Feedback from the Issue of Thursday, April 22, 2010
Editor's note: Readers were mostly ticked-off by Michael Lacey's satirical article "Jew Roundup". The satire's intent was to show that if any other ethnic group were as abusively considered and treated as certain local authorities have Mexicans, there would be huge outrage. Many of the comments — most of which appeared on our Web site under the article — prove his point. But first, the author reacts to critics of his spoof:
A modest response: Of course this is satire.
If no other clue suggested this, please look at the section where lyrics about joining the Nazi party, from Mel Brooks' genius work The Producers, are quoted. At the end of the satire, mention is made of Jews eating Christian children. This is a two-fer: not only does it reference one of the most outrageous tenets of anti-Semitism, it also references the literary birth of modern satire, Jonathan Swift (let's just skip Horace and Juvenal).
Swift infamously wrote in 1729 that the Irish should stop whining and simply eat their young if they were so damned hungry: "A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout."
Virtually everything in this send-up has happened to Mexicans in Arizona, and state Senator Russell Pearce has penned legislation to further criminalize Mexicans found in the state. The bill ("Pearce Triumphs on SB1070," Feathered Bastard blog, April 13) is not aimed at Canadian Jews seeking post-graduate degrees in Arizona and selling financial advice in bank parking lots; the bill is aimed at Roman Catholic Mexicans seeking work in Arizona.
You [should] properly direct your opinions to Senator Pearce. Those of you concerned about the humanity of the state where you live might take your sense of outrage to [rallies against the legislation].
Finally, I note, with an appreciation for irony, that Barnett Lotstein, the number-two man in [former] County Attorney Andrew Thomas' office, wrote in to express his umbrage. It is of course the policies of Thomas and Lotstein that have criminalized Mexicans in Arizona and fueled the roundups perpetrated by Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Barnett, you crack-ah, you.
Michael Lacey, Phoenix
The Lotstein comment in question: That sick satirical piece your boss [Michael Lacey is executive editor of Village Voice Media, which owns New Times] authored about Jews is way over the top.
I can only assume that he was in one of his drunken stupors when he wrote it. The photo he published depicting a Jew is right out of Nazi propaganda and shows his true mindset. He is a bigot.
Barnett Lotstein, Phoenix
Not difficult to imagine: I was mightily pissed reading this article until I realized it's my wife's birthday — April Fools' Day (when the article first appeared on New Times' Web site).
However, it's still pretty scary, and judging from their previous actions, I can imagine each of the [satirically] quoted people doing exactly what they did in the article. BTW, you missed Candy Thomas.
Jerry Feldner, Tempe
How do we fire the boss?: Michael Lacey's "Jew Roundup" is nothing short of offensive and anti-Semitic. This is not satire, this is Nazi propaganda regurgitated.
Even if you wished to defend the piece as "satire," the accompanying illustration (taken straight from Nazi publications) alone is malicious. That this was published during the worldwide commemoration of the Holocaust just adds insult to injury.
I demand that you remove this offensive piece from your Web site, censure and fire Michael Lacey, and issue an apology to: your readers, the citizens of Phoenix, and the Jewish community.
Anything short of this would just condone anti-Semitism.
Daniel Storch, Phoenix
No Nazi screed: Great April Fools' Day satire. I feel sorry for the less intelligent who think you were really propagating a Nazi screed. I am proud to have read your paper for 40 years.
Gary Klahr, Phoenix
Inflaming xenophobic delusions: I could not help but be shocked by your article. Though I think I get where you were trying to go with this, the effect of such a piece cannot be a net positive.
In fact, the negative aspects of your attempted satire are not only repulsive but downright dangerous. Mike, this is Arizona. You've been here a long time. You know who lives here. For every person who reads this and gets it, there will be a dozen who use this material to further inflame their xenophobic delusions.
If this was an attempt to further the illegal-immigrant cause, you have failed miserably. And you have created problems for another minority that does not need them.
Skip Feinstein, Scottsdale
How sad it is: This is great! Anyone who doesn't see that it is satire has zero funny bone. Now just replace Mexicans with Canadian Jews and see, sadly, how our state really is.
Sucky sense of humor: I thought your satire article was in such poor taste. I understand you're Jewish, too [the commenter is mistaken]. What a total embarrassment you are to all of us in Arizona. Obviously your sense of humor sucks big-time.
Alan Bockal, Phoenix
Worst one ever: This was easily the stupidest April Fools' Day story I have read in New Times, and that is saying a lot.
Raymond Gross, Surprise
It's about time!: Oy, all I can say is it is about time! I've been a legal U.S. Jew for three generations, and all those Canadian Jews have been coming over, and giving us American Jews a bad name.
You don't have a sense of humor: I have a sense of humor. I don't appreciate this. It went way over the line and invoked every negative stereotype of Jews out there. This isn't any funnier than jokes about any blacks and Mexicans.
Kathi Stanley, Phoenix
Many others have and are suffering: I don't know whether the people who have written comments on this obvious piece of satire are stupid old farts or just self-righteous as hell.
Why don't you fools dig hard into your sanctimonious souls and try to find a grain of a sense of humor? And, while you're digging, look hard for some compassion for the Mexicans who are treated as Jews once were in Europe.
Dave Stein, Phoenix
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.