Being an addictive armchair traveler I spend many hours, to the disgust of family and friends, reading and clicking through the Jewish digital world. Along the way I come across hundreds of websites dedicated to the Jewish experience.
Articles, blogs and websites of every manner ,shape , political and religious diversity imaginable (within the Jewish context) are available for any one who has the time and inclination to read.
They range from the deadly boring, self indulgent to cutting edge production and flamboyant journalistic styles. Most divulge and only repeat with added commentary much of what is already available from the mainstream Jewish media.
A few take themselves too seriously and provide little more than over politicized view of the world,condemning themselves to a digital shtetl mentality,albeit in many cases a vocal one with a seemingly never ending whinge about the state of Judaism in the world.
Others,thankfully, push the limits and provide not only a contemporary,fresh and a modern approach to the Jewish condition,but in many cases a controversial view of the world through Jewish eyes.
At times they are divisive as well as confronting as they delve and dissect the idiosyncrasies of our Jewish centres of gravity. They are important because they challenge traditional views and make us rethink who we are and our place in the world within an ever changing Jewish framework.
Not always agreeing with the sentiments expressed,but certainly respectful of the unique views and interpretations I am stimulated as well as often bemused by their audacity in many cases.
Sometimes in pushing those boundaries , articles cross the border from insightful to disrespectful under the guise of satire.
were two features. The first entitled That Oven Feelin’ Roseanne Barr Turns Up The Heat, which provides an interview with Roseanne Barr along with a photo shoot of her sporting a Hitler style mustache, Nazi armband,holding a tray of half burnt gingerbread men alongside an oven.
Here is a slice of what to expect
As the “Domestic Goddess” dons the famous moustache, transforming into “Domestic Goddess Hitler,” I notice that she’s beginning to have fun. She nails the Fuehrer’s facial expressions with twisted glee, and as she takes the burnt gingerbread “Jew Cookies” out of the oven it occurs to me that Barr may be the last celebrity utterly incapable of giving a fuck—a quality theoretically easy to embody until it’s time to face the practical repercussions.
The interviewer of course panders to Rosanne’s peculiarities and goes further ….
When the photographer suggests that we pose together for a quick snapshot, I put my arm around this slightly eccentric drinker and pot smoker who gets off on dressing like a Nazi, and it dawns on me: I adore her.
Perhaps I am a little old fashioned, but the whole tenor of the article and even the magazine’s overall theme, in this case seems perverse and unnecessarily provocative.
Many have been up and arms over our recent photo of Roseanne Barr as a “Nazi domestic goddess” in our Germany Issue, questioning how, as Jews, we could ever find any humor in such a subject. When I hear such sorrowful pleas, I want to cry from remorse, but I’m afraid the ensuing suds would cake the lenses of my glasses.
Grandiosely unapologetic, Neuman goes on to explain that “Heeb is a satirical Jewish culture magazine that interrogates stereotypes and ideas (hopefully in creative ways) that many hold sacred in order to represent the complex and nuanced perspectives that many Jews have about their identities.”
Further…“while we kind of don’t give a shit whether the magazine wreaks havoc on smug and sanctimonious visions of Jewish life, we do care when our intentions (or those of our collaborators) are distorted.”
Supremely smug in his own defense it’s obvious that Neuman cares less for his readers sensitivities than that of the marketing ploy of controversy for its own sake and the defense of a supposed satiric commentary. That he chooses the word “collaborators” to describe some of his contributors is perhaps an unconscious sarcasm in itself.
The Holocaust it seems according to Neuman has lost its place of sacredness,perhaps as much as Neuman himself has stretched his affinity with his Jewishness to the point where it’s simply a conspiracy of birth. The need to be accepted over and above an unwanted birth defect paramount to the point of ugliness.
Rosanne also in her defending article claims that she is making “fun of Hitler”. But then Rosanne’s floundering career has of course nothing to do with it.
I leave it to you to decide whether Heeb’s latest offering is relevant, or even satirical.