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Heard any good gentile jokes lately?

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New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren has been tweeting her husband Gary Rudoren’s short film about Thanksgivukkah (above), and though I’m no film critic, this one falls into the category of gentile shtik. The Sullivans are bland, bigoted against Jews, all dressed in red, and they eat white bread and mayonnaise. Just like Woody Allen said, many years ago. Some things never change.

P.S. You can see more of Gary Rudoren’s videos here featuring Yisrael Campbell and Susan Silverman of Women of the Wall in West Jerusalem, called “The Times of Yisrael.” At 1:17 of this appearance at Penn last month, Max Blumenthal said Rudoren is “an openly-Zionist artist who’s deeply immersed in Jewish Israeli society.”

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47 Responses

  1. OlegR
    OlegR on December 1, 2013, 11:13 am

    What’s wrong with you Phillip, i mean, seriously ?

    • Cliff
      Cliff on December 1, 2013, 11:28 am

      What’s wrong with YOU […]?

    • amigo
      amigo on December 1, 2013, 11:45 am

      “What’s wrong with you Phillip, i mean, seriously ?”oleg

      What,s right with you Oleg..I mean seriously.You are an illegal settler thief and a member of the so called most moral army and you dare to ask someone else , what,s wrong with them.,

      • Citizen
        Citizen on December 1, 2013, 12:28 pm

        @ amigo
        Oleg would see something anti-Semitic in the Gettysburg Address or the Sound Of Music, but he wouldn’t recognize his own insensitivity-cum-bigotry in anything. See the discussion on another recent sub-thread on MW (discussing Goliath, Max’s book) about Philip Roth’s book depicting an alternative history of the USA.

    • LeaNder
      LeaNder on December 1, 2013, 12:23 pm

      What is wrong with you OlegR? I surely have no knowledge of American customs in this context. But here goes:

      For whatever reason this reminds me of a complaint by Richard Silverstein close to a decade ago by now.

      What he complained about was the absence of Hanukkah decorations with Christmas trees and Christmas symbolism present everywhere. This got me into complex reflections, if I should go out and chance the routine. Unfortunately at the same time I never was a fan of Christmas trees or decorations everywhere. Besides, they are absolutely void of any religious symbolism. All my life I considered them purely, at least not in a family setting, supportive of what I consider turning Christmas into a purely economic event. As student I also hated the fact that even a city like Berlin everything was shut down for the duration of the holiday. Apparently everyone was meant to go see his family and/or friends.

      Hannukah feels pretty similar in this context. People meet family and friends and have dinner together? But the difference seems to be one is religious while the other–Thanksgiving in this context– isn’t. That is different in the US? Please enlighten me.

      So what do you think is funny about forcefully entering the family’s space at thanksgiving, what is funny about forcing them to celebrate a religious holiday like Hanukkah apart from using the story to show they are all rabid antisemites?

      Why wouldn’t a gesture like this be enough?

      So what exactly motivates a story like that? Tell me, why you think it is funny? And what do you think is funny about a larger Jewish orthodox family entering the family’s space and trying to force them to celebrate a religious Jewish holiday instead?

      I was invited by a British family in Berlin to thanksgiving dinner once but there wasn’t any indication it was a religious festivity. Apart from that I am only aware that thanksgiving somewhat entered the space of the Protestant church in the little town I lived in as a juvenile, and that putting his new born in the center of the whole celebration resulted in the pastor being kicked out. I liked the guy admittedly since he occasionally gave me a ride, when I missed my train for school. And yes, since he told me about it I helped with the decoration in the church for this event and found adding his child fitting. But I do not remember the slightest indication that this was a specific religious event in the Protestant church. Or maybe I forget.

      Top 10 Myths About Thanksgiving . Without checking it, but you may be interested.

      The English family in any case that invited me, did not pray for dinner. In my father’s very strongly Catholic family, prayer for dinner was a normal routine. You had to pray first before you started to eat. I could imagine this could be the case too in a strongly Protestant family, but I do not really know.

      In any case what do you think supports paralleling Hanukkah with Thanksgiving as a religious custom? Compared to Christian Americans celebrate the event? And after that what exactly is funny about the scenario?

