Top Moments in Madoff Pop Culture

By Gordon Haber

Published November 25, 2009, issue of December 04, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Bernard Madoff caused a lot of heartache with his titanic Ponzi scheme. It seems only natural that a scandal of this magnitude would creep into the larger culture. After considerable mental strain, the Forward has dug up some notable examples. Determining their taste, or lack thereof, is up to you.

1. The “Seinfeld” reunion on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

In the show-within-a-show plotline, George Costanza has made millions with the iToilet, an iPhone application that points the user to the nearest public bathroom. But George has lost his money to Madoff, so he tries to get back together with his ex-wife, who has invested more wisely.

2. “Madoff: Made Off With America”

The trailer for this schlockfest says it all, as does the producer’s claim that this movie “is said to be a record breaker at the box office,” when a release date has not yet been set. The film will supposedly tell “how he did it” and “where the money went.”

3. Woody Allen’s “Tails of Manhattan”

The filmmaker “channels” S.J. Perelman in the March 30 issue of The New Yorker, in which he tells the tale of two Madoff victims who die and are reincarnated as lobsters, only to plot their revenge at an eatery on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

4. Madoff, the Halloween costume

Madoff’s punim popped up everywhere on Halloween, as the evil schemer was the go-to costume for teens and adults. Both Amazon.com and AnyCostume.com sold out of their Madoff masks well before October 31.

5. Caroline Rothstein’s “For Bernie Madoff”

Rothstein, a blogger and spoken-word poet, performed a somewhat histrionic but impassioned (and 100% Jewish) free-verse response to the scandal, recorded at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

6. Sheryl Weinstein’s “Madoff’s Other Secret: Love, Money, Bernie, and Me”

Twenty years after an extramarital affair with Madoff, the former chief financial officer of Hadassah tells of “the unluckiest day of my life,” when she met Madoff. In her book, Weinstein, who lost her life savings to the Ponzi schemer, offers up details of the couple’s affair, photographs and other intimate descriptions.






Find us on Facebook!
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.