Why isn't media anti-Semitism ever addressed?

Today I was buying my textbooks for the upcoming year, and stumbled across an interesting-looking cover design. Without knowing what it was, I picked it up: it was about sexism and racism in the media. It was interesting, so I read it for a little bit. I wondered if it had anything in it about anti-Semitism, so I looked in the index.

No entry for ‘Anti-Semitism.’ None for ‘Jews’ or ‘Jewish.’ I looked for ‘Italian-American.’ No dice.

Clearly, this book was only addressing stereotypes about women, blacks, Hispanics and Asians. Definitely worthy subjects, but wait…

First of all:

Why is it that in every new movie I see, I’m constantly bombarded with negative Jewish stereotypes of the worst kind? Why is the Jewish male so often portrayed as an ineffectual, sometimes neurotic, often pitiful type of guy? I’m not even just talking about Woody Allen. Ross on Friends might be handsome, but why is he such a nerd? Why did the heroine’s geeky, homely best friend in ‘The Princess Diaries’ have to have a Jewish last name? Why was it so important that Greg Focker, the hapless loser of Meet the Parents, be Jewish? Wouldn’t the comedy have worked just as well if his religion wasn’t needlessly addressed? Why did the entire fat, nebbishy ‘Pear’ family, headed by Jon Lovitz, in ‘Rat Race,’ an otherwise good movie, have to be Jewish (and stumble into a Nazi museum, as part of the joke?)

In ‘Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle,’ the two Jewish stoners Rosenberg and Goldstein run into Harold and Kumar, at which point they are asked how Katie Holmes’ tits looked. One of them replies, "You know the Holocaust? They were the exact opposite of that.’

What the hell? How did that offensive ‘joke’ ever make it into that movie? And why aren’t any Jews openly criticizing it? Some people might find it funny that the deaths of millions of people are used as a punch line in a stupid joke, but I don’t.

Those movies don’t even begin to describe the extent of this. Any Jewish person or any perceptive person at all will understand my point: there are Jewish stereotypes and they show up all the time.

Second of all:

Hollywood is out-and-out crawling with Jews. Actors, directors, producers, agents, screenwriters…the myth of ‘Jewish Hollywood’ is partially true. Unlike anti-Semites, I don’t believe all the rich Jews are unified together in a sinister Hollywood plot. However as a reasonable person I understand that there are just lots and lots of Jews in Hollywood. Why don’t any of them say anything about this? Do they like being depicted in a negative fashion? Or are they too obsessed with money to take a stand for their pride?

Guess what? I’m Jewish, and I don’t fit anyone’s stereotype. I’m not socially awkward and I’m not obsessed with the Holocaust. And guess what else? I’m not alone. I’ve never run into a real-life 'Nerdy Jewish Geek" in my life. The Jewish girls here at IU are all hot, and the Jewish guys are all hip. My Jewish grandfather is not a fat cigar-smoking pawnshop owner with a hook nose. My Jewish mother is not pushy and overbearing. The whole Jewish side of my family is made up of the finest and most outstanding people, as are the majority of Jewish youth that I know here.

So fuck you, Hollywood. Your stereotypes are stupid and I’m sick of them.

If Steven Spielberg happens to be reading this, I want you to make a movie about Ted ‘Kid’ Lewis . For those of you who don’t know, that was the Jewish boxer who laid out the British fascist Oswald Mosley. And he is not the only Jew to kick someone’s ass. Yes, in case you didn’t know, Steven Spielberg, Jews are not just victims. They can and do fight. Why don’t you fight for your pride and for once make a decent representation of Jews for the box office?

This weekend on C-Span, Victor Davis Hanson was interviewed. At one point he said that when he was young it was the poor farmers that blamed the rich Jews back east for cheating them on the price of their crops. Now he says it is his fellow professors (mostly liberal) that are making anti-semitic remarks. I understand what you are saying, but doubt that you are going to get much of a response (at least not much of a positive response.)

