Outrage of the Week

Making its rounds about Jewish inboxes this week was the most recent issue of The Medium, the so-called “Entertainment Weekly of Rutgers University.” On its cover, the magazine bears the headline “Holocaust Rememberance Week: Springfest 2004,” and depicts a dunking booth-like oven with a hasidic man sitting atop it, along with the caption “Knock a Jew in the oven! Three throws for one dollar!”

The magazine attempts to deflect criticism of this simply disgusting display with the following Q&A on the “about” page of their website:

Q: Do you actually think some of this garbage is funny?
A1: No, we actually think it’s hilarious.
A2: No, we’d prefer a few more jokes about the disabled, the oppressed, and your deceased family members. We are evil, after all.
A3: Yes, we do. We find that humor is our special way of dealing with the changing fortunes and hardships of life. We find that, as odd as it may sound, by making fun of some of these potentially scary and depressing things, we actually can better deal with them. OK, actually we don’t feel that way, we just hate life and hate you, too.

Sophomoric and just plain unfunny much, what?

Considering the magazine operates as a school club, paid for with student association funds, I gave Rutgers a call to find out if publishing content of this nature with school funds was prohibited by university regulations. Unfortunately, the person with whom I need to speak is unavailable until later this afternoon. I’ll follow up as soon as I get through…

In the meantime, the president of the university is demanding an apology from the students involved in its publication. One of them, Ned Berke, who selected the cartoon, is himself Jewish, and a relative of Holocaust victims. “Humor is a way of honoring them and trying to get over it and to laugh,” he told Newsday. “The Holocaust has been taboo for years.”

Uh yeah, maybe because there’s nothing funny about it? “Hahah! My 18 month-old uncle died in an oven!* Isn’t that a gas! Giggle, giggle!” What a jackass.

*This is true, by the way. My mom’s would-have-been-older brother Chaim Elazar was fed to an oven in Auschwitz when he was 18 months old. Clearly, you can see why I don’t find this cartoon even slightly amusing.

15 thoughts on “Outrage of the Week

  1. Maybe I’m wrong, but is anyone noticing more anti-semitic garbage sourcing up lately that seems to be mysteriously backed by some self-degrading or self-hating Jew? I guess nothing leads to racial harmony like degrading yourself to others, less frightening for them.

  2. Its mostly unfunny to me because the title HRD:Springfest 2004 is too reminiscient of Springtime for Hitler. Making a joke out of the Holocaust has been done already, and by someone much better at it.
    Self-degrading Jews are as old as Jackie Mason. (Probably older)

  3. I’d like to direct everyone’s attention to Norman Finkelstein. He came to speak at my university, and was presented by the Palestinian Students Association.
    His topics included “Why the Jews don’t deserve a state,” “Why the shoah shouldn’t be remembered,” and “All Jews are slimy capitalists who exploit the shoah to gain international sympathy.”
    So while I may be shocked and appaled at this cartoon, I am not surprised. Before I went on the March of the Living, my dad said to me, “There are all types of Jews out there. Not all are pious, and not all believe in Hashem. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you met a large number of shieshters and shtoonks.”Norman Finkelstein and these idiots from Rutgers are to the Jewish community as Priests having sex with little boys are to the Christians – we hate the fact that they are here, but we’re going to have to learn to deal with them.

  4. Grr. Yet another reason why I’m glad I never went to “the State University of New Jersey”. Feh.
    And yes, a lot of anti-Semitic humor does seem to be based on or come from the stereotype of the “self-hating Jew”… just because 80% of the standup comedy world consists of Jews making fun of Jewish life, DOESN’T MEAN THEY HATE IT. It means they have a good sense of irony, as all comics need, regardless of race or ethnicity or religion.
    Fucking Rutgers.

  5. i went to rutgers. all i have to say is this: rutgers is one of the most fucked up universities in this country. dont expect to ever get an answer or a phone call from them.
    as a student i always enjoyed reading the medium, especially because it was always making students take a look at how messed up the university’s system is and how awful rutgers is becoming. however, this jew dunking stuff is way way way over the line, but the university always always always stands firm on the freedom of speech. period. they will never do anything about. im serious.

  6. Do I support freedom of speech and press? Of course.
    Do I think Rutgers is beyond reproach? No.
    As a Rutgers alumnus, will I be voicing my concern? I’m not sure. Although I don’t like the cartoon and find it offensive, I still support their right to print it. It’s a bad editorial decision, to be sure. But Tami’s right about the general tenor of The Medium–irreverent, and designed to provoke strong reactions in people.
    When I was a student, there was a rally against some Holocaust denier. Recently, there was anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian activity. But all this diversity made me glad I had gone to Rutgers, instead of to the more insular Jewish universities I had considered. We live in the U.S., and it’s good to know where people stand on certain issues, even if their viewpoints differ radically and sometimes offensively. It’s not a question of “know thine enemy,” as much as “understand the world you live in.” My two cents. I’m getting off my soapbox, now.

  7. I think it is quite obvious that the students who made these jokes aren’t actually anti-semites.
    Even if they are, they aren’t going to actually kill any jews.
    Freedom of speech comes before everything else.
    I think its funny, and I’m jewish, and my mother’s uncle was a jewish medic who saved people from concentration camps.
    It’s ok to say whatever and laugh at whatever. It’s not going to hurt anybody. Until Rutgers starts killing jews, or denying people admission based on religeon I couldn’t give two craps.

  8. I agree with mo on this one. It’s the most poorly tasted joke I ever saw. That kid deserves a good beating by a holocaust survivor and then I’ll think he’ll shut his stupid mouth for the rest of his life.

  9. I agree with Eliyahu, and was about to post almost the same thing before finishing reading the thread. I don’t think Rutgers should pull funding, but individuals can call a piece of sh#t by its name, and the louder the better.

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