By Omri Marcus
Each morning, we wake up to headlines about a new crazy law, another bizarre way to spend our tax money or another macho quote by the Foreign Minister. When the news sucks, we are left with two basic options:
1. The Naked Method – Add the word “naked” to every headline. It works wonders with headlines like “Extreme right-wing activist sprays car of peace activist – naked” or “Foreign Minister Lieberman: The IDF should invade Gaza – naked.” But beware – this trick can backfire, especially with headlines like “Hundreds of elderly people are living in the street – naked.”
2. The Foreign Press Method – Just read the newspaper as if you are reading the NY Times – backwards. The fact that Hebrew runs from right to left means that you start with the feel-good items at the back of the paper, and you probably won’t even get to the depressing headlines on the front page. On the other hand, you are liable to start with the obituaries. But on the bright side – if you don’t find your name there, that’s good news.
3. The Escapist Method – It takes some practice but here’s the drill – Open the door, turn your head to the left, insert your hand inside the newspaper bag (no peeking) and pull out the arts section. You can replace your hopeless attempts at understanding the Middle East conflict with hopeless attempts at understanding reviews of modern art.
4. The Jon Stewart Method – Try to pretend you write for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Netanyahu’s decision to speed up construction in the settlements just made your job really easy. The show writes itself. Actually, to be honest, based on my extensive experience writing satire for TV – it doesn’t really work. The crazier reality gets, the tougher it is to top. On more than one occasion, items we wrote as morbid jokes on a show later materialized as real proposals by real MKs. Sometimes they even turned into real laws.
5. The Hamster Method – the most effective of all. All you need is a hamster, a cage and a subscription to the newspaper “Israel Hayom” (the quotation marks in the case of this publication should actually be around the word “newspaper”). Every morning you collect yesterday’s smelly copy from the cage and replace it with the paper you just received. However, beware: If there is a photo of Netanyahu you may run into some problems, because nothing seems to stick to him.
It’s not easy, but the truth is that I manage to deal with the newspaper. I mange to deal with articles about the Netanyahu government – the new undemocratic laws, the blatant interference with the Supreme Court, the illegal settlements, the frozen peace process and the rest of the endless list. I can deal with all of that. The only headline that really kills me is the weekend polls, which consistently show that the current government isn’t losing a single point of support. That’s when the newspaper becomes too much, even for me.
For more on interpreting and coping with news in these parts:
The political line of Israeli papers (a reader’s guide)