Thursday, May 17, 2007



Barbra Streisand's luminescent ascension from a skinny Jewish kid from Brooklyn to a widely-admired and enduring cultural touchstone is quite amazing. Still, whenever a star's career lasts for decades, there's an unfortunate tendency to take them for granted. Oddly enough, there's also more than a few sneering idiots (Uh-huh, Matt and Trey, you guys) who loudly resent Streisand's success, and think she's a musical anachronism who should be exiled in Aunt Gertrude's attic.

Let's take a step back and review, shall we?

Streisand has won two Oscars, four Emmys, nine Golden Globes, eight Grammys, a Tony, and two Cable Ace awards. As of 2007, her CD sales rank her as one of the top-selling female artists in the United States. Last year, Streisand's "farewell" tour (yeah, sure) was so popular the Spartans from 300 couldn't have stopped her loyal fans from buying tickets.

Quite a has-been, huh?

Streisand's bravery shouldn't be discounted either. Remember, her career began during the time when Carl Reiner was originally going to be the star of The Dick Van Dyke Show before some schmuck at CBS decided that Reiner was "too ethnic". In an era that slavishly idealizes blond-haired, blue-eyed, Nordic goddesses, Streisand didn't get a nose job and was always proud of her Jewish identity. (Please don't get me started on how the Oscars shamefully ignored Yentl, O.K.?)

You know what? Streisand's a mensch. Although she left Brooklyn years ago, Brooklyn's never left her. Amazing.