About Peter Bowen

Peter saw his first movie when he was just a little boy, and has never gotten over that experience.

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Editor | Peter Bowen

LA Times on Oscar's Jewish Themes

Posted February 04, 2010


In the recent post in Los Angeles Times blog “The Big Picture” entitled “Jews in Oscar films: Are they vile throwbacks to Jewish stereotypes?”, Patrick Goldstein takes up the issues that is being hotly debated in the Jewish community––when does humor end and hate-mongering begin. Goldstein highlights a recent article in the Jewish Journal entitled “Realism or Anti-Semitism: Negative Depictions of Jews Raise the Age Old Question" whose author Tom Tugend looks at the cases of The Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man and Lone Scherfig’s An Education. It’s a fascinating debate, but Goldstein brings it back in the end to an obvious observation:

When I went to Hebrew school, I had to listen to long, hazy and often entirely unsatisfying religious discourses by rabbis who were eerily similar to the ones in the film. If you thought the Coens were offering a mean-spirited, self-hating portrayal of Jews, you missed the point of the movie. It's simply a comically barbed look at an insular community that simply happens to be Jewish, because the Coens did what all good writers do -- they wrote what they know.