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones on December 1, 2013, 3:51 pm

        “In any case what do you think supports paralleling Hanukkah with Thanksgiving as a religious custom?”
        The thing is, Hanukkah has become a part of Judaism, while Thanksgiving is not really considered part of American Protestantism. It would not be considered a loss to the religion in Protestantism to stop performing it.

        The reason, LeaNDer is because American Protestants do not consider their faith to be “American” as opposed to that of another Protestant nation. It would basically be heresy even for Protestants to take US holidays and consider them part of the faith tradition. Were their religion to be defined differently, as including unique “American” national traditions, then it could make sense. At this point in time, you only have ideas that happen to come from America. Yes, some Protestants have beliefs about America (eg. Manifest Destiny), but not really religious rituals.

      • MRW
        MRW on December 2, 2013, 4:08 am

        In any case what do you think supports paralleling Hanukkah with Thanksgiving as a religious custom?

        Nothing. It’s a fucking insult, actually. And since it’s not due to converge for another 70,000 years, thank god.

        Thanksgiving in the US is the only holiday that is not religious, that is completely secular, and that is devoted to the idea of family and friends where no one is excluded based on politics, gender, or creed.

        Some stupid announcer on our local NPR had a rabbi and another guy from a Jewish org on with a Christian woman to talk about Thanksgivukkah the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as a morning topic.

        The Jewish org guy mentioned that it was a highly unusual coincidence, and that there was really no connection. The Christian woman bordered on End Times stuff.

        The rabbi hit it out of the park with his downtown New York accent, barely able to conceal his derision. He was an older guy who said he came to this country as a kid without speaking the language and that celebrating Thanksgiving with his non-Jewish neighbors made him feel American and welcomed in a way that didn’t involved presents or national ritual. He went on for ten minutes with obviously clenched teeth to say that religion plays no part in Thanksgiving (he must have said ‘secular’ 10X) and that the coincidence of both holidays converging was highly incidental. He talked quite eloquently about how the most important holiday in the US included immigrants who could celebrate in their new country immediately, and people down on their luck, and old friends and relatives, and children who traveled across the country to be home with their parents for Thanksgiving.

        So this Rudoren schmuck can shove it. And as for the white bread and mayo stunt, it wasn’t Jewish chefs on the Upper East Side of Manhattan who taught Jews to appreciate Lutece, La Grenouille, or The Oak Room back in the 50s and 60s; those ‘chefs were running hot dog joints on Coney Island.

        EDIT: this Thanksgivikkah thing struck a sore spot in me. I had the exact same reaction years ago when bunch around where I live were trying to turn it into a Christian day of prayer and adoration and a bunch of other things. Thanksgiving is for food, fights, friends, football, and farting.

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder on December 2, 2013, 10:29 am

        Thanks, W.Jones, MRW. It isn’t a holiday over here, since they managed to make it coincide inside the diverse religious communities with a Sunday, which may not even be the same.

        It is obviously a quite old secular festival that at one point was embraced by religion to a certain extend, without any deep liturgical consequences. I checked in the Catholic Church it seems an early tradition first recorded in the 3rd century.

        List of harvest festivals. Obviously it belongs into a huge amount of festivities all over the place.

        In any case if it could be related to the Jewish year I think Shavuot or Sukkot would be closer in the respective year circle.

        An “internet friend” once told me he is highly suspicious of the word “Judeo Christian” traditions, he associated it with the right wing. Apart from the obvious influences in all Monotheist traditions. This Thanksgivukkah, apart from it being nonsense feels like that to me too. And your example, the lady, seems to fit, MRW.

        But I am still puzzled by this specific comment:

        OlegR says:
        December 1, 2013 at 11:13 am

        What’s wrong with you Phillip, i mean, seriously ?

        What a pity he doesn’t tell us what exactly is on his mind. Would be interesting. But in its shortness he gives the impression that his response is some a priori type of statement, nothing to discuss further and I guess that attitude triggered my response.

      • American
        American on December 2, 2013, 11:38 am

        Why going into all this nitpicking over Thanksgiving?
        Is it religious, is it not….where did it begin first, blah,blah,blah.

        Observe please….

        Thanks-Giving equals Giving Thanks

        to something or someone or to your lucky stars or who or whatever for whatever you have.

