Goldberg Variations

Hi,

This will almost surely be my first and last column on Whoopi Goldberg (no relation).

I’ve never been a big fan of Goldberg’s (I have different views about the plural category Goldbergs). But I think this episode raises all sorts of larger issues worth discussing. Just in case you missed the controversy, she said a bunch of ignorant things about the Holocaust. I don’t think any of them came from a sinister or antisemitic place. The woman has been saying for decades that she identifies as Jewish (more on that in a moment), which would be a weird thing for an antisemite to do. While antisemites say a lot of ignorant things about Jews, not every ignorant utterance about Jews is necessarily antisemitic. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes historical ignorance is just historical ignorance.

But what was interesting was how confident Goldberg was in her ignorance—and why she was so confident.

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