“Meet The Parents” as Semitic Bride Gathering Ballad by Michael Frank 

— M.Brahmin contributed to this article.

Film, as a medium, has proven particularly effective in the dissemination of Jewish Esoteric Moralization. Utilizing the analytical technique developed by Mark Brahmin, an audit of JEM found in the film Meet The Parents reveals it to be a cipher for a bride gathering theme. It should be stated that while Brahmin’s method of aesthetic research explores the hermeneutic impact on the uninitiated, the scope of this article is limited to observable evidence.

The 2000 film, screenwriter by John Hamburg and Jim Herzfeld, centers around the Jewish protagonist Gaylord “Greg” Focker (Ben Stiller) a nurse who lives in Chicago. Greg’s plan to propose to his girlfriend Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo) is put on hold when the abrupt marriage announcement of her sister Debbie (Nicole DeHuff) results in a trip to Pam’s parents’ home. A series of mishaps begins when Greg’s luggage is lost by the airline, leaving Greg with only the gift he brought for Pam’s father.

Upon arriving at the the home of Pam’s parents, Greg is introduced to Pam’s mother Dina (Blythe Danner) and father Jack (Robert De Niro), clearly WASPs. While Dina is welcoming towards Greg, Jack is disapproving and overbearing, criticizing Greg for being a male nurse.

At dinner, an esoterically significant scene, Jack recites a poem to his deceased mother and Greg is asked to say grace. Every effort Greg makes to garner favor from Jack fails and the mishaps continue when Greg mistakenly breaks the urn containing the ashes of Jack’s deceased mother.

Later Greg stumbles upon a lie detector in a remote and private chamber of the house.  There he is surprised by Jack. Jack administers a lie detector test to Greg and admits Greg into what he will eventually call the “Circle of Trust.” Pam discloses that her father is not a retired florist, but a retired CIA agent.

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Later Greg stumbles upon a lie detector in a remote and private chamber of the house.  There he is surprised by Jack. Jack administers a lie detector test to Greg and admits Greg into what he will eventually call the “Circle of Trust.” Pam discloses that her father is not a retired florist, but a retired CIA agent.

The following day, Greg meets the rest of Pam’s family and friends, including her brother Denny, whose clothes he borrows. Pam’s father-in-law and husband are doctor’s and a clear tension develops where it is clear Greg is viewed as low status because of his profession as nurse.  In the same scene Greg reveals that he, in fact, passed the medical school admissions exam, but chose to pursue nursing as a matter of preference.

At Pam’s ex-lover Kevin Rawley’s (Owen Wilson) house, Kevin reveals to Greg an altar he crafted out of wood for Debbie’s wedding.  Later, in Kevin’s indoor pool, Greg breaks Debbie’s nose with a spike during a volleyball game.

The mishaps continue as Greg mistakenly flushes a toilet he was instructed not to use, flooding the backyard with sewage, accidentally sets Kevin’s altar ablaze and loses Jack’s beloved cat Jinx.

Greg coyly replaces the cat with a stray from the animal shelter, whose tail he paints black to fool Jack. However, Greg’s ruse is uncovered when the counterfeit Jinx tears apart the house and destroys Debbie’s wedding dress. Everyone insists Greg leave the house. Jack informs his daughter of his discovery that Greg did not pass his MCATs.

Later Jack learns Greg’s actual name is “Gaylord” and that he did in fact pass his exam. Upon hearing this and witnessing his daughter’s grief over Greg’s absence, Jack goes to the airport to retrieve Greg. Greg proposes to Pam with her father’s blessing and her sister is married.

The Farmers 

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Greg Focker, who claims to have grown up on a farm, shows how he would milk a cat.  Though ostensibly a plot device used to explain why he was looking at an explicit advertisement for breast pumps, esoterically it functions as a type of crypsis intended to gain Jack’s trust.  After all, we’ll remember the farmer an Aryan archetype, a point well established in Brahmin’s research.

Of primary importance in the film is the dynamic between Jack and Greg. As is made clear by Jack, Greg realizes he must essentially seduce Jack to win his daughter. This dynamic is reflected in the character naming convention throughout the film.

