New Yorker: Oprah Ha-ha Holocaust Parody Falls Flat

I suppose we are just not avant garde enough to appreciate this New Yorker humor piece satirizing how Oprah was fooled by a fake Holocaust memoir.

The essay in this week's Shouts & Murmurs, My Holocaust Memoir, by Ben Greenman, contains this sort of attempt at humor:
...I was born in Chicago in 1969. Shortly afterward, in 1941, my entire family was rounded up by the authorities and sent to the Theresienstadt camp, along with tens of thousands of other Jews, who hailed principally from Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Germany. The first few days there, separated from my family, denied even the most basic creature comforts, I was in a state of shock. I could hardly eat or sleep, and, to make matters worse, I had misplaced my cell-phone charger. I felt powerless. (This would not be the first time that a metaphor appeared in time to help make sense of a difficult situation.) I spoke about the charger to everyone. Few understood my plight. Then I met a young woman named Amalie. She was deathly ill, but I could tell from her eyes that she was kind, and the next week my appraisal was confirmed when she handed me a package wrapped in burlap. It was a cell-phone charger, and, though it was completely the wrong kind—flat end, not round, which I was pretty sure I had mentioned to her—it taught me that there was a much more important power source: the human heart....
Sure I get it and sure it is clever and sure Oprah deserves her comeuppance, and maybe it's because I'm Jewish or because I have taught the Holocaust; I think this is truly tasteless.

1 comment:

Hillel Aguero said...

Kol haKavod, Tzvee,

I cringed at the way I felt that Greenman treated the idea of Holocaust narrative in this piece. It calls into question the scores of other survivor stories that uncover the darkest corners of this horrific tragedy.

Our disgust says nothing about our being avant-garde. "Tasteless" is only the tip of the iceberg, Tzvee.