Last night, at the 10th annual Stand Up for Heroes in Madison Square Garden, a whole slew of comedy legends came out to honor vets, including Jerry Seinfeld, Louie CK, and much-missed ex-Daily Show Host Jon Stewart.
With one week to go in this crazy hurricane of an election, the candidates were obviously a topic of interest. Stewart in particular had an anecdote about The Donald, which he titled, “The Day I Woke Up To Find Out Somebody Was Tweeting Weird Shit About Me.” That someone, it turns out, was Trump, who in April of 2013 launched a weird, unprovoked Twitter barrage against Stewart, who he “called out” (read: anti-Semitically dog-whistled at) for not using his real, much more Jewish sounding name.
The results were amazing. Please, treat yourself to this clip. It’s worth it.
Lana Adler is a Forward Fellow working in opinion. Follow her on Twitter @Lana_Macondo
Lately, news has been swirling around that Mel Gibson, ten years after outing himself as an anti-Semite, has “officially been released” from a sort of “director’s jail”, ending his de facto status as “persona non grata” in Hollywood.
The proof given for this “official release” includes the fact that he’s now coming out with a big movie (Hacksaw Ridge), is in talks for future acting projects, and allegedly has agencies vying to represent him.
The fact is, though, those broad proclamations that Gibson has suddenly been unilaterally released from some complete persona non grata status are shortsighted and misinformed.
Gibson has, in fact, been working. After his infamous 2006 “fucking Jews” rant, he was dropped by a number of people, including agent Ari Emanuel, who publicly denounced Gibson’s “tragically inflammatory statements”. However, despite the fact that pop culture reactions made him the butt of a good number of jokes for years, there were always people—many people—defending him. From high profile stars like Jodie Foster, Whoopie Goldberg, and Danny Glover to (Jewish) The Patriot co-producer Dean Devlin, Gibson was never entirely bereft of support, even as he continued to say terrible anti-Semitic, racist, sexist, and homophobic things on the record. This is up to and including recent accounts from the (admittedly dubious source) Glenn Beck, alleging that Gibson ranted that “Jewish people” stole a copy of Passion of the Christ in order to “make his life hell.”
And despite Gibson’s whining that he was “suddenly a pariah” after his bile became public, he came out with Apocalypto after the incident—a film that did very well critically and in terms of box office gains. Another movie, The Beaver, came out in 2011, and though it was not successful in terms of reception, it’s proof that he wasn’t completely un-allowed to work in Hollywood.
Nobody’s saying his career didn’t take a hit once his many offensive statements became public. It definitely did. However, the concept that he is now the beneficiary of some complete and total absolution from Hollywood as a whole discounts the whole reality of the situation.
As in any other scandal—particularly slur-based scandals—the public does tend to soften with time, which means that yes, there will be more people willing to work with him. But there have always been people willing to work with him, and simply because he managed to continue to exist long enough to see that number grow doesn’t mean he’s been granted some carte blanche from everyone. Notably, the arguments for his absolution are the same as they ever were: citing his talent, the fact that, if you really knew him, you’d know he’s a nice guy, and nice guys aren’t anti-Semites (or sexists, or racists, or homophobes). This argument continues not to be particularly convincing to me, and I am sure I’m not alone.
There will, undoubtedly, still be people unwilling to work with him, and people unwilling to see his films. Personally, I’m one of them. It will become more of a matter of subjective opinion: do you believe someone gets to come back from that, or not? Do you believe he really and truly didn’t mean what he said? I don’t, on both counts, so I as a consumer can make that choice. But pretending that suddenly everyone’s hunky dory rather than examining what’s happening as a nuanced part of public sociology makes the whole thing look like he’s done his time, and that therefore the original source of outcry is no longer relevant. There was no real “director jail” and there’s no real “release”—there’s only the effects of time on the perception of individuals.
A whole lot has been said about Trump’s disastrous (and, come on, Trump supporters, it was disastrous) performance during the Second Presidential Debate. From his shameful and insulting use of Bill Clinton’s accusers as props to his threat to literally imprison his opponent to his pacing around the debate floor like a trapped, orange animal, Trump really outdid himself in the department of troubling ridiculousness.
This includes his answers to the questions posed “town hall” style from a selected audience. He continuously hijacked peoples’ questions to go on completely unrelated tangents about emails, ISIS, Benghazi, China, and any number of completely question-unrelated, often completely fact-devoid subjects. The few times he actually came closest to answering questions that audience members asked, he managed to be offensive and myopic.
