Roach, Jay, dir. Meet the parents (Motion picture : 2000)
Roach, Jay, dir. Meet the Fockers (Motion picture)
Cool (The English word)
This essay examines the recent upsurge in overt Jewish identity in American popular culture, using the film Meet the Parents (2000) and its sequel Meet the Fockers (2004) as a case study to demonstrate how the Jewish Jew is no longer avoided and when portrayed does not fall victim to stereotyping. While looking at these two films together, I describe a broader evolution in media from the de-ethnicized Jew, and for that matter the de-ethnicized Jewish actor, to performers flaunting (and thereby celebrating) Jewishness in a Christian-centric society that has found acceptance of the Other. The paper also questions what about Jewishness is cool and describes how viewer subjectivities influence the perception of coolness.
This paper explores the growing acceptability of the "Jewish" nose amongst women in Hollywood and in television as an indicator of Jewish acceptability. At a time when cosmetic surgery to alter appearances of media stars as well as ordinary people has become a growth industry, rhinoplasty ("nose jobs"), so popular amongst Jewish women in the 1950s and 1960s, has declined amongst Jewish women. It is not just that such Jewish superstars as Barbra Streisand have refused the standardization of a nose job. It is also that identifiably Jewish stars have made their names playing non-Jewish roles, as is the case with Sarah Jessica Parker, the apparently ethnically standardized star of Sex and the City. This paper theorizes that the change from unacceptability to acceptability is based on an increasingly successful challenge to the American myth of melting pot sameness by the politics of ethnic difference, based on a realization by the dominant culture of the reality of ethnic hybridity and erasure.
Parker, Sarah Jessica -- Criticism and interpretation.
Jews in popular culture -- United States.
Stereotypes (Social psychology)
Sarah Jessica Parker is a cool Jew, or so we argue in this essay. That is, the actress and the role that made her most famous—Sex and the City's iconic Carrie Bradshaw—offer fans a particular kind of pleasure that comes from identifying with an actor and character who are presented as, if not explicitly Jewish, then Jewish to those in the know. We argue, however, that Parker's ascent to superstar status necessitated a shift in the way her physical body has been produced, a shift away from those physical traits that might be read as explicitly or stereotypically Jewish. In this way her career mirrors the deep ambivalence we feel about postmodern identity and its dual promises of privilege: the privilege of uniqueness and the myth that we can all somehow attain the universal.
The extent to which ethnicity permeates an understanding of identity in Buffy the Vampire Slayer is apparent from the ways in which species difference stands in for racial or ethnic difference. However, among its many points of contact with ethnicity, one that is especially curious is the case of Willow Rosenberg's disappearing Jewishness. As a character, she shifts from nerd, to poster-child for geek-chic, she suffers from major addiction, is a lesbian and ends up as something approaching a goddess. She is also, intermittently, Jewish. The paper encourages a reading of Willow that sees her as cool and occasionally as Jewish but not necessarily as Jewish cool. To that extent, Buffy the Vampire Slayer can be read as an index of shifting sensibilities in relation to representations of Jews in popular culture whereby old stereotypes and perceptions are largely ignored, but there are not yet the necessary store of images and discourses available for young Jewish womanhood.
For many, it has long seemed apparent that in his two-part "gay fantasia," Angels in America, Kushner aspired to forge some vital but unspoken alliance between Judaism and gay struggle. For many, this remains one of the play's most interesting and yet not altogether coherent arguments. Yet when one considers the myriad of ways that Judaism always presumes a community of believers and more importantly, ethical adherents bound to one another and God by covenant, the politics of Angels cannot be isolated from its relation to Judaism's understanding of the sacred status of the stranger. By considering Judaism's intrinsic relation to "prophecy" as a rigorous mission of social progress, the coherence of Kushner's vision of men and angels emerges with greater clarity. In recasting the biblical outsider as AIDS victim, Kushner sought to reconfigure the encoded tribalism of liberation, to ensure that the prophetic message of the sacred texts was restated in the most inclusive terms possible.
Zakrzewski, Paul, ed. Lost tribe: Jewish fiction from the edge.
This essay considers how an amateur literary production, Plotz: The Zine for the Vaclempt, helped to construct both an oppositional and an eminently marketable form of contemporary Jewish identity. Barbara Rushkoff, née Kligman, the wit behind Plotz, yoked zine writing practices and attitudes with Jewish humor and thereby repositioned Jewishness in her zine as a kind of "alt-Jewishness," another type of oppositional culture within zine subcultures of the 1990s. Plotz's cultural significance is evident in the direct and indirect emulations of Rushkoff's formula in Heeb: The New Jew Review and in the visual and editorial packaging of Lost Tribe, an anthology of "Jewish Fiction From the Edge." Both developed that formula into a market brand, thus enabling fans of American Jewishness to buy, and to buy into, the values and practices that currently lend cultural legitimacy and social prestige to Jewish identity.
Punk in England is usually thought of as being related to a critique of stadium rock or to the disillusionment of a generation that saw nothing in the future but drudgery. In this article I argue that punk has more profound connections. Punk in England was driven by two Jewish managers, Malcolm McLaren and Bernie Rhodes, but, more important, punk's general politics of nihilism express in a cultural context the shock and trauma of the Holocaust. After almost three decades of near-silence, by the late 1970s the Holocaust was beginning to be named and talked about. The horror of this event on not just Jews but Western society more generally, as the acknowledgment of the genocide began to undermine the historical acceptance of Enlightenment assumptions about progress, science, and the moral righteousness of Western civilization, led to an existential crisis best expressed in punk. Whereas in the United States many punk performers were Jewish, in England the Jewish connections are to be found in the managers and in the lyrics.
Examining the specific reaction and context of meaning for Shawn Green's yearly internal battle between religious/personal commitments and job/team, and the historic context of Hank Greenberg's similar battles, this paper reflects on the complex and sometimes contradictory place of Jewishness within both the realms of popular and sporting cultures. In looking at the ways Shawn Green, the Los Angeles Dodgers, sports commentators, and fans have reacted to his Jewishness, and specifically his decision to skip games because of his religious cultural identity, this paper equally gives voice to the signifiers/discourse of Jewish (white) intrusion into the sports world. In exploring this discourse, this paper explores the meaning of Jewish celebrity within contemporary sports, analyzing the meaning and signifiers of Jewishness, whiteness, and celebrity within this popular cultural space.