When you hit 40 in an ad agency, or maybe 50, if you're an optimist or ignorant, you begin to realize you're living on borrowed time.
You start seeing bushwa like this:
In brief, despite some PR-driven pangloss, you quickly realize you've got a target on your back. There are a lot of assignments you don't get. Meetings you don't get invited to. Discussions about inclusion that most certainly don't include you.
You know the great scorekeeper will soon call your name, even if you don't know exactly when. It's an oppressive, mean, depressing, vise-tightening feeling to live life with a target on your back.
It doesn't matter how smart you are, or knowledgeable, or fast, or funny, or dedicated, or hard-working. The only thing that matters is you're old and you're marked. You're the walking dead.
If you're a gentile, that is, not-Jewish, and you ever at a low moment wondered what it's like to be a Jew, it feels, at least to me what it felt like being 62 at Ogilvy.
You spend your days and nights and lonely hours waiting for the other shoe to drop. And you hope that dropping shoe isn't the metaphorical hobnailed boot that dropped across Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.
But it increasingly looks like it is.
Just as ageism is ignored and unprotected in agencies today, being Jewish is unprotected too. It's not just intergenerational trauma that makes us feel like we're the "chosen-for-the-wrong-reasons" people.
The highly-antennaed among us are hearing the overture to the opera that's coming. And it makes Gotterammerdung look like a sitcom.
Though Jews make up less than two-percent of the world's population, we aren't, at least by agency definitions, considered "diverse" or a minority. No agency is changing its logo to a Jewish star, while Jews remain subject to beheadings (like current hostages, or not so long-ago, Daniel Pearl.) Hate crimes according to the Anti-Defamation League are up 388-percent year-over-year, and according to the October 31, 2023 edition of The Wall Street Journal,
Two Jewish schools in London closed for a period over safety concerns, and some British Jews no longer feel safe wearing visible symbols of their faith. They’re probably right to worry the state can’t protect them. Tens of thousands of protesters in London over three successive weekends called for 'jihad' and chanted 'from the river to the sea,' a demand for the erasure of Israel and by extension its citizens. A crowd in Sydney, Australia, chanted 'gas the Jews' after the Hamas attack.
Americans like to believe such things couldn’t happen in the U.S. They have. The Anti-Defamation League last week reported a 388% increase in anti-Semitic incidents from Oct. 7-23 compared with the same period a year ago. The 312 incidents the ADL recorded include a car carrying individuals with Palestinian flags allegedly swerving toward a Jewish family and several alleged assaults by pro-Palestinian protesters. The ADL tally counts 109 anti-Israel rallies that featured support for Hamas or violence against Jews in Israel.
Silence from our friends.
As we wait for broken glass or falling shoes.
We've been down this road before.
Am I being paranoid?
I've earned that right.
And I am far-from alone in this.
Even though these articles, I suppose, come from the media we Jews supposedly control.
This story also appeared in the Halloween edition of the Wall Street Journal. And not long-ago, the Church beatified that Pope--making him a Saint. Though it was clear he knew about the holocaust, kept silent about it, turned in Jews and led the ratlines of nazi escapees to South America.
There are only sixteen million Jews in a world that has almost nine-billion people. And of the 57-million square miles of land on earth, Jews "control" about nine-thousand square miles. If you want the math, that's .0001579-percent. Also, how would you feel if, because of anti-your-religion hatred, every one of your religious sanctuaries had to be barricaded and protected by armed guards and metal detectors.
Almost two decades ago, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen wrote "Hitler's Willing Executioners," which alleged that the vast majority of Germans were "willing executioners," due to the virulent anti-semitism (Jew Hate) that had existed in Germany since medieval times.
Goldhagen's book was controversial when it was published. Critics decried his allegations of inculcated, institutionalized Jew Hate.
It appears Goldhagen was righter than we knew.
That's how it feels to be a Jew.