Columns - 2003

    Women rule

    by Doug Brook
    Deep South Jewish Voice Columnist

    A recent study at Vanderbilt University (motto: Raising graduation rates throughout the SEC) indicates that the number of Southerners is dropping.

    The recently announced, long delayed results of the 2000 Jewish Population Survey indicate that, against stereotype, Jews have trouble with math. It also indicates that the Jewish population is dropping.

    A recent study of my bathroom scale indicates that a proportional reduction in a Southern Jew's body mass is not scientifically commensurate with those studies' results. I demand a recount daily.

    Of course, there are countless other studies in our custody that you could study to determine whether the universe is downsizing your particular demographic.

    Here's two examples that apply specifically to a randomly selected Jewish variety columnist.

    A recent study of my Fortune 100 company indicates that the number of people working here is dropping faster than you can say India.

    A recent study by my mother indicates that the number of people I grew up with who are not yet married is dropping. But not fast enough. (She doesn't have numbers to back this up. Of course, that detail has little impact on its validity, I'm told.)

    These final two studies lead us to this week's main topic: Women rule.

    I'm not saying this as a suck-up. In no way do I expect this to win me any points in getting a girl. Just as I don't expect to retain all three of my current points having just used the phrase "getting a girl."

    Nothing could be further from the truth. Or farther. I've spent years learning firsthand, only sometimes from a safe distance, that women reign supreme over men. Whether we know it or not. Whether we like it or not. In fact, particularly if we don't. They enjoy it more when we squirm. This is where the "for better or worse" line comes from.

    I'll spare you any personal details that corroborate this week's topic sentence, thereby sparing myself several lawsuits from the subjects of my most extensive personal research.

    However, my professional experience at a Fortune 100 company easily indicates that the admins, who are most typically women, know a whole lot more about what's going on than anyone else. Especially the managers they "work for." You know what I mean. You've seen it.

    For those of you put off by the godless world of business, I have culled more proof. I go no further, or farther, than a source whose trustworthiness is second only to my own; a trusted text that languishes in relative obscurity in the modern world: The Bible. Behold these actual instances which clearly prove that the Almighty put women in charge, in Her image.

    Eve says to Adam, "I made dinner." She hands him a forbidden fruit. Next thing Adam knows, Eve drags him out to get new clothes and he loses his home.

    Sarah and Abraham were getting old. Viagra-won't-help old. Sarah tells Abraham to go have a son with her servant Hagar. He obeys his wife. Of course, now Sarah has a son of her own, Isaac.

    Sarah and Hagar don't like each other, and Ishmael mocks his little half-brother. Sarah tells Abraham to get rid of them. Abraham mutters that he'd just done what Sarah had told him to do, and goes to send Hagar and Ishmael on their way.

    Rebecca likes her younger son better, as it should be. But Isaac wants to give the birthright to Esau, not Jacob. So Rebecca sends Esau out to pick up dinner, dresses up Jacob like Esau, and makes him pretend for blind old Isaac. Rebecca got the Bible's first hat trick, exerting influence over three men at once.

    Pharoah's daughter found baby Moses floating the Nile, bravely evading execution. She got Pharoah to let her keep him instead of killing him like the rest of the Israelite baby boys. (See? Women rule everyone. It's not just a Jewish probl... blessing.)

    Miriam, Moses' older sister, becomes the foremother of Jewish performers when she stages a song and dance after the crossing of the Red Sea. During their 40 year trek in the Sinai, she briefly contracts leprosy as punishment for speaking out against Moses, asking why they didn't just stop for directions.

    Ruth is the second woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court. The Bible tells a story from earlier in her life, about her and Naomi taking a trip to Boaz, Alabama. This is the only account in recorded history of a woman getting along with her Jewish mother-in-law.

    Esther becomes the first Jewish winner of a beauty pageant, which is commemorated by the Fast of Esther. Consequently she gets to be queen of the Shoeshiners and helps save the Jews from the evil Haman's addiction to playing the lottery after his three-cornered hat business failed. Because of this, many religious fundamentalists remain opposed to lotteries.

    You've probably heard of all these women so far. Now for one you haven't.

    When you think of a woman monarch, you think of Great Britain and Queen Elizabeth the aye-aye. (I know you do.) However, a brief two millennia prior, to preserve the royal lineage of David, Athaliah claimed the throne of the southern kingdom of Judah when her son Ahaziah was killed.

    Athaliah (no relation to Atilla or aunt Tillie) executed all other royal family members to strengthen her rule. (Compared to some kings of Judah, she was tame.) Her bloody six year rule ended at the hands of followers of her grandson Joash, who had been hidden since his infancy by his aunt, Jehosheba. Though Joash didn't end up being all that, either... Check it out. Second Kings, chapter 11 (ironically).

    Too obscure? I provide obscure facts to prove that I'm not some uneducated smartass. I'm a booksmart ass.

    Besides, seventeenth-century French playwright Jean Baptiste Racine wrote a four-act tragedy about her called Athalie. World-famous Jewish actress Sarah Bernhardt starred in it in 1920, at age 78.

    Did you notice that most of these women ruled without being rulers? Sneaky.

    Finally, there are countless other women throughout the Bible who languish in literal anonymity. They're countless because they're not even mentioned, and we can't count how many of something isn't there. That's like counting how many blades of grass aren't in my back yard. (Answer: All of them.)

    So many women went unnamed: most of Jacob's sons' wives, so-and-so, Jessica Tupperman, someone else... And who could forget good old what's-her-name?

    Most overlooked, though, is the woman who actually wrote the original Torah scroll. Before the "Moses wrote the Torah" advocates start stitching voodoo dolls, I'm not saying Moses didn't write the Torah. Or that "Moses wrote the Torah" advocates believe in voodoo; obviously, I'm banking that they don't.

    I'm just saying that he must have dictated the text to a woman. Need proof? Check out the penmanship.

    I have to feed the cat now. She's hungry.

    Doug Brook is a technical writer in Silicon Valley who can say "ass" in this column since Moses' stenographer did. He congratulates the Deep South for its oft-dubious image being trumped by California, thanks to the October 7 release of Total Recall 2: The Governator. Some say it's the most embarrassing thing to come out of California since Shwarzenegger's last movie. More embarassing are the masses who think the Austrian-born actor can follow Reagan's course to the White House. For more information, past columns, other writing, and other current events, visit his website at

    Copyright Doug Brook. All rights reserved.