The name Jack, a diminutive of  John and sometimes Jacob, can act as either a Jewish or Aryan identifier in works of JEM. When used as an Aryan identifier it carries the meaning of Jacob or possibly, “fool.” To wit, a Jack in a deck of cards or “the male of certain animals, esp of the ass or donkey.”  This is explicated in Brahmin’s study on naming conventions soon to be published. 

Jack falsely professes to be a retired horticulturist, one clue that he is in fact an Aryan figure, as farming and gardening are Aryan associated professions in the JEM as explicated in Brahmin’s broader study. Gardening is also referential to the Biblical figure Adam, further establishing Jack as Aryan.

Adam is clearly a cuckolded figure, as is explicated in Brahmin’s work [1]. This theme of the cuckolded Aryan is also found in Saul’s offering of his daughter to David.  This is a dynamic that is explicated in Brahmin’s broader study.  Here we find racial cuckoldry through “Bride Acquisition.”

Indeed, Meet the Parents, Jack plays a role very similar to the Aryan Saul vis-a-vis the Jewish David.  This seems supported in a scene where Jack loans Greg his clothes, mirroring Jonathan (Saul’s son) giving David his clothes, thereby signifying David as successor to Saul.

At one point, Greg, professes to have grown up on a farm.  Though ostensibly a plot device used to explain why he was looking at an explicit advertisement for breast pumps, esoterically it functions as a type of crypsis intended to gain Jack’s trust.  After all, we’ll remember the farmer an Aryan archetype, a point well established in Brahmin’s research [2]. Hence presumably also a more trustworthy type.

Serpents, Gardens, Ravens and Angels 

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As Brahmin concludes, appearing in JEM as a reference to racial cuckoldry, the Raven is almost certainly a reference to the Aryan Apollo’s unfaithful lover Coronis whose name means “raven” or “crow.” Both Jack’s reference to Poe’s Raven in his poem at the dinner table and the last name Byrnes, which means “raven” are references to racial cuckoldry committed against Aryans.

As is common among Aryans, Jack has a policy against having unmarried couples sleeping in the same bed while guests in his house. He tells Greg “Keep your snake in its cage for 72 hours.” Appearing in combination with the numerous other clues present in this film, clearly the use of ‘snake’ is a reference to the Garden of Eden and the Semitic snake.

The theme of the garden is also reflected in Jack’s ‘Circle of Trust’, which he invites Greg to enter. The circle, the enclosure or garden is a motif found throughout JEM where the Aryan is understood as the “gene garden.” It also suggests the vaginal as is explicated in Brahmin’s broader study.

Jack and Pam’s surname Byrnes appears to be a double reference. It refers to both being consumed by a Jewish fire god and it’s original meaning of “raven.” As a surname, the implication here is the ultimate defeat of both Jack and Pam by the Jewish “god.”  The notion of a consuming fire god is especially driven home when Greg inadvertently burns the wooden alter of his sexual competitor, Kevin Rawley.

The nature of the relationship between Jack and Greg is perhaps most visible during their first dinner together. Greg is asked to say grace by Jack, upon which he begins to recite the lyrics to ‘Day By Day’ from the musical Godspell (Stephen Schwartz, lyricist 1971). The underlying esoteric joke here is that Greg is essentially praying to himself and the entirety of Jewry as the Jewish god, esoterically honoring himself as “sweet Lord of hosts.”  This nature of the Jewish God is rendered clear in Brahmin’s larger study.

Greg “Gaylord” Focker saying Grace, to himself, the Jewish God.

That the entire process is depicted as absurd is, esoterically, a remark on the Aryan’s foolishness for worshiping a Jewish God.  The joke is on them, as it were.  Here one is also given a sense of the Jew’s humorous joyfulness at such foolishness.  Here the Jew is literally making Religion up!

After Greg’s botched grace Jack recites a poem dedicated to his deceased mother, “You gave me life, you gave me courage, your name was Angela, the Angel from heaven, but you were also an Angel of God and he needed you, too. Selfishly I tried to keep you here, while the cancer ate away your organs, like an unstoppable rebel force, but I couldn’t save you and I will never see your face, never more… never more… never more… until we meet in heaven.”