        I imagine the pagan’s offerings to their deities was a form of Thanksgiving for whatever favor.

        It is what is it to whoever. No need for anyone for to say what someone elses tradition means.

  2. talknic
    talknic on December 1, 2013, 11:33 am

    A dysexlic gentile walked into a bra and ordered a drink for his god

    A dysexlic Jew walked into a bra and ordered a drink for his g-d

  3. Cliff
    Cliff on December 1, 2013, 11:34 am

    So lame. How does her husband make a living off of this crap?

    I don’t think he meant any ill will by it, but then again since it’s so awful and tacky with low production values (obviously; not like it’s being entered for Best Short Film or anything) – its difficult to interpret the sincerity.

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby on December 1, 2013, 12:13 pm

      I stopped watching, made no sense to me.

      But says alot about family Rudoren’s obsession with Israel.

    • Ellen
      Ellen on December 1, 2013, 12:21 pm

      Lame for sure. But maybe it is an in-your-face parody of a parody? But if so, even then the jokes of group stereotypes are not funny. Stale as a slice wonder bread left out for a day.

      Who pays to produce this stuff?

  4. American
    American on December 1, 2013, 11:54 am

    Jewish humor is lost on me…..too much of the ‘self-deprecating’ + the ‘other deprecating’.
    I might give it one ha-.
    ‘Deprecating’ or ‘making fun of ‘ has become standard script for what passes as humor, wit and comedy these days…..all snide and snark…..lack of imagination imo.
    My idea of funny is more like the British ‘Mr. Bean’ TV show—that took ordinary life of a unordinary ‘character ‘and turned it into hilarious misadventures .
    I rather watch the old Road Runner and Bugs Bunny cartoons of my youth than todays ‘snide’ and not really funny humor.

  5. talknic
    talknic on December 1, 2013, 12:16 pm

    A gentile pig walked into a Synagogue in an illegal settlement in the West Bank and asked the Rabbi if he could convert

    The Rabbi said, “Sure, just put this lipstick on.”

  6. Citizen
    Citizen on December 1, 2013, 12:41 pm

    What’s really funny is that jokes against America’s “whitebread” culture has been a mainstream thread for decades in the American cultural media. So who has a better hold on their own limitations, and cultural biases, the 98% Gentile America, or America’s Israel First Jews and majority Israel? Why do we Americans have to go to Israeli media presses to read news and opinions that should be prevalent in America?

    Hey, cracker, feel oppressed?

  7. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka on December 1, 2013, 1:28 pm

    It’s some pretty rancid stuff. Bigoted against non-Jews, trading in bigoted stereotypes of Jews and non-Jews alike (and bad stereotypes at that.)

    But even worse, it’s not funny. Not in the least. Not in concept nor execution. The expression “Thanksgivukkah” was hackneyed and lame when it was first invented.

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones on December 1, 2013, 3:39 pm

      I guess if you are in a mixed marriage and have a certain sense of humor

      actually i care about christian religious elemen+s and would not want to see them put down – and not only Christian ones

      OK, “want to study Torah” sounds funny, but I would feel ashamed at making it a joke. Yes, actually I would want to study it a little bit if a friend asked. It would be fun and interesting.

      I want people’s mutual faith to be accepted.

  8. just
    just on December 1, 2013, 1:39 pm

    “At 1:17 of this appearance at Penn last month, Max Blumenthal said Rudoren is “an openly-Zionist artist who’s deeply immersed in Jewish Israeli society.””

    I must disagree with Max on this one.

    Rudoren is no “artist”. His ‘work’ is that of a schmuck.

  9. Ecru
    Ecru on December 1, 2013, 1:46 pm

    Weak and really rather sad. If they want to see how to really mock majority culture they should take a few lessons from these guys (though this is Brits being sent up not Americans).

  10. jon s
    jon s on December 1, 2013, 3:58 pm

    In answer to the caption: (OK, it’s not a gentile joke, whatever that is)

    A Hasidic man, with a long beard, payis (earlocks), a kaftan (a long black coat), and shtreiml (the traditional fur hat worn by Chassidic Jews), walks into a bar with a multi-colored parrot on his shoulder.
    The bartender says: “Where’d you get that?”
    The parrot replies: “Brooklyn. There’s thousands of them.”