Another problematic behavior The Donald decided to carry forth into this debate? Dog whistling to his anti-Semitic fan base. He repeatedly and often completely tangentially mentioned noticeably Jewish-sounding names (Sidney Blumenthal, George Soros, Jonathan Gruber, and Debbie Wasserman-Shultz), all of whom he conjured up as corrupt holders of cabal-esque power who Clinton has in her pocket.
Though frustrating, it’s easy to dismiss those dog whistles and the anti-Semitic undertones they represent as minimal, something we can forget about. This, however, is arguably a mistake, and that becomes clearer as soon as you delve into the festering underbelly of Alt-Right Twitter. Rest assured (or, rather, don’t), because lots of people were listening out for those whistles, and hearing the call.
Here are ten Tweets (among many of their kind), just in reaction to the debate alone.
(((They))) are now admitting globalism is their project - exposing themselves one at a time, beautiful!#MakeAmericaGreatAgain #AmericaFirst pic.twitter.com/cRkqY5x6bX— David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) October 10, 2016
Did you hear that ? #Jewess @DanaBashCNN called #Trump a Hitler-Stalin. #Share the laughter. pic.twitter.com/XDMsjEzIOI— Pearl Pureheart (@sweetliltweet) October 10, 2016
WORLDWIDE MEDIA is against TRUMP > The same JEWISH media who lied about 911 to the world (Europe, Australia, Canada, Japan, Gulf Arab…) pic.twitter.com/4JvPgUP1cr— Alice Frischmann (@behindcurtains1) October 10, 2016
#PaulRyan is a pathetic Zionist cocksucker and traitor. This girly boy doesn’t breath without asking hymie for permission. #MAGA #Trump2016 pic.twitter.com/rf1msx5wED— Scottie Spencer (@Smoloko123) October 10, 2016
People don’t just lie because they’re journalists. They lie because they’re Jews, or because they work for Jews.— AdolfJoeBiden™ ? (@Bidenshairplugz) October 9, 2016
When Trump wins president i want every god dang fucken dirty babyraping jew cooked well done fukdat shit yo— diejewdie (@TRUMPCOOL) October 10, 2016
Replace the Left with the Jew https://t.co/OH4yLpzbNX— Deplorable Irish (@Rep_of_Kelly) October 10, 2016
The worst thing you can do is name the Jew. https://t.co/0bJuyvbZDT— Spectre (@SpectreForever) October 11, 2016
#debate when the moderators join in pic.twitter.com/WtXiB6eTbf— Fiery Realism (@FieryRealism) October 10, 2016
There’s nothing that Jews want more than war with Russia. They thrive off of international strife. Can’t imagine why that would be. https://t.co/VqoCd9I6qI— McFeels (@jazzhandmcfeels) October 10, 2016
Of course, these are just people on the internet, but forgetting that they’re there and they’re hearing Trump when he calls out to them—however subtly, or not—is a mistake. He knows they’re there, and as he loses support among more and more of the mainstream right, he’s going to rely more and more on their support.
When you whistle loud enough and long enough, it’s always possible the dog will come.
Watch out, Pepe! In a fight against anti-Semitic and racist attacks, Twitter users are now using a secret weapon: Kermit the Frog.
Kermit is framed as an anti-bigotry (but equally green) alternative to Pepe the Frog. Pepe is popular among “alt-right” Twitter trolls and white supremacists, and was recently declared an official hate-symbol by the Anti-Defamation League.
The feel-good counterattack was started earlier this week by Josh Marshall, the creator of Talking Points Memo, a liberal political news site.
I feel like the rest of us need to get behind a canonical pluralism frog to turn back the tide, re-appropriate what’s been lost. pic.twitter.com/bjXTzjR56c— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) October 3, 2016
Soon after people started tweeting pro-Kermit and anti-Pepe memes using the hashtags #TakingBackTheFrog and #ImWithKer - a play on Hillary Clinton’s popular slogan #ImWithHer.
