Categorized | Cohen_Joel_H., Lighter Side, USA

‘Just Kidding’: Backlash to Naming Gefilte as U.S. Fish


By Joel H. Cohen

Joel H. Cohen

NEW YORK–It really comes as no surprise.

President Trump’s announcement – reported here only last week — that he planned to name the gefilte the U.S. national fish has drawn a wave of protests.

Extolling the Jewish delicacy for its taste, flexibility, healthfulness, and other properties, the president said he planned an executive order making the gefilte fish a national symbol, alongside the bald eagle and bison.

The protests were immediate and pointed.

Demeaning the gefilte in such terms as “faux fish,” spokespersons for competing fish interests have called the contemplated action unconstitutional. Editorials in trade and consumer publications argued that the appointment required Congressional action. They noted that it was the Continental Congress in 1782 that designated the eagle as national bird, and an act of congress only last year  that established the bison as national mammal.

A representative of the lox lobby said the choice of gefilte fish was an insult to such perennial Jewish mainstays as smoked salmon and its accompaniments.

According to lox industry accountants, designation of lox as our national fish would amount to an upsurge of millions, possibly trillions. of dollars in sales of the fish, along with cream cheese, onions, capers.and the like.

Furthermore, a spokesperson for the Salmon Political Action Committee pointed out, while gefilte fish “don’t even swim,” salmon, by the millions, swim upstream, against the tide, to spawn – “an inspiration for all Americans.” But the fact that most die soon after led the president to comment, “I prefer fish that survive.”

The pro-lox barrage persisted. Emphasizing that the gefilte “is not a fish unto itself,” one commentator observed that, unlike smoked salmon, the gefilte hadn’t given rise to any memorable saying, such as “He hardly says a word; just sits there like a lox.”

A consortium of producers of other fish are all lending support, as is the Canadian province of Nova Scotia “for obvious reasons.”

“Notice, they don’t make any mention of salmon-ella,” the president said. “Of  course, there’s no such food poisoning as gefilte-ella.”

Not only trade publications, including the Herring Maven Monthly, Brothers’ Kipper Weekly, and The Croquette, an upscale salmon magazine, but (appropriately named) mainstream media all had scathing editorials about the decision.

“A new low in presidential politics” one proclaimed. ”No pun intended,” said another, “but designating the gefilte as national symbol smells fishy.”

Informed that cream cheese producers were joining the protests, a Jewish official with the gefilte fish industry commented: ”That proves it’s a shmear campaign.”

Protests against the president’s plan, and counter-protests, were planned for outside the White House, at Trump Tower and Mar-a-lago. “Probably Democrat outside agitators and anti-Semites,” Trump commented.

Herring cartel and sardine affiliates tried to promote their standard-bearer for the designation but the president was standing firm.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump liked another Jewish favorite, whitefish —  and had considered making it the national symbol. But if he had chosen whitefish, “the corrupt media would probably have labeled him a racist.”

The president said there was “tremendous enthusiasm,” for his nomination of gefilte fish. Still, the issue is likely to be fought out in court, and Trump said he’s ready to take it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. “Remember, we have Gorsuch.”

Stay tuna’d.

San Diego Jewish World assures readers who are new to freelance writer Joel Cohen’s “Just Kidding” columns that they are satirical and should not be taken seriously.

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