Grandma senses a decline in the quality of American celebrities.
Not too many movie stars died last year. Doris Day is at the top of the list. She was 97. She was a singer, dancer, movie star and close hawer with Rock Hudson, who’s already dead. Some of the other movie stars to go were Albert Finney, Rip Torn and Peter Fonda.
On the TV it was Tim Conway, Valerie Harper, Diahann Carroll, Luke Perry and Grumpy Cat, (which, if you ask me, was a dybbuk).
Some music people died too. Eddie Money I know from the kids. He’s from Brooklyn, a couple blocks from us, but Ginger Baker? Her I never heard of.
Old news it is that Brad Pitt’s and Angelina Jolie’s marriage went kaput years ago. He said it was because she’s a control freak, a super yenta, and she’s still at it. Long story short, Angelina’s a meshuggener. Six kids she has with their names tattooed on her arm. What? She can’t be bothered to memorize them?
It got so bad that Jane Etta Pitt, Brad’s mother, called Angelina and demanded that she stop being mean to her son! On good authority from Tiki at the beauty parlor, I heard that Jane Pitt talked Brad into leaving that cockamamy religion, the one with outer space aliens and flying monkeys who hook you up to wires, and then you write them big checks. You know, the Tom Cruise and John Travolta Mishegoss “Church of Scientology.”
Brad is now dating Sat Hari Khalsa, a jewelry designer and holistic healer. I know, I know. Don’t hold your breath.
And then there’s this. Alissa, my great-granddaughter showed me a video of this gal who’s all the rage. Her name is Cardi B. For two minutes I watched a half-naked woman squirm around on the floor screeching like a wild banshee. This they call entertainment? She admits she used to be a kurveh, but would do it again if she needed the money. Oh, and her husband’s name is Offset. Oy vey.
From Doris Day and Rock Hudson to Cardi B. and Offset.
This it’s come to?
Cockamamy (also cockamamie): Wacky, ridiculous. This word was initially a New York Yiddish/Jewish translation of a French term, décalcomanie, that means the affixing of prints or engravings onto decorative objects. Perhaps as the process fell out of fashion, the translation’s meaning changed too, and that newer meaning has stuck. The word still is most associated with Yiddish speakers, but is understood and crops up often across the Anglosphere.
The less colorful American shorthand term for the original French one is decal.
Hawer: Best guess is this is a Yiddish version of haver, the Hebrew word for “friend.” Grandma seems to be making a sly comment when she uses the term to describe the Doris Day/Rock Hudson relationship.
From a Haaretz “Word of the Day” report in 2014: “If you’re a woman who’s ‘just friends’ with a male haver … you might not want to call him your haver. Sure, it means ‘friend,’ but, Hebrew being sneaky sometimes, it also means ‘boyfriend.'”
Day and Hudson starred in several romantic comedies, but odds are good that they were never haverim/hawerim in real life.
Kurveh: Slut, whore.
Dybbuk: a malicious possessing spirit, the dislocated soul of a dead person.
Plus this: Banshee: An Irish spirit (also familiar to Grandma) whose screaming foretells the death of a respected relative. This is related to keening, a Celtic verb that describes human (typically female) sobs of sorrow after such a death and which closely resembles a Hebrew word with a nearly identical definition.
In 2017, Grumpy Cat was named Forbes magazine’s Top Pet Influencer in a competition of which the Id also was unaware.
“Influencer” is the cleaned-up descriptor for people — or pets! — who were called “famous for being famous” back in the olden days just after the turn of the century.
When I think of “influencers,” I think of Lori Laughlin’s daughter, who was admitted to USC after her parents paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to an academic fixer. The former freshman had more than 1 million Instagram followers and sponsorship contracts with Sephora, Tresemme and Estee Lauder. Another prominent influencer, Kendall Jenner, collected $250,000 for a single Instagram post promoting the doomed Fyre Festival in 2017.
The “influencer” phenomenon is further evidence of Grandma’s thesis that we have a less distinguished crop of celebrities these days.