…is this a rant or a debate?

Would you say that negative Jewish stereotypes are any worse in movies than the stereotypes faced by fat people, Maoris, girls with glasses, Italians, or Pacific Islanders? Aren’t all characters in movies stereotypes to some degree? Would Harold and Kumar have been funny if the protaganist’s weren’t Indian? Do you have any complaints about the Indian stereotypes in that movie?

I’ll give the OP a positive response!

This is something that has bugged me for awhile. I think the OP may overstate a few things and I don’t think the hollywood stuff rises to the level of anti-semitism, but it does foster an annoying stereotype, and its surprising how accepted it is. Possibly because some of the worst offenders are Jews themselves.

It really bugs me how, when writers want to telegraph that a guy is bumbling, nerdy or ridiculous, they’ll just name him Izzy Schachtenberg or something, or they’ll make a joke like “Our Basketball team was so bad our power forward was named Moe Feinstein.”


Yeah! I’m sure the ADL has nothing better to do with their time than get up in arms about some crappy movie. :rolleyes:

There’s plenty of stereotyping in the media. It’s a series of formulas, and Jews certainly aren’t alone.

Blacks are “urban”. The older they get, the more down to earth they are.
Whites are prudes. The older they get, the more racist they reveal themselves to be.
South Americans are horny and speak in a heavy accent.
The Disabled always have something to teach us.

There are more of course, but you get the idea. Some characters are memorable because they’re the complete opposite of their stereotype. Others are memorable because they’re a mascot for it. There aren’t many real, thinking human beings who act this way. The problem isn’t racism, it’s relying on unimaginative writers. Watch HBO.

First of all, you can change being fat. I’m a health-minded person and have no sympathy for fat people being offended. Maybe it’ll shock them into better dieting habits.

Secondly, I’ve never seen a movie with Maoris or Pacific Islanders, barring the ‘Samoan’ attorney in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas which I’d hardly describe as a racial stereotype.

Third of all, I don’t notice a particular prejudice against girls with glasses in film. If there is one, that’s too bad. I have glasses and they look good on me. Typically you see geeky people in general with UGLY glasses in movies. This is unrealistic; most classy people select frames that make them look better, not worse.

And finally, Italians in movies are always cool. Fonzie = cool. Rocky = cool. The mafia = cool (some would argue this is a negative stereotype, but the American movie-going public has fallen in love with the Mob, like it or not. [Side note - the Mob was just as Jewish as it was Italian in the 20’s. Some say that the deadliest hitman came from Murder Inc, a Jewish racket.]) Joey on Friends is the hottie (he’s dumb, sure, but loveable.) There aren’t nearly as many negatively-stereotyped Italians as Jews on the screen. When was the last time you saw a tough Jewish character in a movie? And how many times before that? See?

To Necro Romancer: Yes, Jews aren’t alone, and the other stereotypes are just as unfortunate. But really.

Every time I see a police chief in a movie, he’s black. Every time I see a judge, it’s a black woman. There are plenty of level-headed, admirable, positive black characters in movies.

Whites are prudes? What are you talking about? Every movie has about 100 white people in it, none of them are usually stereotyped at all.

South Americans are all horny? Again, what movies are you watching? And they have accents because they come from South America.

I don’t see many disabled people in movies, but I’d say that having something to teach you isn’t the same as always being a hapless, dorky loser or a pushy obnoxious bitch.

Every character in the cast is portrayed as defective-in-some-way-but-lovable, Jew or gentile, in roughly equal doses (Is Ross really nerdier than goyishe Chandler, the proud owner of not one but two Annie soundtrack CDs?). Not a great example.

The writers if the film, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, are Jews with shark-bait senses of humor, not antisemites with a sinister agenda. This is an even worse example of the point you are trying to make.

What are you saying? The disabled don’t always have something to teach me? :frowning:

Yes, and?

