Sunday, April 15, 2007
Jackie Robinson Overdose
I'm glad this Shishim Shonoh (of the auspicious day of April 15th) celebration is finally over, I could hardly stand another minute of it. For those of you not familiar with the man, Jackie Robinson was the first colored man to play baseball in America in the modern era of the 20th century. Until then, from about the late 19th century, blacks could not play in the Major Leagues, they had their own "Negro Leagues." JR was the one who broke the color barrier on this day 60 years ago. He was the subject of insults and threats, yet never responded, practicing great restraint, not something seen amongst today's athletes. I wish Americans today would stop feeling so guilty over things they had no control over, like who played baseball 70 and 100 years ago, and who was allowed to sit where in a bus in Birmingham. I'm not sure I see how he "changed American society forever," like the pundits say. After all, Brown Vs. Board of Ed took another 7 years, the Birmingham Boycott was eight years in the making, and the Civil Rights Act was only signed in '64. (Even that was an insincere ploy on behalf of LBJ to get votes.) I understand all about "learning from history" and "not repeating old mistakes," but even should have a limit, otherwise there'll ultimately be a backlash, as is the case with the Holocaust.
Was JR a good man? probably, but judging from what they say about him he'd be a little embarrassed over the fuss being made about him now, as anybody with a little dignity would be. I understand the need to commemorate, but this was just too much for me to handle. What can I say? maybe I need to get with the program, I'm known not to follow the rest of the pack, at least on some issues. If you'll ask Vi Kumt es az a Chassidisher Yungerman vi mir zol bichlal vissen fun epes ah Jeki Rahbinsin? Then let it be known that his team played right near the Shchuneh, and "Unzere Bocherim" were known to occassionally attend a Dodgers' game, back when people in general were far more innocent. In the words of the venerable Moshe Sklar: Ich bin geven a Yankee fan, ven Ich bin Gekkomen ein mohl in 770, un ich hob gezogt heych, "Di Yankees hubben Gevoonen! Hut men mir fartribben fun Shul!" "This is Dodgers' territory," they said, De Dodgers shpielen glaych Doh in Bedford Avenue. A Chutzpah. MeMeilah hut es epes vos ah Shayches....