It is quite frequent for observers to come across a group of Jewish Young Adults speaking loudly in excited and agitated tones. While the Non-Jew might believe that the group of JYAs is in a heated debate about the ethics of affirmative action or abortion, closer inspection would reveal that the hostile intonations of the group concern seemingly petty daily events like brushing teeth or getting on the subway. This is because one of the more off-putting habits of Jewish Young Adults is their penchant for Creating Drama. Here, drama is defined not as the artistic expression of composition or prose, but rather as the exaggeration of the consequences of mundane daily trivialities.
Creating drama (or Pot-Stirring) may seem irrational and unnecessary to Non-Jews. Many other ethnic or cultural groups operate with the opposite objective, choosing to minimize drama to the point where even major matters are underestimated. This can be seen readily in such groups as the WASP and Asian communities, as explored in the works of Jonathan Franzen and Amy Tan, respectively. As an example, Non-JYA “Cody” opts to hide his potentially fatal allergy to shellfish for fear of upsetting his girlfriend. “It drives me crazy”, says Cody, “She’s always cooking with shrimp and I just end up saying I’m not hungry when I’m freaking starving. But I don’t want to make her feel bad, so I’m not going to say anything, it would just create a problem and she’d feel bad.”
JYAs prefer the exact opposite approach, frequently provoking histrionic reactions from their peers just to see the effects, as evidenced in the following interaction between two female JYAs:
Tracy: “Oh my god, Talia was talking such trash about you last night, but I totally stood up for you”
Rachel: “Seriously? What did she say?”
Tracy: “I totally shouldn’t have said anything, pretend I didn’t say anything. But she did call you a slut”
Creating Drama is often reflexive and self directed. JYAs tend to amplify details of their own narratives with the mindset that increased drama will create a better listening experience, and will elicit enhanced responses from the audience. For example, one JYA, “Dave”, remarked about a recent Friday night: “I had like 3 girls all calling me up to go out, but I was still so hungover from the night before that I had to bail”. Dave’s friend, “Matt”, countered with a more prosaic version of the night’s events, stating: “Whatever, dude. We know you ordered Chinese and watched Project Runway”.
Whatever the reason for JYAs penchant to elicit fuss when there is no call for it, one thing remains certain: regardless of how much pot-stirring they actually do, there is not a single JYA who will readily admit to their actions, and will deny any malfeasance with every fiber of their being.