Magazine article Tikkun

Letters to the Editor

Magazine article Tikkun

Letters to the Editor

Article excerpt

The ADL vs. Superman

To the Editor:

Publisher Danny Goldberg is right when he says, "To like or dislike a piece of entertainment is a matter of personal taste" ("The ADL vs. Superman," January/ February 1999). He is, however, wrong about virtually everything else he says about the Anti-Defamation League and the Superman/Rugrats issue. Obviously he completely missed the point of my New York Times op-ed on trivialization of the Holocaust in popular culture.

More than fifty years after the end of the war and the liberation of the remnant of European Jewry, and as survivors and witnesses pass on, it is necessary to teach the history of the Holocaust accurately. Too often, well-meaning people, either ignoring or ignorant of that history, make mistakes. This is exactly what happened in the Superman/Rugrats incidents.

To set the record straight, there was no "p.r. assault on comics by ADL," as Mr. Goldberg claims. The exclusion of naming Jews as victims from the Superman series and the offensive caricature in the Rugrats comic strip made news long before ADL was involved. Despite what Mr. Goldberg believes, we never contacted the Washington Post; their decision on the Rugrats comic strip was based on the deluge of complaints they received from their readers, like other newspapers across the country. In an October 1 letter, the president of Nickelodeon agreed with us that "the television character of Grandpa Boris may not translate well into a comic strip," and "in order to prevent any potential misinterpretation, the Grandpa Boris illustration will no longer be used in the comic strip series." Our statement in support of Nickelodeon's decision was released on October 20, three weeks later!

In both cases, we did what we always do: act responsibly. We contacted the principals-DC Comics on June 30 and Nickelodeon on September 25-and discussed our concerns with them.

Popular culture-film, television, even cartoons and comic strips-can play an important role in teaching the lessons of the Holocaust, as long as history is portrayed honestly and as long as the language and images of the Holocaust are not debased. While some like Mr. Goldberg may disagree with us, ADL will continue to speak out, as we have for 85 years, on issues we believe important to the Jewish people.


Prince of Egypt

To the Editor:

After reading not one but three glowing reviews of Prince of Egypt in TIKKUN, written by three rabbis I greatly admire, I hied myself off to see the film-and was deeply disappointed.

What I saw had none of the grandeur of the biblical account of Exodus. I agree that the presentations of Moses and Ramses, Tzipporah and Miriam, are pleasant midrashim, well suited to the psychotherapeutic atmosphere of America in this generation. But that is all they arepleasant.

The terrifying collision between God and the would-be godlet Pharaoh through the sequence of plagues is almost eliminated. (The film's best moments are the ten seconds in which the plagues flash darkly on the screen. ) The Egyptian magicians become a prat-falling Abbot and Costello. The Bible's moment when they are awe-struck into begging Pharaoh to save Egypt by freeing the Israelites is lost in their jokeyness.

Indeed, it is awe that is lost. Moses may indeed be the guy next door-the hesitant young Reverend King who grows into the Martin Luther King, Jr., we know, and even more-but in King's life one can feel the awe, the moments of direct Godconnection. Not in this film's Moses.

God grant that some Redgrave, some Bergman, may choose to do this story right. …

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