The name Angela, meaning Angel, as is even mentioned in the poem, is an Aryan identifier. Brahmin’s broader study establishes the Angel, a figure distinct from and servile to a Jewish God, as an essentially Aryan figure.  Jack recognizes his mother as being of a Jewish God and his admitted selfishness in trying to keep his mother from that God outlines what is essentially a sexual competition between the Aryan and Jew.  Here Jack esoterically concedes defeat in this sexual competition.   The is JED or Jewish Esoteric Demoralization. 

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The name Angela, meaning Angel, as is even mentioned in the poem, is an Aryan identifier. Brahmin’s broader study establishes the Angel, a figure distinct from and servile to a Jewish God, as an essentially Aryan figure.  Jack recognizes his mother as being of a Jewish God and his admitted selfishness in trying to keep his mother from that God outlines what is essentially a sexual competition between the Aryan and Jew. 

In this contest, Jack likens the Jew to an ‘unstoppable rebel force’, akin to a cancer.  This is consistent with the esoteric Jewish understanding that they are a consuming God, or ‘God of Hosts’ exploitive of an Aryan host.  In his discussion of the word or concept of ‘Great’ as a Jewish identifier, Brahmin bring this idea: “it is worth considering another word for “Great” appearing in Hebrew. That is gadol, גדול. Gadol means ‘Great’, ‘upbringing’, ‘breed’ but also curiously ‘tumor’ and ‘excrescence.'” In any case, the understanding that Jews are antagonistic to Aryan interests is rendered clearly in Jewish Esoteric Moralization as established by Brahmin’s study.

Jack’s use of the phrase ‘Nevermore’ is an unequivocal reference to Poe’s The Raven evoking an image of the bird which, as noted by Brahmin, is used to represent cuckoldry. It may even have this function in Poe’s poem as many analyses have concluded. This corroborates as well the significance of the last name Byrnes, which, again, means “raven.”

As Brahmin concludes, appearing in JEM as a reference to racial cuckoldry, the Raven is almost certainly a reference to the Aryan Apollo’s unfaithful lover Coronis whose name means “raven” or “crow.” In reciting this poem, Jack is prostrating himself before the the Jewish God seated at the table as a cuckold. Greg’s response is to destroy the urn.

Destroying the urn is clearly a reference to the destruction of Aryan ancestry through admixture with Jews. That the family cat, Jinx, a clear metaphor for the protected daughter Pam, defecates in the ashes emphasizes this desecration.

To be clear, Jewish Esotericists understand Jews as desecrating Aryan lines through intermixture. Yet the reference to ashes or dust here may be more specific.  As Brahmin points out regarding Adam, Yahweh says: “For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”  He emphasizes as well the Jewish serpent is a few lines later “condemned” to “eat dust” the rest of his days.  Again, here we see the “consumption motif” detailed in Brahmin’s broader study.

Homosocial relationship of Jack and “Gaylord.”

Greg’s actual name is revealed to be Gaylord, a homosocial reference amplified when coupled with the surname Focker.  Indeed, a clear homosocial relationship appears between Jack and Focker where, at the end of the film, Jack is actually depicted as proposing to Greg so that he’ll marry his daughter.

The latter portion of the name, Lord, is a reference to Yahweh and Jews as God.  This is consistent with a homosocial rapport developed with Jack, one mirrored in David’s relationship to both the Aryan Saul and his son Jonathan, as Brahmin’s study illustrates.

Homosocial cues are repeated throughout the film, buttressing the theme that the Aryan Jack is being seduced by the Jewish Greg, who is synonymous with the Jewish god. This seduction motif is established when Greg offers his gift of a potted Jerusalem tulip to Jack. Jerusalem being a reference to Greg being Jewish, an identity he later explicitly reveals.

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Greg’s actual name is revealed to be Gaylord, a homosocial reference amplified when coupled with the surname Focker. Indeed, a clear homosocial relationship appears between Jack and Focker where, at the end of the film, Jack is actually depicted as proposing to Greg so that he’ll marry his daughter. This is consistent with a homosocial rapport developed with Jack, one mirrored in David’s relationship to both the Aryan Saul and his son Jonathan, as Brahmin’s study illustrates.

Land of Milk and Honey

As Greg’s lie that he grew up on a farm begins to unravel, he insists that he nevertheless has experience milking animals, even cats.  When pressed by Jack on this dubious claim, he insists any animal can be milked. Jack asks Greg, “I have nipples Greg, could you milk me?”

