Pic: Yaki Assaig

Everybody but me

There is no such ‘everybody’ who knows something; there are people who spread rumors because it makes them feel important

“Everybody’s known about Katsav for years” a senior journalist tells me as he tucks into his eggplant salad. “Someone should have said something while he was still a candidate for president.”


We both stare into space feeling small pangs of guilt. Had I said something six years ago, it’s possible we would have all been spared this shame. The fact that I keep silent is another example of the bias among Israeli media, not it mention my personal inclination towards moral cowardice. But in my defense, may I say I never heard stories about Katsav.


Actually, I don’t remember discussing Katsav at all, good or bad. His world-shaking appointment to tourism minister went by me pretty uneventfully, not to mention his heart-stopping appointment as transport minister where he was responsible for, can you imagine, transport affairs or something like that. Wow.


Which brings me to a perplexing question: Just who the heck is ‘everybody’?


Perhaps I am being immodest here but the truth is I thought I was part of this ‘everybody’. I mean, I only work for Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper and for Channel Two Television, not exactly backwater media outlets. I know people, I get out a lot. Dalia Itzhik even sent me a Rosh Hashanah card once.


I won’t say that this makes me important or especially interesting, but how is it that I never made it to be part of this ‘everybody’? And where does ‘everybody’ hang out? Is there an address? A secret club where they have been hiding out for years in order to tell one another hair raising stories about the suspended president?


Pathological exclusion

This doesn’t stop with Katsav, this exclusion from the ‘everybody’ club is pathological. I recently read an article in one of the major dailies, which reports how ‘everybody’ in Tel Aviv does cocaine. Turns out that you can’t enter a bathroom in a restaurant or club in town without finding five or six people hunched over the sink snorting angel dust.


It’s just that when I am there, they are just taking a leak. Must be a conspiracy. I mean I was born in Tel Aviv and have been there all my life. I was at all the right parties; many of my friends are in show business. Yet in all these years, I’ve never seen any of them with cocaine. It’s true that I was recently at an event and Assi Dayan asked me if I know where one can find the new biography of Raymond Chandler but I decided to wait before signing him up for the rehab center.


And while on the subject, I have never been invited to an orgy, to a swingers bash or SM club. I know that ‘everybody’s done it but ‘everybody’ again forgot to call me. It’s not that I would know what to do if they had phoned and invited me.


I want to say from the onset that if someone in leather clothes approaches me and starts to scream ‘whip me, whip me’, he’s going to have to convince me that he voted for Ron Levantal (replaced Yair's father, Yosef Lapid, as Shinui party chairman) in the last elections.


What's the fax number?

This example is not random. The newspaper for which I work recently published an eight page magazine article about a 47-year-old guy who started a sado-maso cult. It was a well-researched article but I did not understand how one gets into the cult. Do you send a fax? Include your resume? What if I have no previous experience?


So again there’s an ‘everybody’ for whom it is perfectly normal to get tied up and whipped. But the sorry fact is that again ‘everybody’ left me home alone again. I am very devoted to my partner – may she live a long life – but it’s not the same thing.


The biggest advantage ‘everybody’ has is sources of information. For example, ‘everybody knows the truth about Bibi and Sara.' What happened, if I understood it correctly, is that Sara met ‘everybody’ in the yard and described how she screams at him, hits him and that they have a contract in the safe so she’s got him by the balls. Its not that she intended to divulge all of this but that is how it is with the ‘everybodies’. They are extremely straightforward.


They are also great mind-readers. Everybody knows that Olmert believes Israel won the war in southern Lebanon because he thinks we lost. Everybody knows that Peretz remains defense minister because of his Moroccan honor and not because he truly belies it is the right thing to do.


And everybody knows the truth about Moshe and Orna Datz, or at least one of the five that I’ve heard so far, and everybody knows that Ramon should have simply apologized to ‘H’ even though everybody knew last week – with the same degree of certainty – that he would be acquitted and everybody understood that the new justice minister said that he “intends to cooperate fully with Supreme Court Chief Justice Beinish,” he meant to say: “I plan to mop the floor with her and when I am done, I will dance naked at midnight wearing only a feather.”


And if you ask ‘everybody’ if he really means it, they burst into derisive laughter. “Really,” everybody says, “just how naive can you be?”


That’s just it, I can be.


I think that there is no such thing as ‘everybody’. It’s a fiction people create when they want to do or say something particularly troubling. People who snort cocaine are not ‘everybody’. They have just surrounded themselves with people like themselves and they prefer to say that everybody does cocaine rather than admit the unsavory truth – they are messing up their own heads.


The Datzes are not everybody. They are only two people in this world who haven’t done anything wrong to anyone and now they have to keep careful watch over their own children. And there is no such ‘everybody’ who knows something about Katsav. What there is, are people who spread rumors because it makes them feel important and interesting and so that they won’t have to admit their behavior is repulsive so they claim that ‘everybody’ knew the truth already.


That’s it though, they don’t know. The Katsav story is already disgusting enough so why is it necessary to make it worse? Because the only thing everybody has in common is that no body knows nothin’ at least not until everybody who knows tells ‘em.


פרסום ראשון: 02.21.07, 11:00
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