An Open Letter to Carey Purcell


I was in love with a Jewish woman for nine years. I am also a goy. On behalf of my many Jewish friends, who have claimed me “an honorary Jew,” I am thoroughly repulsed by your detestable anti-Semitic Washington Post essay, which says far more about you than it does about Jewish men.  It memorializes you indelibly as one of the most unattractive women in New York City. As Frank Zappa once said, the mind is the ugliest part of the body.  And yours is a very ugly mind indeed. I don’t give a fuck how strong your martini is. (Oh, did I offend your quaint Miss Manners temperament disguised within a intuitively hateful core by using the word “fuck”? I am so fucking sorry!) You’ve revealed so much ugliness about yourself that I would never want to date you. If the attitude you carry is truly reflected in your essay, then I’d venture to say that most men, whether Jewish or not, would not want to date you. “Interfaith relationships,” as you so deem them, are the most normal, indeed perhaps the most commonplace, relationships for many who date in this region of the nation. By your logic, the two women I dated in my twenties who married men after dating me (and who I am still friendly with) are part of a vast conspiracy of dark-haired women who have it in for me. It is, in short, a diseased fallacy.

At any time during your essay, you could have pointed to your flaws. You could have revealed yourself as vulnerable. This is what the best essays do.  Essay writing is all about striving to be the most human. But you opted to make yourself “look good” and, in so doing, you made yourself look very bad and very disingenuous indeed. The fact that you are so prissy and intolerant of anyone who does not conform to your loose religious views suggests that you not the “liberal” you think you are and that you are never going to find anyone. That you cannot willfully accept differences or find happy compromises pretty much says to me that you will live out a life of endless and superficial affairs. And your attitude is contemptible. Do you truly not understand that “a lackadaisical Jew” falls into the stereotype of the lazy Jew? The claim that you know more about Jewish faith when you have not grown up in it is the height of condescending hubris. Yes, the friends of your Jewish boyfriends liked you because Jewish folks in general are an incredibly welcoming bunch. For all your talk of raising a family with “an educated and respectful view of the world,” you fail to parse precisely how you have fallen short on that front.

If you truly know more about being Jewish than your partners, how then could you not possibly know that Jewish mothers can suss out the most pedantic intelligence known to humankind?  How could you not possibly anticipate that you would be contacted, interrogated, asked numerous questions, and badgered into arguments? This is the deal when you date someone Jewish. If you’re a good person, you roll with the punches and learn to appreciate the mother. If you’re an asshole, you write in the Washington Post that you “didn’t want this kind of involvement to be part of our relationship.”  Listen, Carey, you have to like the parents. That’s the way a relationship works. Is it any wonder why that man left you? Is it any wonder why you weren’t invited to seders? You essentially spit in the face of your boyfriend’s family. And if you want someone to stick around, you don’t do that. Relatively minor? Girl, you truly have no fucking clue.

It’s extraordinarily rich (and frankly it made me laugh) of you to claim that “not being Jewish was not the official reason either of these relationships ended,” while you remain completely incognizant about your own lack of self-awareness. I can only imagine how these conversations went. Jewish identity, whether one is Orthodox or not, is a big deal. That you wished to secularize (and thus vitiate) it during your conversations with these men says more about your inability to listen
and empathize than anything else.

A pattern you should pay attention to? You really don’t know the half of it. You invent the “last act of defiance” thesis because the truth of the matter is that you don’t have the guts to be honest about what you’re incapable of confessing: that you can’t accept other people who don’t fit within your narrowly rigid definitions, that you won’t find an enduring love unless you become more tolerant and embracing of other people (whether Jewish or not). And if you’re complaining about heartbreak, you’ll get no sympathy from me, kid. One of heartbreak’s great jokes is that it feels so crippling even as it is incredibly common. You can either roll with the punches and become stronger and allow your heart to regenerate and allow your soul to become more flexible and accepting. Or you can blame everyone else but yourself and have the effrontery to write a disgusting WaPo essay predicated on bigotry (complete with your insensitively anti-Semitic cocktail), cash a check, and never learn a goddamned thing.

You need serious help. And you need to stop writing such callow and superficial and subconsciously hateful bullshit. And you really need to take several steps back and accept that the problem here may very well be you and that the beauty in accepting other people into your life usually comes about because one is honest about one’s failings.



[4/4/2018 UPDATE: Carey Purcell has apologized. I think this is a good start. I believe that she can change, but I think she has a lot of significant and honest soul-searching to do about the hate and bigotry she expressed in her vile essay (much as I have been contemplating why I was so driven by a white heat fury in my response, which a few friends have smartly called me on). This is not easy, but it is possible. Let us try to be kind and give Miss Purcell the space to take a very deep look at the anti-Semitism she has perpetuated and that she will hopefully address with thought and genuine compassion.]