Friday, August 12, 2005

Follow-ups to some recent Bloghead stories

-- A few weeks ago, we asked why President Moshe Katsav wasn't doing anything to help calm spirits and unite the nation during the difficult time of disengagement. He finally came through this week, apparently brilliantly. Should we kvetch he didn't do this a month ago?
-- Last week we briefly discussed the Heeb 'We're cool Jews -- and we're cooler than you' phenomenon. Nextbook has published an excerpt from a long essay by Heeb's founder, which reveals exactly why it was always destined to stick to the surface of every issue:
For some, I began to think, being Jewish was the main-course brisket on their identity dinner tables. Everything they do, everyone they know is Jewish. Maybe they have a couple of side-dish identities—being a woman, a litigation attorney, from St. Louis—but by and large, they are Jews. But then, there were people for whom identity itself is more of a dim sum, and their Jewish part like one small, tasty dumpling amid a variety of other yummy treats. I was a dim sum Jew, and so were most of my friends. I had the idea one autumn day to make a magazine for us. This magazine, I decided, would be called Heeb.
Eventually she, too, tired of the whole thing, though not, according to her own account because she'd gained any true perspective or a more sophisticated understanding of what being Jewish can mean:
After a while, it was like I was putting out a magazine for people with brown hair. Sure, I have brown hair. I like having brown hair. But I can talk about it only so much until it feels irrelevant, not to mention self-indulgent. Being the poster girl for hipster secular Judaism wasn't really me. And although I was glad for Heeb's success and worked very hard for it, the popular message was, roughly speaking, that being Jewish is cool.
Being Jewish, cool? Um, dork factor: ten. It's not cool now, it never has been, and it never will be. But, this was the message taken by many people, and I was its mortified messenger.
I preferred the definition of Jews as ultimate outsiders.
That's the best she could do after three years at a Jewish mag???
The real story here is, of course, the media, which, presented with a sexy Jewish story, jumped on the Heeb bandwagon and created a myth totally unsupported by circulation figures (a sad 22,000 according to figures on the 'net), output or quality. (Hat tip: Tamara)
-- A couple of days ago, I complained that radical sheikh Omar Bakr Mohammed didn't seem to see a contradiction between calling for the destruction of the West and taking hundreds of thousands of pounds of benefits from the British government and tax-payer. He has finally been banned, forever, from returning to the UK -- but it took the final revelation that he was actually planning to return to get a free heart operation at the expense of the NHS (National Health Service).

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