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Several weeks ago, I decided to make two awards beginning in February to recognize individuals for being a schmuck and another for being a mensch. If you are unfamiliar with these two very expressive Yiddish words, they mean:
Schmuck: “…is a pejorative term meaning one who is stupid or foolish, or an obnoxious, contemptible or detestable person.”
Mensch: “a person of integrity, morality, dignity, with a sense of what is right and responsible.”
Years ago, the great Mel Brooks (satire alert) decided he had to bring back the word schmuck in everyday conversation. I don’t remember when I first heard or used the word, but I have used it occasionally for decades (and more frequently in recent years) in private conversations describing members of the political class and other obnoxious individuals. It is now time to use schmuck to call out all the schmucks around us.
Schmuck–a word that has a male connotation because it is a vulgar term for penis–is not used to describe obnoxious women, but we live in the age where women want to be treated “equally,” then we should not hesitate to use it to identify women “schmucks.” Right off the bat I can think of some female television personalities and politicians that fit the bill.
So, the first Murray’s Newsletter goes to none other than the commander-in-chief, President Joe Biden. Biden richly deserves this award for reasons too numerous to detail. One of many comments he has made in the two years he has occupied the Oval Office—the vaccinated must be protected from the unvaccinated–was one of the most idiotic statements a public official has made in decades. Just for that statement alone, Biden deserves to be identified as a schmuck.
If the Covid-19 vaccines are supposed to be “safe and effective,” then the vaccinated should be protected against the “virus.” When I heard Biden make that remark, was he adlibbing or did one of his speechwriters provide him with that ludicrous statement? In either case, Biden reminds me of what my high school physics teacher used to tell the class, “It is better to appear dumb than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
In addition, Biden’s law school plagiarizing reveals he was schmuck years before he entered politics.
In my personal life, academic career and in my political campaigns, I have met thousands of individuals who were smart, ethical, and wonderful human beings. In Yiddish we would call them a mensch. Personally, I reserve the term for an individual I wish were my brother or a close relative, an uncle or first cousin—someone I could confide in about a personal matter or life in general. Sadly, I never had an uncle because all my parents’ brothers and sisters perished during the Holocaust, and thus never had a first cousin.
I am pleased to announce the first Murray Newsletter Mensch award goes to Michael Harrison, publisher of TALKERS Magazine, the “bible” of talk radio (Talkers.com). I have known Michael for more than thirty years and recently we have not only a business relationship as publisher of my autobiography, but he is also a trusted advisor and confidante. His advice has been invaluable as well as providing insights about talk radio in dozens of conversations.
For the past year Michael’s flagship website has promoted the four books I have written since I retired in July 2020. The current landing page has made it possible for me to be a much sought-after guest on radio, television, and podcasts. My “Restore the Constitution” campaign began with a podcast Michael hosted last month.
So there you have it. The first Schmuck award goes to an individual whose lifetime of gaffes, dishonesty and anti-liberty policies personify the very definition of schmuck. The Mensch award goes to an individual I am privileged to call my friend and advisor who is it at the top of the list of menschen I know.
Murray Sabrin, PhD, is emeritus professor of finance, Ramapo College of New Jersey. Dr. Sabrin is considered a “public intellectual” for writing about the economy in scholarly and popular publications. His new book, The Finance of Health Care: Wellness and Innovative Approaches to Employee Medical Insurance (Business Expert Press, Oct. 24, 2022), and his other BEP publication, Navigating the Boom/Bust Cycle: An Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide (October 2021), provides decision makers with tools needed to help manage their businesses during the business cycle. Sabrin’s autobiography, From Immigrant to Public Intellectual: An American Story, was published in November, 2022.