Roseanne’s Hitler Photo Shoot: Does Hate Speech Have a Shelf Life? (Guest Blog)

Are we going to give her a pass because it was nine years ago?

Last Updated: April 5, 2018 @ 6:40 AM

Roseanne’s appearance in Nazi garb as she bakes off a tray of Jewish gingerbread men displays a sickness in her — and a sickness in how we react.

“It’s deplorable, but it’s old,” was the comment of a trusted member of the clergy to whom I turned this week. I looked at the returned text dumbfounded, and responded that #NeverForget now has a shelf life. Since when does hate-speak mellow with age, especially when it happened less than a decade ago, as part of a parody of Jewish culture in the defunct American magazine Heeb.

I mean, come on. Here was the new Queen of Episodic Comedy dressed in Nazi garb, putting cookies that represented Jews in an oven. And we are going to give her a pass because it was nine  years ago?

To add insult to injury, she diminished the horrors of the Holocaust with a later defense on “The Green Room With Paul Provenza”: “There’s another, deeper layer to it. You know, just the everyday. Moving off this Holocaust. There’s been about fifty of them since then. That’s what I’m kind of trying to say. Is like, Jesus Christ it’s so f—ing every day now, holocausts, it’s like baking cookies.”

So, we are now comparing the suffering of Darfur, the horrors of the Armenian genocide and the loss of 6 million lives in the Holocaust to “baking cookies.” And let’s give Roseanne a pass because she said it around nine years ago?

In every Holocaust museum I’ve been in, there are exhibits that connects cultural oppression to our shared experience of intolerance and hate. The trails of fingernails on the walls of crematoriums as Jews clawed for breath joins the flies infesting the bodies of starved children on the desert sands of Darfur  but we should discount it because “Jesus Christ, it’s so f—ing every day now, holocausts, it’s like baking cookies”?

No.  That’s not going to happen.

Elie Wiesel, the famous Holocaust survivor, put it simply: “Silence encourages the tormentor, not the tormented.”

So what do we do now? “Roseanne” show runner Bruce Helford told THR he wants us to separate Roseanne Barr from Roseanne Conner. That’s cool — then let’s separate Kevin Spacey from Frank Underwood. Put him back in the Netflix Oval Office. Let’s separate Bill Cosby the performer from the man standing trial for alleged behavior that occurred years ago.

Oh hey, those accusations involve alleged rape and sexual impropriety. Yeah, I get it. It’s horrible. But from where I stand, because Roseanne is a Jew and she disgraced the memory of other Jews, let’s continue feeding her ratings and support her sponsors.

Not me. Not this Jew.