- The Washington Times - Monday, August 3, 2009

EDITOR’S NOTE: An item in Monday’s Hot Button column misattributed a quotation from the Anti-Defamation League as applying to Roseanne Barr’s recent Hitler photo shoot with Heeb magazine. The criticism was directed not at that article, but at a 2004 article portraying Jesus as a sex object.

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Roseanne Fuhrer

Comedian Roseanne Barr is either smearing Jewish people or celebrating them, depending on whom you ask.

The inflammatory joker was styled as a “Nazi domestic goddess” wearing an Adolf Hitler mustache and brandishing a cookie sheet full of burned gingerbread “Jew cookies” fresh out of the oven for her profile in Heeb magazine’s new Germany-themed issue.

In another photo, she is about to bite the head off a cookie and wears an armband with a large swastika.

Several news outlets reprinted the photos, questioning the intent of them. Fox News described them as “shocking.”

But Heeb Publisher Joshua Neuman said it’s all part of his magazine’s schtick. He said the photos are thoughtful forms of pop culture and likened them to the popular “Soup Nazi” episode on “Seinfeld.” The magazine’s own title is even part of the joke. The word “Heeb” is a variation of an anti-Jewish slur.

“Heeb is a satirical Jewish culture magazine that interrogates stereotypes and ideas (hopefully in creative ways) that many hold sacred in order to represent the complex and nuanced perspectives that many Jews have about their identities,” he explained in a blog to address his critics.

“When we depicted Sarah Silverman behind a hole in a sheet or Jonah Hill dressed as Moses holding two kegs as if they were tablets, we weren’t trying to be shocking - we were trying to communicate something truthful about contemporary Jewishness. Yes, that may sound impossibly highfalutin, but it’s the truth and while we kind of don’t give a [expletive] whether the magazine wreaks havoc on smug and sanctimonious visions of Jewish life, we do care when our intentions (or those of our collaborators) are distorted,” Mr. Neuman wrote.

Miss Barr appeared to have no qualms with the shoot, either. The accompanying profile said she saved a Polaroid of her mustachioed self and the Nazi armband, carefully placing them into a sandwich bag for safekeeping. She said she wanted to give them to her 13-year-old son. “Maybe this will make my kid like me,” she told the magazine’s team.

Another gay battle

A group seeking to overturn Maine’s recently enacted law permitting gay marriage dumped on the secretary of state’s desk nearly twice the number of signatures needed to get its referendum on the off-year ballot in November.

Stand for Marriage Maine needed 55,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot, but on Friday submitted more than 100,000, which its campaign manager says represents nearly 10 percent of voters in the state.

If Stand for Marriage Maine is successful in repealing the law by referendum, it could lead another high-drama legal fight over marriage similar to what took place in California after its high court upheld Proposition 8, the successful ballot measure repealing its law permitting gay marriage. In Maine, opponents say, the bill was rushed through the Legislature, which has helped draw people to their cause.

“It’s really remarkable how much disdain the Legislature and the governor had for traditional marriage,” said Jeff Flint, Stand for Marriage Maine campaign manager. “It’s partially reflective of how quickly were able to collect signatures because there was no opportunity for public debate.”

Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont also have legalized gay marriage.

Audit the fed

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke may want to rethink his argument for opposing legislation to give Congress investigative powers to audit his board.

Mr. Bernanke said in a recent appearance on the Public Broadcasting Service’s “NewsHour” that it was a bad idea because “I don’t think the American people want Congress running monetary policy.” A Rasmussen poll found otherwise, with 75 percent of Americans supporting an audit of the Federal Reserve and making those results available to the public, according to the poll released Wednesday.

“An overwhelming majority of Americans in every demographic category - including age, gender, political affiliation, race and income - disagree with Bernanke and favor auditing the Fed to make its secretive deliberations public,” said Rasmussen’s report on the poll.

The bill is popular on Capitol Hill, too. Legislation to audit the Fed, sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican and former presidential candidate, has 271 co-sponsors, including every Republican member of the House and a considerable number of Democrats. The Senate’s lead sponsor of the bill is Sen. Bernard Sanders, a Vermont independent and self-described socialist.

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@ washingtontimes.com.

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