Here, milk is a reference to the oft used description of Israel found in the Torah as “a land flowing with milk and honey.” This description is further explicated in the Talmud to mean, “flowing with milk and honey as milk flows from the goats’ udders, and honey flows from the figs.”

To be clear, as Brahmin’s study explicates, Aryans are understood as “milk and honey.”  This point is emphasized in the context of the film where both the names of Pamela and her sister Deborah are references to honey.  The name Pamela means “all honey” and the name Deborah means “bee.”

Here, Jack, by asking Greg if he can milk him, Jack is willingly offering himself as feminized resource to be exploited by a male Jewish God. Later, when Jack retrieves Greg from the airport, he repeats his offer by essentially proposing to Greg in place of the daughter he is surrendering. Likewise, Jack offers to Greg the engagement ring, a vaginal symbol as explicated in the Brahmin study.

Jinx the Cat as Vaginal Symbol

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The cat’s name Jinx, itself, is a reference to the nymph Iynx from Greek mythology from whence the word jinx derives.  
In the myth’s lynx turned into a bird and bestowed as a love charm to Jason by Venus, was understood as the embodiment of passionate and restless love. 

Again, Jack’s beloved cat is a vaginal symbol as well and, likewise, a symbol for Pam or genetic access to the Aryan more generally. With its ability to respond to commands, use a toilet, retrieve food from Jack’s mouth and perform as ring bearer in Deborah’s wedding, Jinx displays a high level of training.

Here we find a metaphor for the stringent discipline Jack, the Aryan father, exerts over his protected, non-degenerate, well-bred and desired Aryan daughter.  That Jinx is the intended ring bearer of Deborah’s wedding only further corroborates it as a vaginal symbol. Jack will even refer to the cat as “pussy” while it is, suggestively, retrieving food from Jack’s mouth.

Early on the film the metaphor of his cat appears while Jack imparting advice to Greg. “People who like dogs are emotionally shallow; cats make you work for your affection and don’t sell out like dogs do,” Jack says.  It is clear that during this scene Jack is dropping hints on how Greg can win Jack’s own affection which is ultimately happy, unobstructed and serene access to his daughter.

Hence it suggests not merely his daughter but himself as a finicky “pussy.”  Yet this is part of a tendency in JEM, where the blood or genes of a father, a family and a daughter are conflated.  Remarkably, a conscious desire for gene or blood access is the anxiety here.

On the other hand, the cat more specifically as a metaphor for Pam is corroborated by her ex-boyfriend Kevin who, when recalling memories of her, describes her as a ‘Tom cat’.  The cat’s name Jinx, itself, is a reference to the nymph Iynx from Greek mythology from whence the word jinx derives.  Speculatively Jinx or Iynx is a reference to the lynx which is a type of wild cat, making Kevin’s remarks even more suggestive.

In the myth’s lynx turned into a bird and bestowed as a love charm to Jason by Venus, was understood as the embodiment of passionate and restless love.  In myth, the cat is an attribute of the Goddess Diana or Artemis, a figure referenced in a reoccurring manner in JEM as pointed out by Brahmin. She is part of the Triple Goddess, originally an Aryan figure understood as becoming Semitized or Judiazed by a Semitic Pluto, for example.

When Greg loses Jinx, this is symbolic of the father losing the daughter. Greg effectively steals the cat by attempting to replace it with another cat whose tail he blackens. By blackening the tail, he is corrupting it. The color black is a reference to Jewry as is explicated in Brahmin’s broader study. The corrupted cat then destroys Deborah’s white wedding dress, a symbol of Aryan purity.

The Firstborn, Second Born motif 

The name of Jack’s son, Denny, is a reference to Dionysius and, as such, is a Semitic figure who also denotes the presence of admixture. His Jewish appearance and manner (Jon Abrahams plays Denny) and his Dionysian behaviors such as sleeping late and using marijuana support this. The reader may be asking why is a Semitic figure appearing in a clearly Aryan Byrnes family?  Here we find the “second” or “later born” motif which is explicated in the broader Brahmin study.  The firstborn is indicated Aryan while the second born, Jewish or proto-Jewish.

