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Gene Simmons, Musician, b. 1949

“What, are you stupid?”

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My mother and I are immigrants, and I was oblivious. We didn’t have TV, we didn’t have radio. My mother was afraid of the outside world—she survived the concentration camps, so of course you’re clannish. She stuck me in the yeshiva. The problem was I couldn’t speak English. One of the first phrases I learned was, “What, are you stupid? Can’t you speak English?”


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