, culturally speaking, is indeed both a figure of pioneering godlessness and a loyal celebrant of the traditions, religious and comic, of his people. I say godlessness because atheism won't do here: too programmatic, too broomstick-up-the-ass. From the post-moral peevishness of Seinfeld (which he co-created) to the flying yarmulkes of Curb Your Enthusiasm (which he created and stars in), Larry has been in a class of his own, spinning a kind of hilarious materialist fairy tale that depends for many of its effects upon the vacuum left by a just-departed divinity--a God who has bolted from the room like Groucho Marx, cigar smell and a hanging one-liner the tokens of His absence.