  11. W.Jones
    W.Jones on December 1, 2013, 4:13 pm

    For what it’s worth, Chanukkah does have a “parallel” in Christianity, but it is not really a replica, but rather an “analogy”. The thing is that Christianity is a fulfillment of Messia[ie. Christ]nic prophecies. So you have to look at what part of Christianity fulfills things in Hanukkah.

    (1)Hanukkah is the feast of (re)dedication of the temple that covered 8 days. So what is the temple? Christ’s body. Was there a time when Christ’s body went some kind of dedication related to 8 days? Well, (2)Circumcision and dedication of Him physically in the Temple was on the 8th day. There is a holiday for this, which is held after Christmas, naturally. Now what would that have to do with anything really important for people’s spirituality? Well, (3) 8 days after He entered Jerusalem, his body underwent a dedication of another kind- His resurrection.

    Perhaps you will consider that a stretch. And I do not remember ever hearing it put that way, except that St. Augustine tied 2. and 3. together. However strange it may sound, this is the way Christian thinking works. It sees ancient Judaism as full of prophecies and visions of meaning that are revealed with the coming of the Messiah. For them, all these ancient rituals are pointing to the Messiah and to higher meanings.

    So in this sense, the “parallels” would be: (1) dedication of the temple with 8 days, (2) dedication of the Messiah’s body as a temple with 8 days, and (3)this also having another parallel to the 8 days in Jerusalem and resurrection.

    So basically in old school Christianity Hanukkah or Hebrew Torah reading per se could not be made fun of, because it would be sacreligous for Christianity. So you should not find priests involved in such a clip, although I guess these days anything goes in some churches.
    (Warning, not old school:)

    Thinking it through therefore, making fun of Thanksgiving is actually less problematic for both religions.

  12. ckg
    ckg on December 1, 2013, 5:52 pm

    Gentile jokes? Woody Allen would probably think most of us to be anti-Semites. I think this is one of his more [in]famous film lines:

    Sonja: Boris is trying to commit suicide – last week he contemplated inhaling next to an Armenian.

  13. Rusty Pipes
    Rusty Pipes on December 1, 2013, 6:20 pm

    It uses the Zionist trope that Jews are only guests (in any country but Israel) to depict their presence at a Thanksgiving meal as the uninvited guests from hell. Now that over half of the American population is not white, depicting the standard Americans as the Irish Catholic Sullivan’s nuclear family fails to recognize that America is capable of incorporating a variety of cultures and holiday traditions (including Jewish).

    Maybe it will sell well in Israel.

  14. wondering jew
    wondering jew on December 1, 2013, 7:10 pm

    The war of ideas in the Middle East- Yes. This is the war of ideas. Deal with a video by Rudoren’s hubby and not with the article by Wieseltier defending Shavit’s point of view. No, let’s not deal with ideas, let’s deal with shlock.

    • Donald
      Donald on December 1, 2013, 7:29 pm

      “Deal with a video by Rudoren’s hubby and not with the article by Wieseltier defending Shavit’s point of view”

      I haven’t looked at this video. I gather the point of this post is that it shows a form of bigotry against gentiles by someone Jewish. That’s an interesting topic–prejudice goes in all directions.

      But I agree with you that Phil should put up a post about the Wieseltier review of Shavit’s book. It seems well worth discussing and I’m surprised Phil has mostly ignored it, only mentioning it in passing. The NYT is biased, but it is still regarded (rightly or wrongly) as the most prestigious and influential news organization in America and if they choose to review Shavit’s book and at least acknowledge (while also apologizing for) the Nakba, it seems to me that we ought to be dissecting it.

      I’m wondering what sorts of letters the NYT will publish in response, and if the backhanded Nakba acknowledgement/apologetics has some larger cultural meaning in liberal US circles. First it was David Remnick giving Shavit a platform in the New Yorker, and then the NYT essentially endorsing him.

    • philweiss
      philweiss on December 1, 2013, 11:29 pm

      Fair enough, Yonah but Wieseltier review was a week ago and we did mention it.

