Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Settling the Score: Billy Joel


My favorite feature of our little wander through the Internet desert is the Jew Score. When we started, of course, it wasn't really clear how the whole thing would work in practice (setting Mel Brooks as the high at 15 helped, of course). 400-odd profiles later and we have a pretty good idea of who ought to be scored what. It's almost rote by now. But sometimes we have a debate about a score - either one that has been posted or one that will be. When that happens, this post happens. So let's go ahead and Settle the Score:

Michael from Maryland writes:
"I think (Billy Joel's) score needs examining. He wasn't really raised Irish Catholic, so much as he had a hodgepodge of religious experiences as a kid. Read here: ... So I think you should bump up his O score to at least a 2".

First off, thanks for writing in, Michael! Now to your question. Having read the article above (nice find, btw) I actually don't reach the same conclusion. The difference between being raised Catholic and being raised rebellious Catholic is really just semantics and has little effect on Jew Score in practice. And that's all Billy is saying in the article above: Not that he wasn't raised that way, only that he had serious doubts growing up and no longer identifies as any religion. Hardly the basis for a change in score.

But what I did find interesting is, in the article, Billy does seem to self-identify as a Jew. My perspective before this was that we were dealing with another Madeline Albright: someone who didn't know they were Jewish and didn't particularly care for it once they found out. But clearly, at least based on this interview, that's not the case.

So, it's probably time to bump up the O score to a 2. Except it still bothers me. A key component of the O score is that it's based on how we see someone. And I can't think of anyone who might have thought Billy Joel was Jewish based on well...anything. It's really the I score that asks how the person sees themselves. And since Billy's already got an I of 4...

Anyway, I'm probably gonna change it eventually. Just being stubborn for now. What I will do though, is adjust the profile since, you're right, he clearly had a Christian upbringing, not a specifically Irish Catholic one.

Thanks again for your interest and keep up the good work!

No comments:

Post a Comment