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You don’t mess with the Zohan 3


On women & love

A hairstylist is a comic compromise between love of beauty & democratic talent-peddling for money. In a democracy, weaklings will insult men who could kill them for the nuisance… The arts of war are replaced by false arts. But Zohan loves beauty more than war. Honor & glory might bring them together. Zohan’s father tells him he’s like Rembrandt with a grenade… – But democracy has a short memory. Immortality is out of the question. Statues frown, whereas we would have them laugh.

His loyal minion asks Zohan, in his moment of doubt: Have you never done what people call impossible? Zohan, remembering his warlike deeds, rallies. – Love of war rejects self-doubt; – love of beauty creates it. – Love makes Zohan aware he is needy & cannot live alone. He is no longer whole by himself. Now he feels pain. The problem of democracy now becomes his problem. Perhaps marrying a woman is now marrying democracy.

In America, Zohan plunges into democracy. First, he loves old women: Mere sexuality is unnatural, but apparently not unpleasant. – Zohan learns of love when he loses his erection. Against democracy, nature returns, spearheaded by beauty. This is how boys first experiences eroticism. Zohan is bewildered, but neither ignorant nor bashful. He takes it like a man: He declares to the woman on whom his happiness depends that they can sit & talk before he has sex with her. A gentleman always does… But first, he protects her, to show interest & unmarred character, which is essential to courtship.

Zohan, loving beauty, ignores beauticians. He is ashamed, for men are called warriors where he lives. Hairstylists are woefully unmanly. – O salutary lack of sophistication… He learns his hairstyle is old-fashioned – he answers he had no idea it changes. He ignores fashions: Beauty is beauty; he protects it, but it must not be deceptious. He moves from the democratic blindness to nature to the natural understanding of man & woman. But it appears that our democracy has one brand new virtue, tolerance – even Zohan is tolerated. This is the strongest praise of democracy the poet offers.

Just like Zohan’s pursuit of an unmanly job takes manly confidence, his pursuit of peace, a private peace between Palestinians & Israelis on his street, takes manly self-restraint. Democracy might teach Zohan that you cannot fight everybody & that people mostly want not to be oppressed. Love of the private life means Zohan does not want to oppress them anymore, either. Prosperity hides old quarrels, for people love it more than family feuds. Falling in love with his enemy’s sister seems like a surefire recipe for tragedy, but it turns out to be the way to peace, somewhat like a political marriage.