The Big Sunday: Thousands visit and The Shtick

Yesterday was quite surreal.

After The Sunday Age published a story on this blog, we received unprecedengted traffic: 3,235 people visited the site (according to Wordpress statistics). This is a record for the blog, and outstrips the numbers that arrived when the initial Age story was published a couple of months ago.

This brought an expected spike in comments, but I was surprised at how few negative responses there were.

There were no anti-Semites, few anti-Zionists, and very few angry “conservative” Jews. Most new commenters fell into one of two groups: the first comprised the interested and sympathetic non-Jews, fascinated that the community is not monolithic in its opinions.

The second involved a number of disaffected Jews who were glad of a public dissenting voice, or who felt that there was either no  place for them in this community.

Another observation about yesterday’s numbers (and numbers since I returned and outed myself) is that there are generally more readers now than  before the hiatus, but comment numbers are far lower. I am not entirely sure why this is the case.

Nevertheless, yesterday gave me a lot pleasure:  seeing both new and old screen-names weighing in on various issues was wonderful. It’s why I started this blog.


Some commenters contend I’m a rabid publicity hound. In truth, publicity about me (as opposed to the blog) is not something I particularly relish. But if I want the blog promoted, I have to get over any misgivings and dive in….

So even though I was vibrating with anxiety yesterday when I first arrived, the good folks filming The Shtick (a Jewish TV show on Channel 31), put me at ease pretty quickly. I had no inkling that it would be so much fun.

I was interviewed by three lovely people, Barry Zayon, Candy Hertz, and Adam Krongold. They did their best to put me at ease, but that didn’t quell my nervous coughing fit in the middle of filming. I think people were perhaps worried for a bit that I was dying.

After my bit was over, I hung around and watched the rest of the production. The cameraderie, the good humour, the silliness, the creative spirit, and the refusal to let nihilistic cool overtake the urge to do something positive, was a revelation.

There is far too much concern in the community about avoiding looking foolish. It clamps down on the spirit. The Shtik is a brilliant tonic for that. Helen Mizrahi’s Bubba, and Nathan Serry’s Rebbe are genuinely hilarious. And then there’s the brilliant dynamic between the intense seriousness of director, Terry Flander, and the languid humour of producer, Henry Greener, who asked me on the show in the first place.

The community needs these creative outlests: these groups of people unafraid to be silly, bright, enthusiastic. It needs places in which the pursuit of cool as an end in itself can be abandoned.

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Related posts:

  1. Sensible Jew in The Sunday Age
  2. Reader Response 5: Israel, Kangaroo Courts, Unity, Speaking Out, and Subheadings
  3. Winning Friends and Influencing People 3: Anti-Semitism, The Hiatus, and Secret GLBT Business.
  4. Reader Response 7: Responding to our Non/Anti-Zionist Readers
  5. SJ Signs off – temporarily

11 Responses to “The Big Sunday: Thousands visit and The Shtick”

  1. Princess says:

    Wow, with your post about the Shtick, you’ve just made it uncool to be cool. Now that’s really cool!

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  2. Eli says:

    Hey Alex,

    It was great to see the mostly positive responses, about the blogs return.It also important that for it (the blog) to be an effective forum beyond just its place in cyberspace , you , as you rightly put it need to self promote, no matter that it goes against the grain.

    Having been on the shtick myself to promote Panim, I agree that the people involved have a great dynamic, and Henry to date has done an awesome job with very little resources.

    However The Shtick in my opinion suffers terribly from a hackneyed style,lack of pace, poor editing and overly long segments.Those failings along with the stereotypical Bubba and Rabbi are cliched artifacts of a long gone era in Jewish/Yiddish comedy, best left to a once year concert at the Montifiore Homes. I made the same critism of a similar section on Galus Australis.

    The Shtick lacks a genuine spark. As a creative piece of media it fails to deliver a definitive message,it fails to inspire and worse still in its mediocratic style is discourteous to its audience. What is needed is a fresh approach, perhaps not cool as an end in it self, but certainly a much tighter, pacer production in terms of its content, editing style and yes dare I say presenters.

    Being silly ,bright and enthusiastic can be very quaint, but in medium which demands constant attention to innovation and quality coupled with an audience that is certainly more sophisticated in its viewing demands. Surely a more contemporary approach would provide Melbourne with a program that reflects its vibrancy instead of an bygone obsession with 50’s Shtick!

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  3. Princess says:

    Wish you would be geared to setting trends. Really love the blog!

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  4. Eli says:

    “Little house of the Prairie” (The life and adventures of the Ingalls family in the 19th century American West-made in 1974) was charming, and for good belly laugh watch Mal Z. Lawrence one of the old Catskills mountains comedians still plying his trade Wejew media.

    But i agree to disagree.

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  5. Eli says:

    oops mistyped the tag in the link
    weJew media

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  6. Margarita Stein says:

    Hi Alex,

    after watching the Stick I became more and more worried bout your understanding of community issues. You are trying to come across like a poor girl without any rights and all the answers. it’s all wrong. people you are criticising are working very hard to have our community united and protected. if you have an idea (real idea, not just offend hard working people) you can ALWAYS approach them. however you are the one who is choosing backstabbing tactics and that is not on.
    I personally believe that you have enough energy to do something positive. for that you have to have a stand, a vision – which you are lacking in my eyes. once you are clear on things (hopefully more clear than P.Gareth) you have to look in the history to see if it’s not repeating our mistakes. from there you can grow.
    one more thing – if you really think – we need unity within our society and we should start with our community. at no time I would say – don’t think, but learn how to work with people who know some rules of this life.
    I think that positive thinking and acknoledgement of our community will help you and all of us.

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  7. Eli says:

    “Little house of the Prairie” (The life and adventures of the Ingalls family in the 19th century American West-made in 1974) was charming, and for good belly laugh watch Mal Z. Lawrence one of the old Catskills mountains comedians still plying his trade Wejew media.

    But i agree to disagree.

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  8. sensiblejew says:

    Hi Princess, and welcome.


    I’m not sure I’m really geared to be setting trends, though.

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  9. sensiblejew says:

    Hi Eli. You’re absolutely right about promotion.

    But we’ll have to agree to disagree on the Shtick. I think if it tried for sleek and streamlined, it would lose its charm. I had some real belly laughs at Nathan Serry and Helen Mizrahi’s bits.

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  10. sensiblejew says:

    Hi Princess.

    Thanks so much.

    I hope you continue to read it and share your thoughts with us in the future.

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  11. sensiblejew says:

    Thanks, Eli. I’ll definitely take a look at that.

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