As a very proud Jew, I am upset when “my” people are described in racist terms. One of these terns is”shyster”…  a word for Jewish lawyers.

The New York Observer .. once owned by Jared Kushner (a goniff in his own right) …complained about the National Review’s use of the word “shyster.” According to Kushner’s paper, “shyster” is “not acceptable in polite company.” Referring to a lawyer as a shyster is  “offensive, redolent with prejudice and hatred” because of “bigoted associations” .. “about Jewish lawyers who,in their minds, are no different from the scheming, devious Shylock.”

Now, I know that many readers of my posts think of words like “shyster” and “shylock” and, even “Pharisee” are normal parts of the English language.  Yep, just like good old boys from Mississippi, simply understand that the stars n bars is a symbol of southern culture!

The  Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage published in 1995 by leading legal wordsmith Bryan Garner. however,  defines shyster as “a rascally” lawyer; one that is “shrewdly dishonest,” “an unscrupulous lawyer.”

Yep, innocuous.  The  Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage goes on to tell us that “Shyster” was born in New York City! A place now full of Jewish lawyers!  According to this account, way back in the 1840s, way before all the Jewish kids went to laws school, a Manhattan newspaper was on a crusade against legal and political corruption then in the city.  The editor of that paper took Scheisse (German for excrement as when I get angry and swear “SSHIT!”) and made it into a verb.  So, according to this ohso kosher source, “shyster” just means “one who shits.”

I am SO RELIEVED.   Now I can call Trump’s legal team  “shysters” and no one can accuse me of being an antisemite!  Just like I can use the words “fagged out” to mean “tired,” “niggardly” to mean “cheap, or “that is Christian of you” to mean you are so “very kind! “

3 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Mark Adams #

    There is no basis to associate shyster with Jewish. In fact the word origin is most likely an accident.

    “His first major endeavor in this field, beginning in 1976, was a seven-year effort to clarify the origin of shyster. After he had begun his research, Roger Mohovich of the New-York Historical Society drew his attention to newspaper articles in 1843 about the Tombs, the city prison. Editor Mike Walsh denounced scammers who took prisoners’ money by pretending to be lawyers who would get them out. One of the scammers who actually knew something about the law disparaged his rivals by calling them shisers, British criminal slang for worthless people. (It comes ultimately from the German word for excrement.) Walsh misheard it as shiseters, and a new word was born.”

    It came from British Criminal slang. Certainly some of these criminals might be Jewish, but most would be very WASP.

  2. theaveeditor #

    Really? Tell me this guy is not a Jew !

  3. Roger Rabbit #

    Don’t know why Kushner is so concerned about polite company. He doesn’t keep any. The people he runs with are hustlers.

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