“Sterling” reputations will never be the same. Not when such a formerly highfalutin adjective runs the risk of being associated with one Donald Sterling, the Los Angeles Clippers owner (as of this writing anyway) who displayed his ignorance about racial equality in the privacy of his own home, and later publicly for Anderson Cooper on CNN. The subsequent incident wasn’t a good day for Jews, because unfortunately, Sterling’s flapping gums also let it be known he’s a member of the tribe. Just what we needed – another reason not to win the world’s popularity contest.
“Sterling” reputations will never be the same.
Thankfully, I took some comfort in at least suspecting the general population is more inclined to sit up and notice possibly illicit recorded conversations of a loudmouth unaware he’s being recorded than they are yet another Anderson Cooper interview in which A.C. repeats what you just said to show he’s been listening.
I repeat what you just said to show I’ve been listening?
Yes, Anderson. Thanks for listening.
What I needed to do was penetrate Sterling’s inner sanctum with my trusty digital recorder ensconced in my back pocket. And somehow capture the message that this Sterling guy was also ignorant about his own religion. My goal, as in the still running reality show whose title speaks to its longevity, Survivor… For our tribe to speak… let’s vote him off our island! That is, let’s convince the rest of the world he’s not one of us!
I approached Sterling’s palatial estate.
Me: Hi, is Mr. Sterling home?
Who are you?
Me: I’m the leader of the Don Sterling Fan Club.
I’m not aware of any Don Sterling Fan Club.
Me: That’s just the way we like it. Creates more of a cachet. Like an unlisted restaurant.
How many members?
Me: As leader, I’m not privy to that information. We take the privacy of our members very seriously. Listen, I won’t take up much of your time. I need to present him with the Don Sterling Fan Club Award.
Mr. Sterling! There’s some gentleman out here who wants to give you a plaque!
No, sir, a plaque!
I’m firing another publicist, be right out!
I reached into my back pocket and hit “record.” Sterling’s butler didn’t seem any the wiser. As my heart raced and recorder “whirred,” my opportunity to save my people’s reputation was about to arrive…
What do you want?
Me: As head of the Don Sterling Fan Club, I’d just like to say how thrilled I am to meet you.
Where’s the plaque?
Me: Oh, yes, the plaque. Uh, well, you see…
Just then, I let out a piercing scream.
What in blazes was that?
Me: My backside is aching ever since I sat on a hornet’s nest. You stirred up a bit of a hornet’s nest yourself recently.
Me: Sir, could you look back there and see… if there’s any blood on my jeans?
(I turned around, positioning my concealed recorder within closer proximity to his big mouth.)
I don’t see anything.
Me: What about the Levi label on my jeans?
What about it?
Me: Levi Strauss. Jewish. I’m Jewish.
So am I.
Me: You’re not Jewish.
What do you mean I’m not Jewish?
(Yes! It worked. I can edit out “what do you mean”!)
Me: Oh, by the way. Did you like Seinfeld?
I loved Seinfeld.
Me: What about Seinfeld detractors?
I hate Seinfeld detractors.
(Yes! I can edit out “detractors”!)
When the new secret Sterling recording… “I’m not Jewish” … “I hate Seinfeld” … is unleashed on the public, my fellow Jews will be able to look at ourselves in the mirror and think, “I knew he was a nudnik. At least he’s not our nudnik.” Who knows? Maybe I’ll even be interviewed by Anderson Cooper.
You say you’re the leader of the Don Sterling fan club?
No, Anderson. I said I made that up, so I could record him. Try listening.