- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 24, 2002

On Media

Can an old no-no word define a media genre? "Heeb The New Jew Review" is on its way, complete with articles on "Jew 'Fros" and "Nazi Pizza" and a Neil Diamond centerfold. The color cover features a big turntable with a matzoh on it.
"Self-satire has a long tradition in Jewish culture," said founder Jennifer Bleyer, 26. "Our magazine takes that tradition and applies it to the interests and media habits of an underserved audience of young Jews."
Miss Bleyer has taken heat for her choice of "Heeb" as a name but believes it's one way to reclaim an ethnic slur from the past: "Hebe," short for Hebrew. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) thinks otherwise.
"Reaching out to young, disaffected Jews is a very nice idea," said ADL spokesman Kenneth Jacobson last year, adding that the name "is not very constructive."
Such talk raises the hackles of author and culture analyst David Horowitz.
"People need to stop having conniptions over words. It's time to trash this whole politically correct thing. It's an elitist idea that doesn't help anybody," Mr. Horowitz said from Los Angeles yesterday.
Miss Bleyer and her cadre of what New York magazine has already crowned "Generation Oy" are determined to define their new marketplace.
The magazine itself is described as "roiling an ambitious anti-trust investigation into the monopoly on God." A new identity is also at stake.
"Who's a 'Heeb' and who's not is so much a part of it," one editor explained. "People might expect to find Joe Lieberman, but no one is less 'Heeb' than Lieberman."
Editorial needs are specific. "It is easy to point out what is Jewish about pastrami, klezmer, dating frustrations and neurotic families," writer's guidelines advise. "It is far more difficult to point out what is Jewish about spirulina, Dolly Parton, the civil war in Angola and serial killers in the Midwest."
Miss Bleyer, meanwhile, once published a magazine called "Mazeltov Cocktail," for "young Jewish punks" and covered Ralph Nader's 2000 presidential campaign for an alternative news journal. Along with her chutzpah and street smarts, however, Miss Bleyer has received $60,000 in seed money from the Joshua Venture, an arts foundation funded by filmmaker Steven Spielberg.
She counts media analyst Douglas Rushkoff, publishing executive Irwin Billman and publicist-to-the-stars Susan Blond among advisers. Miss Bleyer is also mentioning unmentionables.
"A lot of post-September 11 paranoia among our parents' generation about anti-Semitism is unwarranted," Miss Bleyer told New York magazine. "And I think it's significant that this magazine is not all about Israel. It's not the all-encompassing Jewish identity that it was 30 years ago."
The quarterly magazine (www.heebmagazine.com) will be priced at $4.50, debuts with a circulation of 37,000 and will be available Feb. 5 on most bookstore newsstands.
But there are goofs afoot. A parody by writer A.J. Daulerio claimed he once published "Wop," an Italian-American magazine based in South Philadelphia, and was forced to endure street protests and more from the Sons of Italy and the Catholic church.
"I hope Bleyer and the rest of the Heeb staff succeed in their efforts with their publication," Mr. Daulerio wrote on Ironminds, an online magazine. "But I encourage them to revel in this time, for it may end sooner than they think."

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