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Why We’re Making An Obama T-Shirt

Some people in the Jewcy community are understandably concerned that creating a shirt that supports Barack Obama's presidential candidacy will alienate some of our readers. Here's why we're going to make one anyway. We make a big case of saying … Read More

By / March 14, 2008

Some people in the Jewcy community are understandably concerned that creating a shirt that supports Barack Obama's presidential candidacy will alienate some of our readers. Here's why we're going to make one anyway.

We make a big case of saying that a primary principle of ours is that we're not partisan so much as polypartisan. In practice, that means we work toward integrating the views and opinions of unorthodox voices across the continuum (right, left, Gentile, Hindi, and so on). This sets us distinctly apart from the rest of Jewish media, as does the knowledge that such inclusion makes for the best conversation.

'Polypartisanship' doesn't mean that Jewcy won't take a stand, or that we don't work towards articulating a specific worldview and a shared set of values. The brand's origins stem from an incredibly polarizing shirt, "Shalom Motherfucker." "Shalom Motherfucker" was a passionate and strong announcement of a very particular and new kind of J ewish identity, one that repulsed a significant segment of the Jewish community. We're not a news organization. And we're not unbiased.

In our editorial objectives, we've stated that:

for all the prosperity America Jewry has enjoyed — its charities, its new temples, its countless organizations — the community is in a moment of transition where the outcome is far from certain. Much of the Jewish establishment is unsound at its roots, built on ugly ethnocentric, parochial values, mortified of change, riddled by hypocrisy, resistant to criticism and prone to empty self-congratulation, and completely out of touch with the needs and desires of a new generation of Jews. We've had enough; it's open season on these pretenders, phonies, and purveyors of intellectual, communal, and spiritual snake oil. At the same time, there is an emerging new community with its own legitimate heroes and heroines, its models and mentors. We'll set out to identify the values of these people who are creating change, leading lives, and building organizations that embody them.

And:

With a sense of imagination, we will undermine the distinctions and blur the boundaries between what is and isn't considered Jewish. In an effort to recreate a Jewish culture that feeds the soul, that enervating both intellectually and creatively, we need to transform the community from one based solely on ethnocentric, tribal, belonging….Choosing either modernity or religion is a false choice

 

The point is, we can take a stand on Obama because we're not just a media outlet (though it's worth noting that newspapers do endorse candidates). We're attempting to create a new community. We're attempting to create the largest, most intellectually engaging Web-based discussion about how to be a hyphenated American in the early 21st century, and more specifically, what it means to be Jewish in America now.

Jewcy's take on what it means to be Jewish in America will be tempered, and tested, by the alternative viewpoints we include in the discussion and by you, our readers, who will have the last word on what works for you.

Over the last year and a half, Jewcy's proudest editorial accomplishments have all articulated a well thought out bias that provoked both those who agreed with us, and those who didn't, into action. I'm talking about provocative topics like our confrontation of the ADL over their policy of genocide denial,our debate about the future of Jewish peoplehood with Jack Wertheimer, our editorial on why Israeli assholes should be a source of Jewish pride, our argument that writers should stop mining the Holocaust for material, and our debate between Sam Harris and Denis Prager, which arguably established the template for the rest of mainstream media on how to cover the growing Atheism phenomenon.

Action is the best case scenario (we want participants, not just readers). And hopefully, as we do better and better work, the aggregation of all those biases will constitute a somewhat unified, clear vision of the world that does more than ask what it means to be a Jew now, but actually provides a compelling and persuasive answer to a growing amalgam of Jews and other Americans disenfranchised and alienated by the institutions and leaders that once provided them with a sense of community and meaning.

As for Obama, our coverage has made it clear that he's the Jewcy New Jew candidate for a hundred different reasons, not least because of our reaction to the extraordinary racism, xenophobia, and dirty tricks employed by the Jewish establishment to discredit him.

So, yes, an Obama tee would alienate people in our audience. Precisely, and perfectly, in the same way our Shalom Motherfucker Tee did a couple years ago, and still does today.

We're interested in hearing your take. And if you have design suggestions, email our art director Tara Rice at tara@jewcy.com.

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