How American President Barack Obama stroked our ego with all those smiles, all the photos he obligingly posed for, all the seemingly folksy chitchats, all that backslapping, all those effusive flatteries, all the facile historic allusions, all the Hebrew words he was painstakingly taught to enunciate by his Jewish aides – most of them left-wingers with well-known Peace Now sympathies.
It worked, at least for the short haul – like it did for Pal Joey in his very calculated and cynical pursuit of older-woman Vera Simpson. In the Rodgers and Hart 1940 musical adaptation of John O’Hara’s joyless book, Joey is a manipulative but charming heel. He starts out by insulting Vera but then plots with sly sentimentality to wow her. Vera, no ingénue, knows that Joey’s sweet nothings are insincere but she nevertheless surrenders to them because she loves to be loved.
Owning up to her own frailties, she belts out:
“I’m wild again,
A simpering, whimpering child again,
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I! …
Seen a lot.
I mean I lot,
But now I’m like sweet seventeen a lot.
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I!”
Too many Israelis who should have known lots better were likewise reduced to the infatuation of a bewitched, bothered and bewildered teenager. Continue reading