Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Beaver

Parshat Behar
23rd day of the Omer
7 Iyyar, 5771
May 11th, 2011

I’m likely about to make the least significant principled stand of my career. I have tried to resist for months, but a man does not always defeat his yetzer hara and pique has taken over my soul.  I ask for Jodie Foster’s forgiveness ahead of time.

Please boycott The Beaver.

Our Rabbis thought incessantly about public space. They knew that the realm of publicity changes the laws of psychology. The reactions of an individual and those of group are quite different, and it matters not how crazy, baseless, or offensive behavior is - if it survives long enough in the public eye, it will have carved out a perverse longevity for itself. There is a tenacity to public evils, when given enough of our shared attention.

For this reason people who have made bad names for themselves cannot serve, say, as representatives of the community to God during prayer. (Shulhan Arukh, Orekh Hayyim 53). The Sages knew that the best way to destroy notoriety is to kill the attention that feeds it.
Now, I have no special expectation of the rectitude of celebrities -- I was, after all, raised in Los Angeles -- but just how far does a person have to fall before his career is a non-starter? Anti-Semitism, racism, domestic abuse -- are there any shoes left to drop?

I realize that by writing these words I work against my own purposes. So don’t boycott the Beaver, just don’t see it. Don’t talk about it; don’t discuss it; don’t review it; deal with it in the only manner effective in our sadly corporatized society: let it die the ignominious death of the box office flop.

In fact, I refuse to let my words add to his notoriety one whit -- this Torah will self-destruct in 30 seconds.

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