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Dave Love of Sunburst Kosher Tours had a look of unmistakable disgust on his face as he handed the Monitor a copy of Heeb magazine. “Can you believe this garbage?” he asked, referring both to the publication’s content and some of the sponsors listed on its masthead.
If Heeb magazine were a person, it would be a creature of indeterminate gender and sexual preference, body festooned with numerous piercings and sundry other exotic modifications, given to mouthing swatches of radical and anarchist flapdoodle.
Launched in 2002 to a good deal of fanfare, Heeb was touted as an irreverent, in-your-face “alternative” to main stream Jewish media outlets, aimed at hip young Jews who viewed traditional Judaism and Jewish culture as hopelessly passé. The magazine’s founding editor hinted at what was to come when she told the Village Voice, “The official Jewish community has certain Jews it claims as its heroes, but we want to be out there picking up the refuse.”
That’s refuse - defined in our handy dictionary as trash, rubbish, garbage - and with Heeb it certainly is a case of garbage in, garbage out. Successful it’s not; intended at the start to be a quarterly, the magazine just recently put out only its fourth issue in two years, and its circulation is under 20,000.
How bad is Heeb? In issue number three – and bear in mind that a good deal of the content cannot be described in detail in a family newspaper - readers were treated to a letter to the editor from a moron who decided to have the family dog bat-mitzvahed and thoughtfully sent along a photograph of the proud pooch wearing a little tallit, which Heeb of course saw fit to publish.
Next, someone identified as a contributing editor edified readers with the observation that “Italians are basically Jews with better food. Just ask my boyfriend’s extended family, who spends every birthday, anniversary, and simcha sucking up marinara at Anthony and Mario’s checkered tablecloth in Jersey.”
Then there was the memorable profile of “ManWoman,” a biological male covered with more than 200 swastika tattoos of varying size and design who swears he’s no fascist, only someone earnestly doing his part to rehabilitate what he describes as “a good luck symbol known around the world.”
Another profile introduced Heeb’s readers to a poor soul claiming to be an “Orthodox comedian” whose act includes this line destined for the Comedy Hall of Fame: “A lot of people say to me, “Dave, how can you, an Orthodox Jew, use a Braun razor made in Germany?” And I say, “Hey, give credit where it’s due: Those people know how to take the beards off of Jews.?”
And let’s not overlook the piece by a Jewish woman who went to the West Bank as a “human rights observer” and writes of her shame that Jews “could be capable of perpetrating heinous crimes against other humans.”
Despite its negligible impact, Heeb deserves our fleeting attention, not so much for its product as for the cautionary tale it tells about what happens when organizational desk jockeys think they’ve found the key to being cool – and end up looking silly in the process.
Remember when network television discovered the counterculture in the late 1960′s? Middle-aged writers of dramas and situation comedies suddenly began inserting hippie-type characters into their scripts, with predictably laughable results. What viewers usually ended up getting was one of two extremes - either some fortyish actor foolishly trying to pass as a flower child (think Bob ‘Gilligan’ Denver in a Beatles wig) or some hideous long-haired villain straight out of the Manson family.
In the case of Heeb, the adults at seemingly sober organizations like the Joshua Venture Fellowship and the Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation thought a magazine aimed at the fringes somehow spoke to a cross-section.
They weren’t alone: For the first two years of its existence, Heeb was also sponsored by UJA Federation of New York, which spent $108,000 on the magazine. After a recent flurry of negative publicity, UJA announced the funding would stop immediately, a year ahead of schedule. Heeb’s new editor says he’s determined to keep the magazine going.
About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.
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Obama went to begin the Arab Spring in Egypt which is still his target; Israel is just the lever.
Qatar’s wealth and Turkey’s size should not preclude us from telling it as it is: Qatar and Turkey are among the worst villains in the Gaza tragedy.
New Delhi would do well to remain aware of the predicament of Israel today.
his Tisha B’Av, and this Tu B’Av, remember: Hashem will protect us if we unite and rally around Him
Israel’s morality is underscored by its unprecedented restraint and care for loss of life.
The Gazan octopus arm is a test case, as the rest of the arms are closely watching it.
Obama has chosen shaky ally on the way out over strong ally solidly in the American orbit.
World War I had sown chaos throughout the centuries-old Jewish communities of Eastern Europe.
The IDF pounding continued and it again seemed only a matter of time before Hamas would be forced to accept the Egyptian proposal.
Nothing is ever so clear in the complex and often brutal calculus of urban warfare.
These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.
What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.
With 2013 marking half a century since Kennedy’s fateful limousine ride in Dallas, the current revels are exceeding the revisionist frenzies of years past, with a seemingly endless parade of books, articles and television specials designed to assure us that, despite everything that has come to light about him since his death, JFK was a great president, or at least a very good president who would have been great had his life not been so cruelly cut short.
As someone who for the past fifteen years has been writing a column that largely focuses on the news media, I’ve read what is no doubt an altogether unhealthy number of books on the subject. Most of them were instantly forgettable while some created a brief buzz but failed to pass the test of time. And then there were those select few that merited a permanent spot on the bookshelf.
George W. Bush has been getting some positive media coverage lately, with recent polls showing him at least as popular as his successor, Barack Obama, and a big new book about the Bush presidency by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker (Days of Fire, Doubleday) portraying Bush as a much more hands-on chief executive than his detractors ever imagined.
Readers who’ve stuck with the Monitor over the years will forgive this rerun of sorts, but as we approach the fortieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War – and with the stench of presidential indecisiveness hanging so heavily over Washington these days – it seemed only appropriate to revisit Richard Nixon’s role in enabling Israel to recover from the staggering setbacks it suffered in the first week of fighting.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/heeb-a-slur-of-a-magazine/2004/03/10/
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