Max Simon Nordau (July 29, 1849 – January 23, 1923), born Simon Maximilian Südfeld in Pest, Hungary, was a Zionist leader, physician, author, and social critic.
He was a co-founder of the World Zionist Organization together with Theodor Herzl, and president or vice president of several Zionist congresses. As a social critic, he wrote a number of controversial books, including Degeneration (1892) ...the book most often remembered and cited today.
Max Nordau was one of our most important fathers of political Zionism. Trained as a physician, in the book Degeneration he described the confluence of degeneration and hysteria that he saw in then-contemporary society as an illness, evidenced by the art and writings of his time, "in the life and conduct of men," and in "the tastes and aestthetic instincts of fashionable society."
Of course that was 120 years ago, but I mention this now because it's all I could think of when I read at The Hill Blog Briefing Room that
"While introducing the first lady at a New York City fundraiser [actor Robert] De Niro jokingly suggested that America isn't 'ready for a white first lady.'"
“Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now, do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?” De Niro said, to laughter from the crowd. When someone in the audience yelled, “No!” De Niro continued, “Too soon, right?”
According to the report, Newt Gingrich afterward demanded an apology from the White House. A spokeswoman for Michelle Obama complied (sort of) by saying that the "joke" was "inappropriate." And then De Niro assured everyone in his own statement that his remarks "were not meant to offend or embarrass anyone, especially the First Lady."
Someone call a doctor. There is an illness out and about "in the life and conduct of men" and in "the tastes and aesthetic instincts of fashionable society."