Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Michelle Wolf’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner jokes

Michelle Wolf‘s gotten a lot of flak for some of her jokes at the 2018 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. The president himself was not there. I’ve seen it almost live and I want to say something back on some of them, and suggest what approach I would have liked better.

Every time before, I’ve seen Michelle Wolf at The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, I found her hilarious. Very sharp, sometimes, but always funny. Well, not this time, except for a few remarks.

Some of her jokes were not funny to anyone, I presume. They were plain undecorated stale hateful remarks in my ears. Even if you hate people, your job as a comedian is to find a funny angle about them. That is not to make them come out more human, more palatable, but rather sweeten the bitterness of having to be on one planet with powerful people who behave horribly.

A standup artist does not call people who act horribly horrible. You call them something funny, an understatement, an over-the-top characterization, you make an unexpected comparison, or something.

You don’t just show off your rancor, to show that you’re politically correct. It’s not your therapy — it’s a session for the audience.

So, I would have talked about the two White Wicked White House Witches. Then I would have said: The First Lady and Ivanka? NO! We don’t attack the hostages. I’m talking about these very smart spinsters. No, I don’t mean single women. The weathercocks that if they would stand on a church, the church would take off, that’s how fast they spin.

Sara and Kellyanne, yes! Why do you think they’re the only two who’re left on the White House payroll? They’re smarter and nicer than all others together. Everyone can lie and cheat. The art is to do it so well that ever the whole press corps can hardly keep up. Now, that is artful.

You see, if you do it like that, at least you give them some credit. They were both there in evening gowns. And people who like them may think that it’s funny because it was overstated. (In fact, it was not, but it does point out their job descriptions that must mention untruthfulness.) And the rest knows that it’s not an exaggeration. Everyone will laugh.

You don’t say that you’re pro-choice and the baby should drop dead. (If this rudeness was an attempt to make fun of pro-choice activists, it failed. It was too rude.) You make fun of both sides’ immoral positions: pro-choice activists being right that women should decide, but often hiding that abortion is a heart-wrenching decision; pro-life activists being right that abortion is terrible but often sawing fear and guilt instead of supporting pregnant women with trust.

Because listen, there ARE very nice people on both sides of the aisle….

I better liked last year’s Hasan Minhaj’s jokes at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. But it’s not a competition. I’m again looking forward to further appearances by Michelle Wolf.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is generated by the new bore on the block, AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. Or not at all because he doesn't claim G^d talks to him. He gives him good ideas—that's all. MM doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 2000 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe too, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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