Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Davy Jones' Locker Is Opportunity's Knocker

Davy Jones, lead singer of The Monkees and the object of fantasy for millions of teenage girls in the 1960s, died of a heart attack earlier today. Only 66 years old, this is a sad passing, both for a man not yet reached the end of the road and for fans of the made-to-order Beatles knockoff group—which actually recorded some very good songs during its brief run in the 1960s.

Yet as the music world mourns Davy Jones' passing, opportunity knocks for David Bowie, who—as is well known—was born David Jones but changed his surname to Bowie so as not to be confused with The Monkees' vocalist. As an aspiring singer hoping to hop the Tin Pan Alley conduit to stardom, little-known David Jones took the surname of the legendary defender of The Alamo, who also gave his name to the knife he used, so as to avoid countless inevitable comments that he was much taller in person than on telly next to Mickey Dolenz.

Sure, David Bowie has achieved great success under his adopted name, and although some might consider it career suicide to return to his birth name after more than forty years as an icon known by his present appellation, when has changing names ever hindered David Bowie a/k/a Ziggy Stardust a/k/a the Thin White Duke a/k/a Moishe McManus (from his aborted 1983 Let's Hora project)?

So we say rest in peace to the man who crooned "Daydream Believer" and wait to see if David Bowie takes this rare opportunity to go home again.

Time may change you, David Bowie
But Davy Jones is covered with lime

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quid Provo Quo: Circumsizing Up Proxy Baptism

Once again, Mormons have “baptized” Anne Frank, the teenage Jewish girl whose diary chronicling her years in hiding from the Nazis stands as a testament both to human spirit and the cruelty and degradation that necessitated it. This baptism took place in the Dominican Republic, although the rite has been performed, in one form or another, many times since the late 1980s. And, in fact, an agreement had to be reached (in 1995) between Jewish and Mormon leaders for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to stop permitting the practice of baptizing Holocaust victims.

Mormons also recently baptized the late Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal’s deceased parents, and they seem geared to do the same for still-living Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel (whose name was entered into the Mormons’ database of proxy-baptism candidates).

Wiesel, himself, recently called on Republican presidential candidate and Mormon Mitt Romney to denounce these proxy baptisms, but Romney has refused comment, so infer what you will about his beliefs and/or his spine. (In turn, Romney can infer that he won’t be getting my vote should he win the nomination.)

Proxy baptism isn’t merely a disgusting affront to Jews—it’s a mandate of our “unworthiness” and the “need” to save Jewish souls. This is really dangerous stuff—tantamount to cultural identity theft and a concrete example of how heretical at least some Mormons regard Judaism. And as history has proved over and over, such attitudes eventually flare into violence and blood.

The Mormon Church has “apologized” for each of these proxy baptisms but has, in practicality, done nothing to stop it. Yet even if it’s just a fringe element of the Mormon Church, a fringe element often represents the tip of an iceberg—just as anti-Semitism or racial prejudice run far deeper into the populace than just bigots uninhibited enough to “go on record.”

So I say dig up the corpses of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and give them a ceremonial bris, the ritual circumcision performed by a rabbi.

Because living Jews shouldn’t take this lying down, especially when deceased Jews can do nothing else.