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?