Asians are hyper-intelligent and speak broken English.
Native Americans are spiritually connected with the land.
Indians run 7-11 shops and wear turbans.
Muslims are terrorists.
Male Hispanics are illegal immigrants and/or day laborers. Female Hispanics are either spicy-hot sex bombs or smothering matriarchs.
Russians are either obsolete cold warriors or stoic Slavs who love the winter.
Canadians are obsessed with hockey and beer.
Catholics slavishly follow the Pope.
Mormons practice polygamy.
Amish are all backwards luddites who live in the 17th century.

Not that I believe any of this stuff, but the point is made. If the Jews want to claim media stereotype victimhood, please ask them to take a number.

I don’t watch too many shitty movies; I’m talking from TV experience. But if you want to see white prudes, go watch a comedy geared towards black youth.

Horny, brown folk from South (or Middle) America? Go watch a shitty movie with gangsters in it. Yes, they’re all immigrants.

Not all of them are venerable, just the wheel chair bound.

Just a guess(well, mostly, I’m not from Hollywood), but maybe it’s because they’re hip, hot, socially adapted people who have better things to do than being PC-obssessed and looking for offence where none is intended and looking for hurt where no damage was done.

Seriously, dude, Woody Allen movies are indicative of anti-Semitism in the media? Are you kidding?

Or is it a case of Poetic Justice as Fairness? You’re not quite right there, either, I think, but at least it’s somwhat defensible.

I agree with the OP.

My explanation would be that for decades now, Jewish entertainers and comedians have been a huge success, many of them playing on their Jewishness for laughs, and even using the sterotypes themselves. Thus the feeling is created among the goyim that it’s “OK” since they say it about themselves. Instead of fighting back, the Jewish response has often been more along the lines of “roll with it.”

Joey and Ross have gone toe-to-toe after the same girl four times. Ross wound up sleeping with three of them (Rachel, Charlie, and the girl at the Xerox place), and the fourth wanted neither of them. Please find a different TV show to bolster your point.

Hard to say about Jewish characters, but there are plenty of tough characters played by Jewish actors (Arthur Fonzarelli, Captain Kirk, Ford Fairlane, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sonny Corleone, Happy Gilmore–shall I go on?). I don’t think Jewish moviegoers are hurting for positive role models. Jewish bad guys are pretty scarce on-screen, though, compared to their Black, Irish, English, Asian and Russian counterparts (Has there been an identifiably Jewish Bond villain yet?).

If Jews were excluded from decision-making positions in Hollywood, or even were lacking proportionately in such roles, the prevalence of “nebbish” characters might be cause for alarm. But they aren’t. The same cannot be said for women, blacks, Latinos and Asian-Americans. There are numerous books by Jewish authors explaining that Hollywood is and always has been a bastion of Jewish influence. There is no case to be made that American film/TV is a hotbed of Jew-hatred.

Yes, and we’ve been rolling with it for several thousand years now. It’s a cultural defense mechanism, I suppose. But it persists because it tends to work.

I don’t think people are getting my message here. I’m not talking about any old stereotyping. I’m talking about negative stereotyping. Being a spicy hot Latina, being “stoic,” having a connection with the land, even running a convenience store or being obsessed with hockey and beer aren’t negative. And the other groups you’ve mentioned, in my opinion, don’t make enough movie appearances for me to judge. If there are negative stereotypes about them it’s a shame.

I’m talking about the most insidious, wimpy, nerdy, viscerally unappealing character types with no redeeming value whatsoever. Comic relief.

I’m not even neccessarily saying it’d be best to remove all anti-semitic stereotyping from movies. Fine! Leave it in, it sells, clearly. Nobody seems to have read what I wrote about Ted Lewis and the hundreds of other Hebrew hardasses throughout history that have been ignored by filmmakers.

The potential is there to make some good movies about positive Jewish characters. I want Spielberg to do that. I don’t want him to go to every studio begging directors to stop making Jewish jokes and dorky Jewish characters.

Go watch Exodus.

ah. Can we have another Woody Allen flick instead?