Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

All the Rage

VH1’s So Jewtastic is a case of the lady who doth protest too much

Print Email

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think Jews are a bunch of insufferable narcissists who need not only to keep telling themselves they’re as good as everyone else but also forever and loudly assert it in pop culture. How else to explain something like So Jewtastic, VH1’s vapid appreciation of Natalie Portman, Jon Stewart and others who walk the red carpet?

Conceived by singer Rob Tannenbaum, it’s basically a pat-ourselves-on-the-back look at how Jewish things have gotten, and how very hot Jews are just now.

I give you So Jewtastic for Dummies (which is, arguably, redundant): Look!! There’s Rick Rubin. He proves Jews are down with black people! Good for us. Over here! Adam Brody from The OC is cute, and way cool too! Wow! We’re cute and cool and on TV, where we talk about being Jewish…but don’t worry, it’s only with a wink. Did you hear Seth’s dad say the word “mensch?!” Aren’t we so lovable!!! Hey, everyone, even Madge is Jewish now, but how about we reduce Kabbalah to a one-liner, ’cause two lines might require an actual explanation and nobody wants that! Too. Much. Thinking. Okay, gang, that’s a wrap. See you at Passover, when we tap-dance about bread cravings and mistake Exodus for a Bob Marley song.

The two speakers with a modicum of insight who don’t trade on empty clichés are Scott Ian (a personal fav) and Ben Lee. The rest of the moronic enterprise is a strange, up-with-people parade of interchangeable pundits that isn’t about anything at all.

It’s not that I’m against the notion of Jews being hip or being on TV or being proud. But stop the yammering already: calling yourself hip is hardly that.

Maybe it’s no coincidence this flurry of attention is happening at Christmastime, when many Jews feel excluded from the mainstream and need, I guess, to counter that with empty expressions of pride and ostentatious parties. My posse walked out of one in Chelsea in horror and dejection. It wasn’t a Torah lesson we were after, believe me. We just wanted something beyond the bad jokes about ugly bat mitzvah dresses and the difficulty of pronouncing certain Hebrew letters that represent the essence of identity for so many of our peers.

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

Thich Nhat Hanh~ The true miracle is not walking on water or walking in air but simply walking on this earth.

The gallows takes its own. – Spanish Proverb


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

All the Rage

VH1’s So Jewtastic is a case of the lady who doth protest too much

More on Tablet:

Wolf Blitzer Explores His Jewish Roots

By David Meir Grossman — CNN host visits Yad Vashem and Auschwitz for the network’s ‘Roots’ series