IN DEFENSE OF JEWS IN BUSINESS
A belated post. As Ron Unz would say, “I’ve been too busy with my software projects!” I’m also in the midst of writing a piece about American national restoration, but I wanted to react to an interesting trend.
The trend is, at least on Twitter and its derivatives, the resurgence of the “Slimy Jew in Business” stereotype.
Admittedly, recent high-publicity cases (whose factuality I don’t doubt) do not paint a very rosy picture of Jewish business conduct: Kanye’s bizarro trainer, Kanye’s complaints about his Jewish agents, the Sam Bankman-Fried implosion, the notoriety of super-censor Yoel Roth, and a few older cases that now naturally come to memory such as the revolting Adam Neumann from “WeWork” (lol), and the ghost of Bernie Maddoff.
The stereotype of the slimy Jew comports with the contents of Henry Ford’s literary project, “The International Jew” (available on Ron Unz’s website). Ford complains specifically about the lack of gentlemanly conduct among Jews in business, in defiance of more traditional Anglo norms of straightforwardness and good taste.
So is the stereotype true? Is it simply salience bias? Something deeper?
My Own Jewish Wandering in Corporate America
I’ll explain later what I think is the source of Henry Ford’s perspective. First, let us travel down my own corporate memory lane. To remain anonymous I am not going to name any specifics, but I promise to provide equivalent alternatives.
As I wrote before, I have somewhat of a meaningful mileage in the bowels of corporate America. More so, the functional uselessness of my profession, management consulting, becomes an advantage when assessing the culture of Corporate America. We consultants have a front-row view into the corporate arena. Not only is a management consultant, especially in large companies, exposed to one’s own employer, but also to dozens of other big-ticket companies, all very corporate-y with hyperactive HR departments and a convoluted hierarchy filled with all corporate types imaginable.
My credentials established as a qualified corporate observer, let me then opine on the Jewish corporate question.
Amongst my large and convoluted employers, think Beloitte or Herbst & Drang, the most cynical types were normally non-Jewish. For instance, I remember a partner who decided out of the blue to “create” a new advisory product, something idiotic like “Transformation.” Suddenly all of us were ordered to author “whitepapers” (corporate speak for low-effort essays that are then published in debased business magazines and websites) about “transformation.” The company quickly created a “transformation” website and by an invisible signal, we all added that website’s link to our email signatures.
Needless to say, this was absolute stupidity without any business sense beyond a cynical wag-the-dog campaign to attract new clients to our fake expertise in “transformation.” The partner leading it, and his various sycophants and allies, were non-Jewish. A few were immigrants from the UK (which apparently has a terrible and completely puffy business culture), and the rest were just generic American corporate types.
Another example. One of my financially distressed clients, let’s say it was “Delaware State Health System” was suffering from messy financial management, iatrogenic infections beyond the norm, and an impossible supply chain. Yet one of the organization’s leaders was completely obsessed with launching a “Transgender Health Center” in the midst of this complete dysfunction. She wasn’t Jewish. In fact, a few Jewish doctors kept making fun of her.
Here’s another one. After it had been incubating in academia for a couple of decades, the Obama administration, that ever monster-birthing Gaia, brought to life a weird healthcare idea called “Value-Based Care.” Long story short, it was an attempt to transform (of course!) healthcare by increasing bureaucratic control over doctors so they get paid based on metrics calculated by administrators. Good or bad, nobody had any idea what it meant. As you may imagine, that did not prevent consulting companies from immediately launching “value-based” services.
Imagine conferences, whitepapers, websites, “assessment frameworks,” blah, blah, blah. The corporate apparatchiks pushing this, at least where I worked, were all non-Jewish whites, plus a few blacks who naturally got excited about things involving the government. There were Jews there, obviously. We are not uncommon in business! But interestingly most Jews I interacted with just continued to focus on concrete bread-and-butter business offerings such as technology platforms and accounting advice.
Last example. A decade ago somebody decided that every healthcare provider in America had to transition from a system of billing codes known as ICD-9, to the newest version called… ICD-10. It sounds fairly trivial, especially in the age of computers, but consulting companies made it sound like an asteroid was about to hit the Earth. We were tasked with scaring clients with prognostications that their revenues would drop, that they had to obtain special lines of credit, that they must boost their hiring of medical coders, and above all – that they better hire consultants to fix it all.
The whole thing ended up as a non-event, and trust me – not because of the over-preparation recommended by consultants. It was just not that big of a deal. At the company I worked for at the time, the scare campaign was mostly led by old-stock Southerners. Blue blazers, peach-colored dress shirts, elegant wrist watches, holding the door for you, you know the drill. Good manners sort of stopped at the bank, I guess.
Who Is More Annoying?
So at least based on my sampling, the “slimy Jew” stereotype is incorrect. Corporate America is very slimy indeed and filled with groupthink overall, but I can’t detect more slime and groupthink among Jewish corporate types. You may suspect my objectivity being myself a Semite, but let me remind you that I often write very harsh things about my own tribe, for instance here.
In fact, I actually find Jews in corporate America to be LESS annoying. Perhaps this is due to a kind of lack of reverence for authority. If you wish to take a jab at the HR ladies or at your Corporate Communications department’s stupid emails, the Jewish boomer is most likely your best and most attentive listener. Somebody named Herb or Mort who’s fun to grab lunch with.
Do you think Woody Allen would take seriously a DEI session?
It is actually my experience that while indeed, especially in Academia, Jews lead the way in fanaticism and zealotry, the working Jew tends to be highly non-deferential towards authority. Even liberal Jews who otherwise support trite, progressive nonsense, tend to be non-deferential in the workplace.
I can’t really assess the veracity of Ford’s analysis, but I suppose this non-deferential nature had something to do with it. It works both ways – the same natural rebelliousness that quickly tires out of corporate BS was probably also manifesting itself in the distasteful mocking of handshake deals, evening dress codes, and country club memberships.
If I had to identify the most annoying corporate types in contemporary America by background, Jews would really not be at the top of my list. Who would be? White and Indian women and aspirational blacks would be at the lead, and then the BS, slime, and groupthink are pretty much divided evenly across all cubicle dwellers and their managers.
I acknowledge that my sampling is not necessarily scientific, but paraphrasing Aristotle, this is the level of accuracy that the discipline allows.
P.S. I should add that the lamest thing in the world is to live up to one’s caricature. A homosexual obsessed with scented candles, an angry black man in love with watermelons, etc. And so, even if it’s not fair, Jews in business should hold themselves to a higher standard of rectitude.
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