Tootsie and Anne Frank (this is a bad post title)

by marjorieingall on June 9, 2019

Yay, hip is better. Two steroid shots, new NSAID, started physical therapy.

Also yay, I am ridiculously excited for the Tony Awards. I’ve seen way more of the nominated shows this year than usual, maybe because more shows this year than usual were feminist-ish, LGBT-ish, or media-related-ish.

Here is a Tablet piece I did on the Jewification of Tootsie: The Musical. The Broadway show is way more Jewy-feeling (and way better) than the movie; I rewatched the latter and it’s mostly cringe-inducing, sorry. The show is still problematic, but at least trying? However, I am IRKED that no one is talking about how Dustin Hoffman, credited as a producer on the musical, has been accused by several women of sexual assault and sexual harassment. So that’s nice. 

Hoffman responded to the first accusation with, “That’s not who I am.” And coincidentally (really!) I just wrote about the offensiveness of the phrase “This is not who I am” for SorryWatch! (So many celebrities have said it; I did not know until I googled yesterday that Hoffman was one of them.) But uh, the entire cast of Tootsie: The Musical is delightful and I will be happy if Santino Fontana wins a Tony and I will rewatch all of his Crazy Ex-Girlfriend videos in tribute. (But I want Hadestown to win for best musical, because it is no question the best musical.)

Here’s a piece I did for our indispensable neighborhood blog, EVGrieve, on a manga-obsessed (and charming!) librarian new to our local branch.

And here’s a piece on why people should stop writing children’s books about Anne Frank. They’re frequently saccharine, universalizing in a damaging-to-history way, trivializing even when they’re well-meaning…and given how badly Anne wanted to be a writer, can’t we do her the courtesy of reading her work? If you feel your child is too young to read The Diary of Anne Frank, maybe WAIT rather than giving them a picture book narrated by the tree outside her window or her roommate’s cat? Also, maybe there are some other stories — maybe even some non-Holocaust stories! — more suitable for picture books? Maybe the Holocaust, as I have noted in multiple pieces, has developed a dangerously outsized role in contemporary Jewish identity? 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

renee June 10, 2019 at 9:40 am

Hi! My theater-kid daughter and I are going to see Hadestown at the end of the month, and we can’t wait. But the thing that is obsessing me about Rachel Chavkin is that I kind of know her mom! Sara Rosenbaum is a universally revered figure in Medicaid policy for women and children, and I’ve known her work for decades. (She wouldn’t know me, of course, but I’ve definitely been in rooms with her.) But it just baffles me–Sara is perfectly brilliant and all, but one of her major contributions, just for example, is an exhaustive database of Medicaid managed care contract provisions for children’s care. An extremely valuable tool, but exactly as dry as it sounds. And apparently her dad is the director of the National Association of Community Health Centers, which also does not involve revolving stages or tattoos. So, do you want to get to the bottom of this? How did these people produce Rachel? Nature or nurture? If there’s a Jewish angle you’ll find it, but I don’t think any of them are very religious.

marjorieingall June 10, 2019 at 10:40 am

Wow! That’s fascinating. Sounds like good parenting — nurturing a kid whose interests and passions are very different from your own.

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