Identity, Mishegas

Web Memes Reveal Antisemitic Undercurrent

I’ve got a one track mind. So when I discover a new “community content” website, my first move is to dig for Jews. Some of the things I’ve turned up in recent searches have been somewhat alarming — or at least, baffling when not alarming. What I’ve discovered, in doing these searches, is that antisemitism is alive and well in America, and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Take YTMND for example. YTMND stands for “You’re the man now, dog,” a quote from Sean Connery’s character in the film Finding Forrester. The original YTMND meme is a webpage with a tiled image of Connery, superimposed text of the YTMND quote with a wretched 8-bit trail effect, and an audio loop of Connery’s line from the movie. Hah, brilliant.
Since it first surfaced, there have been countless parodies of YTMND — so many in fact that YTMND’s website has become a fully interactive, community driven archive of thousands of variations of the YTMND meme.
Enter the Jews. There are a handful of entertaining entries related to the keywords “Jew” and “Jews” on YTMND. For example: One | Two | Three | Four. However, there are many more which disturb (as if the ones I’ve loosely branded “entertaining” aren’t disturbing enough). One | Two | Three | Four | Five. YTMND does have a policy against racist material and there are currently a dozen Jewish-related submissions which have been blocked pending “editorial review.” What these submissions say about the general perception of Jews among young Americans, though, should be cause for concern. Xenophobia abounds.
Next up is YouTube, a community video site where anyone can upload their own video clips. The vast majority of content you’ll discover on YouTube when you search for the word “Jew” consists of teenagers deriding and ridiculing their Jewish friends.
Dig deeper and you’ll discover something even more disturbing. If ever there was proof that Holocaust education has failed miserably, it is here, where you will find scores of teenagers “humorously” reenacting Nazi attrocities in homemade films. One | Two | Three | Four.
What is there to say about such things? I have to wonder to myself how parents and educators react if-and-when they see these films. Such is the consequence of the Hollywoodification of the Shoah.
Such is the abhorrent ignorance which runs thick in the USA. And damning it is that even our efforts to relate our struggle have become the subject of ridicule.

17 thoughts on “Web Memes Reveal Antisemitic Undercurrent

  1. i think the jaws/jews one is funny. its poking fun at irrational fear of jews. note the german words tossed in.

  2. Yeah definitely good to point this out. The internet seems to be this engine of sarcasm and parody, amplifying people’s desires monstrously, and offering them a venue to prey upon the weakest. Witness the increasing escalating violence of internet porn, videos of bums getting beaten up, ‘enemies’ getting beaten up, Iraqis being murdered or tortured. The holocaust will then be up for grabs as well.
    Having some experience trying to defend a living historical memory of the holocaust on ‘community content’ websites I can tell you that an intense over-reaction complete with historical facts and outrage is exactly what these imbeciles are fishing for. They want your anger, they want to show you through the spectacle engine of the internet the vulnerability of your own position and the invulnerability of theirs (on what level of culture has the experience of the middle class white male NOT been attacked, for instance? and yet it is as strong as ever). I haven’t found a satisfactory way to deal with the problem. Sometimes skirmishing, dropping precise facts, or asking questions that, if they go unanswered testify to the idiot’s idiocy, can sink their battleships. Generally, even if the trollish jew-hater won’t concede his points, it is possible to make other people understand the gravity of their inhumanity and ignorance.
    With media, it’s tough. There are no forums or ways to respond. But perhaps there are methods of detournment. Consider the movie remixes that are ‘all the rage’. Could somehow these forays into race hatred be turned back upon themselves? I think there is potential in this.
    Lastly, let’s not forget that the project of keeping a historical memory of the holocaust aflame, tied to its indivisible maginitude and its own particularities, alongside the stories of others massacred by the wolves of history (Armenian genocide, Iraqi Anfal campaigns, India under the British just for a few), in full view of the weakness of their protagonists but most importantly the bravery of their resistance taking power from a stubborn hold to the view that civilization can be more than what it is, is not a struggle of Jews, on the contrary it is part of the project of the progressive sector of humanity which recognize in all its privations and struggles the history of all previous struggles. And therefore owes its solidarity to the people of Israel, who now face with only reason and steel on the one hand all the mediocre imbeciles of history gathered together to excuse Europe’s crimes, while cozying up to the oil barons of the mid-east, and on the other an Islamic revolution on the offensive, obliterating all secular counter-narratives in its path.

  3. What has YOUR Jewish identity got to do with anti-semitism? why are you looking for it? If you dig deep enough anywhere you’ll find a whole bunch of disturbing sh*t. The question is not what Other people are up to – but rather what is the focus in YOUR Life, Your Jewish identity / Judaism? Why do jews seem to love and focus on anti-semitism, the Holocaust and the world hating Israel? – you are asking for a good ass kicking because you’ve got ‘VICTIM’ written on your forehead! That is such old-jew-thinking – stuck in the Ghetto – (everyone hates me!) get with the NEW – Love BEING who YOU ARE! thats all!