    • traintosiberia
      traintosiberia on December 2, 2013, 1:17 pm

      Stepping into the failing propaganda war , the media is honoring the tradition of fabricating a perception of understanding and creating a false consensus on behalf of the the unsuspecting readers by trying literary route through reviewing this book. The [Zionist] organization as early as 1947 was looking for scribes to write articles for their causes in periodicals ,magazines,and journals like Harper’s or Foreign Affairs to stimulate intellectual curiosity in line with its own goal . AZEC started distributing and buying in bulk the book like Palestine: Land of Promises by Walter Clay Lowder-milk turning it into a best seller .
      ( Israel in the Mind of America )
      NYT is never going to review the book like Transparent Cabal by Sniegoski or Quicksand by G Wawro or books by James Petras or by author who questioned 911 findings or Iraq war or the move to Iran war

  15. eljay
    eljay on December 1, 2013, 7:40 pm

    The Rosenblums – a family of aggressive, self-righteous Jews – invade and occupy the home(land) of the Sullivans, a non-Jewish family that appears reluctant to “share” their home(land).

    (The Sullivans must be anti-Semites, missing yet another opportunity to embrace peace.)

    The Rosenblums then proceed to occupy and settle into the various rooms in the home(land) and to dominate the Sullivans.

    What a strange (Jewish) state of affairs!

  16. RoHa
    RoHa on December 1, 2013, 7:59 pm

    “The Sullivans are bland,”

    Does that mean “not loud and obnoxious”?

    ” all dressed in red”

    ??? I don’t see the point of this.

    ” they eat white bread and mayonnaise.”

    Why is that bad or funny?

  17. mcohen
    mcohen on December 1, 2013, 8:14 pm

    Hey i thought it was funny ,the turkey leg in the handbag is universal,my grandmother did it at weddings.lighten up people relegion is destined for some cross pollenation in the internet age,especially in america with the inter marriage boom
    a social contract with G-d should be open to all
    wonder if the turkey in the video was kosher slaughtered or just baptised by the pastor

  18. annie
    annie on December 2, 2013, 12:37 am

    i’ve heard the word ‘Thanksgivukkah’ several times over the last week and assumed it was a combo thanksgiving/hanukkah celebrated by the american jewish community. the film would have been funnier if both the families were jewish, one secular and one haredi.

    but juxtaposing these two holidays in a humorous competition sort of implies thanksgiving isn’t as much for american jews as it is for american protestants or any other religious group. it’s not a religious holiday it’s an american holiday like 4th of july (sort of). understandably it’s offensive to native americans.

    it may have made more sense if they barged thru the door on christmas.

    i’m for letting it all hang out and people showing their stripes. next they could juxtapose this same segment of their culture with a black family in brooklyn on thanksgiving. ha ha. racist humor is so fun.

    • mcohen
      mcohen on December 2, 2013, 1:54 am


      “ha ha.humor is so fun.”

      next big thing will be Ramakippur ,an all round fast festival for moslems and jews and instead of calling the celebratory meal at the end of Ramadan Eid ,they will name it Yid
      perhaps goat soup with knEIDlach the celebratory dish

      hey annie (get your spoon)

  19. Nevada Ned
    Nevada Ned on December 2, 2013, 1:18 am

    Chanukkah is a very minor Jewish holiday, hardly mentioned in the Bible at all. It has grown in recent decades because it comes around the same time of year as Christmas, and American Jews didn’t want to be left out when their Gentile neighbors celebrated Christmas.
    For observant Jews, the important holidays are Rosh Hashona and Yom Kippur, not Chanukkah.

    Actually, among Christians, Easter is the big holiday, not Christmas. Easter is the time to remember the crucifixion and the [alleged] resurrection of Jesus. Christmas for centuries was a very minor holiday. Not now. Today, Christmas is a thoroughly commercial holiday, celebrating the modern culture of capitalism, in which consumption of commodities becomes the center of life.
    Tom Lehrer said it all:
    “Angels we have heard on high,
    tell us to go out and BUY!”

