Faking the Holocaust for Fun and Profit
Shark week? Forget about it. This right here is Drama Queen's ethnic controversy week, and it doesn't bite.
Today's controversy? Heeb, a Jewish arts, culture and politics magazine that dons its kippah somewhere between Grand Royal and Gawker, and is aimed squarely at the younger-than-me demographic, launched a Fake Holocaust Memoir Competition this week, that I dunno, maybe goes too far.
I'm okay with laughing at Israel's pot legalization movement when they use Holocaust survivors to up the guilt factor. I'd order a Kyketail with pride the next time I'm out after sundown on a Saturday night, even though they're gross and the editors spelled mohel wrong, and kike too, for that matter (though, okay, it's a transliteration anyway). I'm cool with them putting Courtney Love on the cover, even though no matter what she says she's as shiksafied as you can get without going to CCD or something (BTW, Courtney, if you read this, I've been a fan ever since Teenage Whore, and found you before I found Nirvana).
But it just smells wrong to set up the Holocaust as a joke and use this particular disgrace as a punchline. Going after Bernie Madoff and all he does to raise the profile of Shylock, Fagin and their legions of hook-nosed, greedy co-conspirators? Fine. Madoff deserves it, though it's funny that when Ken Lay had a documentary made about his shell game, no one dragged a thousand or so years of ethnic stereotypes into the frame. Going after Holocaust movie season? Sure. A trend that crass deserves no less, even if it's ultimately good for the Jews, which I doubt since it's coming from Hollywood, and I've heard some rumors about who runs that town.
The problem is that the contest seems like an idea that could be co-sponsored by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (probably shouldn't give him any ideas). Yes, one of the novelists giving evidence to deniers around the globe (and lately, the Vatican) is a complete phony, but the other one actually is a survivor--it just didn't go down the way he said it did, and to my mind, surviving the Holocaust gets you a lifetime pass on most transgressions, even if they involve making a fool of Oprah on national television. My issue is with Heeb, not with the fake memoirists, because if Jews don't treat the Holocaust like the untouchable horror it was, then who will? If we wink at civilian attempts to phony it up, aren't we validating the deniers? It's a misguided idea from any perspective--literary, historical, snarky--and one that is, I believe, unequivocally bad for the Jews.