  4. I was shocked this past December when I lead a birthright trip made up of intelligent Jewish adults ages 22-26, when I found out that many of them had not told their bosses that they were going to Israel over their vacation. In some of their cases, it was not necessarily blatant Antisemitism, but rather lack of education that made them uncomfortable with uncovering their true identity. They were afraid they would have to defend Israel or explain something about Jewish history and since they weren’t equipped, better not mention it.
    Toward the end of the trip however many of them planning on “coming out” as Jew at work – being proud of their Jewish identity and not making assumptions about other people’s judgements.
    I think in order for us to respond to MaxKohanzad’s charge to love who we are is education. What does our Jewish identity come from? Is it boring Hebrew school that we resent, or is it that interesting lecture we saw last week, that thought provoking book, or even that great blog I am connected with? We can now choose how we associate ourselves and how to connect to our Judaism. Reading this blog is just one great start!

  5. is it ok for muslims to be offended by depictions of the prophet as a suicide bomber? No I am not defending the torching of the embassies but there is no doubt the cartoons were meant to be insulting to ALL muslims. If they don’t have a right to be offended by them why do Jews have a right to be offended by stuff like this? and that cartoon isn’t even directed at all Jews, just a particular one, who often was careless about hitting civilians.
    Also look at all the stereotyping that is tolerated in the Jewish press. The talkback section of a haaretz article on this topic was filled with calls to bomb or boycott all muslim countries and claims that all muslims were barbaric and uncivilized.

  6. Mobius, I grew up one of eight Jews in a predominantly German-American small town school, and it was pretty bizarre, and just plain awful. But I still would prefer that we get past anti-semitism as our major point of reference. Sure, it is perhaps the most defining point of our history, but it is all we are as a civilization, that’s for damned sure.
    Chasing anti-semites is like chasing the waves. There are always more, you can’t beat it completely. Anti-semitism is as mysterious and resilient as the Jewish people themselves.

  7. The talkbacks on haaretz are generally a waste of time and are full of nothing but vitriol, constant repetitions of the same platitudes, and general obtuseness.

  8. Some people fail to understand that the Holocaust is not a joke…It’s sad really, so many organizations spending their time on these people when they could be doing more.
    G-d speed to the anti defamation league!

  9. Why do jews seem to love and focus on anti-semitism, the Holocaust and the world hating Israel? – you are asking for a good ass kicking because you’ve got ‘VICTIM’ written on your forehead! That is such old-jew-thinking – stuck in the Ghetto – (everyone hates me!) get with the NEW – Love BEING who YOU ARE! thats all!

  10. Max, Dave kelsey and Dameocrat.
    wait til they are dead before you tell the world the survivors suffered for nothing and should have been dead sooner.
    We are people of the book and we learn from the past, supposedly, to prevent more crap in the future. I want you to tell my MIL, my mother, and most of the people I am associated with that there personal history, their trauma and their experiences as jews need to be dismissed and they need to be dismissed because they were victims.
    you do not know what it means to be the canary in the coal mine.
    Go to school. All of you.
    And get some compassion. Can’t you wait until your grandparents are dead before you spit all over them and shit on their graves?

  11. I’m not sure that using as a way of illustrating your point was the right vehicle – it’s pretty much a comedy site (worse yet, a comedy site pretty much made up of young guys) so by definition it’s going to be 99% sophomoric. And like all amateur comedy, more of it will miss than hit regardless. Add that to the South Park mentality that no target is off-limits, and you have crap like the stuff you’re talking about. The fact that South Park is usually hysterical and these 15-18 year olds (who are we kidding here) aren’t — is pretty much lost on the creators… but the “ratings” system and high turnover it has are letting the crap sink through, too. I have a feeling that the bottom-feeder stuff is staying on the bottom where it belongs, never to be seen again. And like others have posted, turn over any rock, anywhere – and especially on the internet – and you’re going to find hate speech and hate sites and anti-semitism at its vilest.
    Meanwhile, it’s a fun, goofy site (I’d never seen it before – and I loved it!), and I think the only solution is to emphasize the positive — why not combat bad images of Jews with good ones. We’re not exactly slouches when it comes to controlling the entertainment industry entertaining people 🙂
    Anyhow, here’s my debut sample contribution: Not sure if it’s funny or not. But it’s a start…

  12. Kyle’s Mom,
    With all due respect, I was not saying what you said I was saying, and my experience with Holocaust Education for the masses was decidely negative. Very negative. In fact, I had a conflict with some kids who remarked at how they enjoyed seeing a mass pit of dead Jewish women. When protesting, they asked me (they were older, it was gym class) “What, are you a Jew?”
    That was quite an education.
    You can’t force people to feel what you feel.
    The Jews died in the plague of Darkness, so the Egyptians wouldn’t know. Publicizing it to the world may not be the biggest Mitzvah we would like to think it is.
    Policy should not be set because of our own understandable and appropriate feelings. And that is how it is being set.

  13. “Such is the consequence of the Hollywoodification of the Shoah.”
    Yup antisemitism is primarily Speilberg’s fault. He is so square.

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