    • jon s
      jon s on December 2, 2013, 11:02 am

      Nevada Ned, Hanukkah isn’t in the Bible, period. The Book of Maccabees (1 and 2) are in the Apocrypha.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on December 2, 2013, 12:18 pm

        Further to that and to what WJ said above, the reason why certain books were treated as canonical and some apocryphal is obscure. We Protestants agree with the contents of the Jewish canon, but Catholics and Orthodox hold the ‘deuterocanonical’ books in higher regard.
        There is a reference in John ch. 10 to Jesus’ attending the Feast of Dedication or Encaenia, which is presumably the Maccabean festival. Constantine called the dedication his basilica in Jerusalem ‘encaenia’ and the word has been adopted by Oxford University for the occasion when it confers honorary degrees. Whether this is a hint of eighteenth-century Christian Zionism I don’t know.

  20. Qualtrough
    Qualtrough on December 2, 2013, 2:21 am

    If it was funny I wouldn’t care, even if it does make fun of my WASP heritage. But it is just not funny. Do they make money on these things? If so, how?

  21. G. Seauton
    G. Seauton on December 2, 2013, 2:36 am

    This is yet another shocking and distressing example of anti-Hibernianism, the oldest and most vicious hatred in the world. I intend to report it to the HDL.

  22. MRW
    MRW on December 2, 2013, 4:44 am

    Tacky and junior highschoolish. If I were Jody Roderen, I wouldn’t be tweeting her husband’s lack of talent, not when she represents the NYT. It’s embarrassing. And he’s going to indiegogo to get financing? Or was that part of the ‘joke’?
    To non-Americans.

    There was an uproar in this country because some stores opened on Thanksgiving for shopping. (The real reason is that they didn’t want Amazon to get a leg up on their sales.) Traditionally, about the only thing open on Thanksgiving was the store attached to the self-service gas station. For office workers and salaried employees, it’s a four-day weekend, the only one in an American year. It doesn’t occur on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, all religious days.

    • Bumblebye
      Bumblebye on December 2, 2013, 9:37 am

      Walmart extended its ‘Black Friday’ deals to its british Asda stores. There was an awful scrum involving injuries in a Northern Ireland one. My son was quite bewildered by the heaving local store when he and his wife went for an early morning pre-work shop on Friday, expecting the place to be nearly empty! Hope it doesn’t catch on.

  23. Citizen
    Citizen on December 2, 2013, 7:17 am

    “Freedom From Want”–as the 4th Freedom:

  24. hophmi
    hophmi on December 2, 2013, 10:37 am

    “Max Blumenthal said Rudoren is “an openly-Zionist artist who’s deeply immersed in Jewish Israeli society.””

    Max is an openly-anti-Zionist artist deeply immersed in the anti-Israel far-left. What’s your point? Max actually writes about Israel. Gary Rudoren doesn’t.

    • Citizen
      Citizen on December 3, 2013, 6:16 am

      @ hophmi
      Please reread your own quote. It points directly to the enmeshment of Jewish Israeli Society and Jewish American society in terms of bias, bigotry, delivered via crappy, crass jokes.

  25. Citizen
    Citizen on December 2, 2013, 11:10 am

    Woody Allen internet group chiming in on Woody’s use of white bread and mayo in his films:!topic/

    I only now was able to view the whole clip due to an internet connection problem. I think I state the obvious if I say the whole thing is a comic sketch on the mere happenstance
    of the American holiday of Thanksgiving with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Woody
    ridicule of both satirizes white bread and mayo versus rye bread and mustard, in terms of culinary cultural upbringing between goys and jews, and combine this with disappointment via absurdity (at least) with both Judaism and Christianity as practiced, at least, by both. The clip here brings in a totally secular American holiday officially devoted to enjoying a good meal with one’s family and recognizing this is an American goal, freedom from want. Would you like to see the creator of this clip subject here do a reverse shtick, that is, it opens with the equally stereotypical Jewish American family sitting down at holiday–and their little boy cries out, “I see Gentile people!” Then, the vow comes to “take back our holiday!”

  26. Citizen
    Citizen on December 2, 2013, 11:31 am

    The big insult in this clip is that it directly implies that gentile Americans think Thanksgiving day is solely their holiday to celebrate. The happenstance of both holidays falling on the same day cannot carry the weight of the worn-out jokes comprising the attempt to be funny.

  27. Pamela Olson
    Pamela Olson on December 2, 2013, 3:14 pm

    That was… just really dumb. It would be interesting to hear what the filmmakers think the point of it is. I can’t come up with anything reasonable.

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