Politics & Media
Oct 30, 2008, 07:21AM

Sarah Palin: VP Candidate, Governor, Schlemile

"Our struggle today is not to have a female Einstein get appointed as an assistant professor. It is for a woman schlemile to get as quickly promoted as a male schlemile."

Hard to imagine Palin in any sort of Jewish context, but here we go:

In fact, it's worth one's time to look at the classic definition of a schlemile, going by Leo Rosten in The Joys of Yiddish) which goes something like this:

1) A foolish person; a simpleton. "He has the brains of a shlemile." [MPG: Rosten very rarely uses the "c" in his "sch" Yiddish words.]

2) A consistently unlucky or unfortunate person; a "fall guy"; a hard-luck type; a born loser; a submissive and uncomplaining victim. "That poor shlemile always gets the short end of the stick." A Yiddish proverb goes: "A shlemile falls on his back and breaks his nose."

3) A clumsy, butterfingered, all-thumbs, gauche type. "Why does a shlemile like that ever try to fix anything?"

4) A social misfit, congenitally maladjusted. "Don't invite that shlemile to the party."

5) A pipsqueak, a Caspar Milquetoast. "He throws as much weight as a shlemile." "No one pays attention to that shlemile."

6) A naive, trusting, gullible customer. The usage is common among furniture dealers, especially those who sell the gaudy, gimcrack stuff called "borax."

7) Anyone who makes a foolish bargain, or wagers a foolish bet. This usage is wide in Europe; it probably comes from Chamisso's tale Peter Schlemihl's Wunderbare Geschichte, a fable in which the protagonist sold his shadow and, like Faust, sold his soul to Satan.

Unfortunately Ross' commentary is little more than boilerplate. So much for lists.


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