Here are some of our favorite examples
Only one frog soars above the rest as a symbol of hope and possibility. #takingbackthefrog #teamkermit @joshtpm pic.twitter.com/nZQrkqYbyf— Mike Scholtz (@MikeScholtz) October 3, 2016
You’d better believe #ImWithKer. pic.twitter.com/8QFzGjPfAY— BRAAAINS! Jay Jones (@brianjayjones) October 3, 2016
#ImWithKer because Sesame Street has known about Donald Grump since I was a kid. pic.twitter.com/aRlz15mOp4— Dusty (@DustinGiebel) October 3, 2016
Because Kermit has always appreciated strong outspoken women#ImwithKer #PluralismFrog #TeamKermit #TakingBacktheFrog @joshtpm pic.twitter.com/MVF3Uu08cs— (((Hey))) (@NoThatVeck) October 3, 2016
He’s spent YEARS in loyal service to his country (not like that Draft Dodger, Pepe). #ImWithKer pic.twitter.com/TcgD4Ca3kt— Girls Really Rule. (@girlsreallyrule) October 3, 2016
@joshtpm #MakeAmericaKermitAgain pic.twitter.com/WJXnoALfVU— kenny (@kennyjacobs) October 3, 2016
#ImWithKer because teaching kids to hate is not ok. pic.twitter.com/EGg3oZbs1I— Renée (@Rawr_is_me79) October 3, 2016
#ImWithKer because I want something better for us than bigotry. pic.twitter.com/UEaPgzEkGQ— jenn (@JezebelButler) October 3, 2016
#Imwithker #ImWithHer pic.twitter.com/s0sMWHw6V5— George A. Hickman (@popmortem) October 3, 2016
Kermit gets it. #imwithker pic.twitter.com/k12LfVKJiY— Tammaria Blue (@Tammariablue) October 3, 2016
Lilly Maier is a news intern at the Forward. Reach her at email@example.com or on Twitter at @lillymmaier
British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor made news in three European capitals over the Jewish High Holy Days, marching with Ai Weiwei for refugees in London, fighting anti-semitism in France, and opening a major exhibit in Moscow.
The biggest of this media trifecta was the vandalism on a sexually-suggestive piece nicknamed the “queen’s vagina” at the Palace of Versailles, right outside Paris —— and the artist’s fury that French officials ordered it covered up.
The 200-foot funnel-like sculpture (official name: “Dirty Corner”) was defaced with white spray-painted hate words including, “At Versailles Christ is King,” and “the second rape of the nation by deviant Jewish activism.”
The words were gilded over in gold leaf, under the artist’s direction, after local officials rejected his desire that they stay uncovered on the steel-and-rock piece as evidence of “the scars of the renewed attack.”
“We lost, can you believe it?” Kapoor told artnet News in Moscow, where he launched a new exhibit Monday. “Some very racist, in my view, deputy from parliament took me to court. We were forced to hide the graffiti. It’s a terrible, sad thing.”
“You want me to pretend it didn’t happen?” said Kapoor, who is Jewish of Sephardic Iraqi origin and spent much of his youth living in Israel on a kibbutz. “It happened.”
The edges of the white paint can now be seen peeking out from the gold leaf.
France is still reeling from the deadly Muslim terror attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish grocery and sensitive to growing fears that Jews are not safe there.
“To attack the work of artists is to attack the universal values of culture - that is freedom and human dignity,” French Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin said in a statement to reporters. “This is an act that simply shows a fascist vision of culture.”
KAPOOR IN MOSCOW
Kapoor was in Moscow Monday as art assistants started gilding the hate in Versailles. He spoke at the opening of his first solo show in Russia, at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center that opened three years ago in an old Moscow bus depot..
The show, “My Red Homeland,” includes four of the artist’s best known works “encompassing the three major facets of Kapoor’s unique and distinct visual language: voids, mirrors, and the auto-generated,” reports blouinartinfo.
The pieces are, reports the web site:
-The concave painted fiberglass wall sculpture “Shelter” (2007).
-The convex and concave stainless steel sculpture “S-Curve” (2006).
-The mind-bending pigment work “My Body Your Body” (1993).
-The artist’s famous kinetic wax sculpture “My Red Homeland” (2003).
“I am interested in sculpture that manipulates the viewer into a specific relation with both space and time. Time, on two levels; one narratively and cinematically as a matter of the passage through the work, and the other as a literal elongation of the moment,” Kapoor said.
MARCH WITH AI WEIWEI
Before jetting off to Moscow, the activist teamed up with persecuted Chinese creative force Ai WeiWei in London for an eight-mile solidarity walk through the British capital to show support for Syrian refugees on mainland Europe — and refugees everywhere.
“This is a walk of compassion, a walk together as if we were walking to the studio,” said Kapoor. “Peaceful. Quiet. Creative.”
He and Ai urged leaders to keep the doors open and welcome families trying to leave behind wr and misery.
“This problem has such a long history, a human history. We are all refugees somehow, somewhere and at some moment,” Ai told The Guardian.
Follow John A. Oswald on Twitter - @nyc_oz
This article has been sent!Close