The screenwriter’s consciousness of this theme is especially corroborated when Jack discovers Dennis’ pot pipe, believing it mistakenly to be Greg’s. Jack proclaims “If I find that you are trying to corrupt my firstborn child [Pam] I will bring you down baby.”  “Firstborn child” is too uncommon an expression to have appeared incidentally.

Aryan Kevin as consumable wood

Kevin’s last name, Rawley, may carry the meaning “wood”, possibly “rough wood” or “red wood.” This meaning is almost certainly what the writers were thinking especially because this meaning is corroborated by other contextual clues. As Brahmin states, wood is referential to an Aryan or Aryan stock as a consumable resource [3]. Related to this, Kevin is a carpenter. When Kevin shows Greg the chuppah he made for Debbie’s wedding, fashioned out of beechwood, he clearly states his worshipping of a Jewish god.

To wit, when he learns Greg is Jewish, he responds “Well, so was J.C. Wow! You’re in good company.” Earlier though, a sly reference to Kevin and Pam’s brother attending “Lacrosse Camp” together is clearly a reference to their status as Aryan Christians.  The tension in the scene, between a servile Aryan (Kevin) and a vexed Jewish God (Greg), is very much akin, in many ways, to that appearing in the earlier Byrnes’ family Grace scene.

The tension in the scene, between a servile Aryan (Kevin) and a vexed Jewish God (Greg), is very much akin, in many ways, to that appearing in the earlier Byrnes’ family Grace scene.

Kevin then mistakenly or ignorantly describes the chuppah as an “altar” with the pretense of being knowledgeable. However, the two are not the same. A chuppah is a bridal canopy, symbolizing the canopy of a bridal bed, while an altar is used in the offering of a burned sacrifice to the Jewish God.

Again, later Greg’s actions lead to the altar being set ablaze by an errant live electrical wire. The wire is depicted as writhing around the garden in the manner of a snake. As explicated by Brahmin, the snake is a synonym of the Vine of Judah and used as a Jewish ethnic identifier [4]. Here symbolically the Aryan competitor himself is being consumed by the Jewish fire God.  Watch the scene below:

 

 

The plain and unequivocal conclusion reached with this film is that it is a classic example of JEM being used to depict a Semitic Bride Gathering Motif.  In this way it shares a nigh ubiquitous thematic subtext with Jewish Art and Religion both ancient and contemporary.

References:

4 thoughts on ““Meet The Parents” as Semitic Bride Gathering Ballad by Michael Frank 

  1. I am just stunned at how consistently these motifs and naming conventions can be picked out of these jewish written stories. As a young guy I remember watching this and having a laugh, but we were the ones being laughed at it seems.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Very thorough. In the picture of “Kevin Rawley” you show, I can’t even help but notice these identifiers now, such as the blue/white preppy sweater combo, symbols now seeming so ubiquitous that they come into relief in almost every Jewish esoteric film I see.

    Also, you reminded me of something I’ve been working on in my latest essay, when you mention Greg’s real name, “Gaylord”.

    It is a Jewish identifier in two ways. One, as you point out, as a reference to the Jewish God.

    It seems to me, that it is also a Jewish identifier in that it “reads” as Jewish, specifically, as the barb towards the “the picked on kid”, the “outsider” receiving the kindergarden insult that everyone in the audience, (presumably Jews particularly) know so well. It is evocative.

    Perhaps this seems superfluous, but I’m coming to realize the power of ethnic identifiers lies not just in the mythological blueprint of the film, but in the manipulations of normal, *banal preconceptions of the common man viewing the film (Jews and Gentiles alike), whom have “preloaded” ideas of ethnic archetypes.

    In this way, It seems “Jewish” references may be “esoteric” (indeed, very much so) without always being mythological!

    Example: A reference to a talkative mother, for example, indicates Jewishness in this way. A Jewish viewer will “get it”, and sympathize. A non Jewish viewer won’t.

    On some level it becomes about how deep the filmmaker can sink the esoteric “hook” into the minds of his audience, keeping the true moralizing intent concealed. In this sense, everything is game, even these minor, cultural associations. Just an observation I’ve been making as I go through these films, working off of what MB has set down in his foundational theory.

    Actually, I’m curious as to his take on this “household” facet of JEM, so to speak.

    Huge fan of this essay, and never even thought of this the first time I viewed the film. Looking back, it’s clear as day. Eagerly anticipate your next article.

    Like

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