IT DEPENDS ON WHAT THE DEFINITION OF “JEW” IS
Bryan at Arguing with Signposts makes an interesting point vis-a-vis the Easterbrook flap:
[Y]ou can be a Jew and also an atheist. You can also be a Jew and a Palestinian. Confusing? Sure. But that’s a trait that’s unique to the term Jew. Oh, sure, some people use it about Christians, or Muslims or Hindus, but that’s a problem definitionally. It is categorically impossible to be a Christian and an atheist at the same time. Or a Muslim and an atheist at the same time.
But it’s NOT categorically impossible to be a Jew and an atheist, because ethnically, Jews are people who claim descent from Isaac. You can be a Jew and an atheist just like you can be an Irishman and an atheist (I’m Scotch/Irish – Black Dutch myself).
That’s confusing because there is also the religious practice of Judaism, which seems to include a belief in God. The religious practice of Judaism is not confined to people who claim descent from Abraham and Isaac. You can be a Jew who converted to the faith, and also happen to be an Irishman. (I’m not a Jew – either one, btw).
So how does this relate to Easterbrook? Well, he seems to be holding Eisner and other Jewish Holywood executives up to a higher moral standard because of their Jewishness. But he doesn’t ask himself what kind of Jews they are? Are they cultural Jews? or religious Jews?
True. But, apparently, they aren’t the kind of Jews that worship money above all else.
Update (0910): Glenn Reynolds notes that there has been essentially no coverage of the Easterbrook flap outside the blogosphere. Which, of course, is good and bad. One wonders whether Easterbrook would have been fired from ESPN were it not for bloggers fanning flames.
One bit of misperception that keeps popping up, though, is the idea that the ESPN gig was Easterbrook’s primary source of income. I don’t know the level of compensation he gets/got from his various gigs, but the TMQ column was essentially a hobby. He’s a Brookings scholar and otherwise publishes quite widely. He’s not a professional sports writer.
Update (1343): As a commenter notes below, Meryl Yourish has talked to Easterbrook and reports that TMQ was “a huge chunk of his income.” That’s truly a shame.