Feeling Yiddish and Gay

brunoLast week’s delve into the Jewish origins of “schmecks” may have turned up bupkiss, but Rachel Amant delivers the semantic subtleties of “faygele” in the latest edition of Moment magazine:

Try as it might, faygele—literally translated from Yiddish as “little bird”—will never be anything but endearing. Even when it attempted to scrape its way into 20th century America as a homophobic slur, you could still hear bubbe.

Read the rest of the article and while you’re at it, check out the whole terrific mag — there’s an interview with Daniel Pearl’s mother and National Rifle Association president Sandra Froman.

Speaking of endearing faygeles, Sacha Baron Cohen will trade Borat’s moustache for Bruno’s faux-hawk in a new movie, slated to start filming in early 2007. Problem is, Cohen’s high-profile “mockumentary” shenanigans are already so well-known from the success of Borat that the producers are worried he won’t be able to find innocent patsies for Bruno to exploit. Silly people, this is America! There will never be a shortage of ignorant narcissists willing to admit their prejudices for a rolling camera!

2 thoughts on “Feeling Yiddish and Gay

  1. I first became aware of the word “Faygeleh” as a homophobic slur during my teenage years when I heard it being used against myself and others in the Yeshiva atmosphere. I always assumed it to be nothing more than alliterative of the english slur “Faggot”.

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