N.Y. Observer: "shyster" is anti-semitic slur

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Wed Apr 16 18:26:04 UTC 2003

In a message dated 4/16/2003 1:05:02 PM Eastern Standard Time,
jester at PANIX.COM writes:

> The article does draw a connection between _shyster_ and Shylock

A phonetic connection between "shyster" and "shylock" seems rather strained
to me.    The second syllables diverge too much.  Much more likely, it seems
to me, is a phonetic conection between "shyster" and the surname "Shuster"
which is frequently assumed to be a Jewish name.

Maybe this is because I once was acquainted with a man named Shuster, who was
in a business deal with some friends of mine that went sour and into court.
My friends called him "Shuster the shyster" although he was neither a lawyer
nor the plaintiff.

Interesting to note that "a pound of flesh" has become such a cliche that it
is frequently used by people who do not consciously realize that it is from
"Merchant of Venice", and in fact some users of the cliche are totally
ignorant of the origin of the term.

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