Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Prince or Princess: On the making of a kosher transgendered ad

Prince enlarged- Copy - Copy

A show's coming to town. Not quite to our part of town but targeted for our womenfolk though the performances will actually be held in the Camden Town Hall.

Prince or Pauper, it's called with the subtitle 'Judge not what thou sees'. That should be 'seest' but let's not get too pernickety over some archaic usage. No cultural event round here can do without its share of controversy though it has been relatively mild in this instance. The rabbis have so far steered clear but with a week to go there is still ample time to pull a rabbit in the last minute so keep your fingers crossed, if that's the right phrase. The Prince will be played by a princess which come to think of it is no worse than Lady Macbeth being played by a man. Yet despite this overstepping of modesty some schools have played safe and banned their charges from attending while others have left it to parental discretion.

Since there've so far been no rabbinical interdictions the opinion-free ad sheets are free to carry ads for the event. They never lose. Either it's ads for the event or it's ads for the bans and if they're lucky it's one followed by the other. The ads however are not without problems of their own: how do you advertise a female only production without a photo of the actors?

Actors should hold up a mirror to nature, we're told, but since there are as yet no kosher mirrors that pixelate the fairer sex mirroring actresses' faces is no mean feat. You can advertise ‘ladies’ and ‘girls’ since even the kosher dictionary has not excised them, yet. But publishing a photo of them, well that’s an altogether different dimension.

Trust however a yiddisher kop to come up with a solution and what you see above is the result. An androgynous looking boy standing in for a girl. Yentl in reverse if you like but it does the trick. Boys ogling the ad see only a boy which is permitted by even the most stringent of authorities while the girls get a heimisher version of Justin Bieber to develop a crush on. The rabbis too are happy since it is written that transgendering is no transgression and as the subtitle says, 'judge not what thou sees[t].

There is still however one slight problem. What of the boy who thinks it's a girl? Or to borrow that famous hypothesis proffered by our famed thinker, Ben Yitzchok, apropos Shloime Gertner's malkele song, what of the boy struggling on a difficult passage in the Talmud humming to himself a girl's name, Go- forbid? And what of the zealots who might call for the public burning of the ad unless concrete proof is provided that the 'girl' is actually a boy? Far more serious than some driving licence ingenuity, this really called for the thinking shtreimel so as to come up with a talmudic wheeze.

You won't be surprised that after much throwing around of brains our optimum minds did it again. It was decreed that every advert should carry a health warning in the shape of 'Thanks to Yisroel for posing for the photos.

Now that's what you call seichel. Girl acting as boy, named boy posing as girl, boys get a boy to fill their minds during the drearier bits of 'Two grabbing a garment' and 'The heifer that gored a cow' and the girls will pay anything to see their latest kosher heartthrob. And as for homoerotic thoughts and worse that could be engendered by photos of a she-boy in drag, only a filthy mind could suggest that images of young kids could do that to our pure neshomelech.

And so we get our own kosher culture in the shape of thespians who will ‘show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.’


Anonymous said...

You dont seem to have noticed the adverts in the hamodia signed by every single rov or rebbe in London against the mobile in shuls.
I would say that those rabbis of shuls or who daven regularly in such shuls like our gaavad in 86 ought to be ashamed of themselves telling others what to to in their shuls when they cant tell their own members what to do.
The same goes for the 26 rov. I suppose these two satmars vie with each other who has the most modern mobile, like showing off who has the dearest shtreimal. So what they cant manage in their own shuls they expect to manage in everyone elses. They have notices that one mustnt daven for the amud if one hasnt been to mikva etc. they could add if one doesnt have the latest mobile. One is almost ashamed to go in without one. They even use the electric points there to charge them up during davenning. The whole davenning is geared to it. During chazoras hashats everyone is on it. During the shiur of the 26 rov ditto. I suppose it more interesting texting to the person on the other side of the room.

Anonymous said...

why shouldnt the rabbunim ban it, just because everyone does it, it does not make it right.
In Shil you are standing before King of kings. No one would go to court and use his mobile in front of a judge, there probably is a notice informing everyone to turn off their mobiles in court as well.
I dont understand why we can't just leave our mobiles alone for an hour.
I remember about 10 years ago when I first got my mobile and went to daven in 26, the shver was trying to get hold of me and complained when I got back home that the mobile was ringing on his kitchen table as I left it behind to go daven. I still do- mobiles are not for the shil

Anonymous said...

You misunderstood my post.
Of course it should be banned.But before satmar rabbonim tell others, agudists, what to do, in the hamodia they should get their own house in order. Or is it only agudists who are not allowed to use it in shuls. Most 'aguda' shuls anyway dont have this problem. Why has the 26 rov never put such a notice in his own shul. He's been here long enough and doesnt seem to have much to do. He would be thrown out I suppose. So he has to hide among all the other signatures and hope no satmar reads the hamodia to see it.
When they brought the kosher ones out, I was told that of course these are meant for the shuls so why not use them there and follow the rabbonim who say 'use' kosher mobiles. One cant do much with them elsewhere.
If these kedassia rabbonim wouldnt give a hechsher and 'earn' money on it, one wouldnt have this excuse. No one uses them anyway or at least everyone has another one as well. They are just like an esrog to show in shul.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the rov of 26 walk out from the Hatzole evening shortly after Fuchs asked people to take out their blackberries and do the sums?

Anonymous said...

Dont know about that but he hasnt yet walked out of 26 and I dont expect him to whatever they do there. Or that he will ever open his mouth there. Cant blame him its his job. If the rebbe in the US instead of 'making sholom' round the world would write even one letter against it, it would solve the problem.

Anonymous said...

I am told its not in the satmar owned update or newsheet what does that tell you.