Given the controversy over my recent “Project Runway” post, which generated a torrent of angry comments, I have been given the opportunity to respond here.
First I want to clarify (listen up, Tablet) that I do not think Heidi Klum is a Nazi. My point was not to attack Klum but to acknowledge the associations that I, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, sometimes have — politically incorrect as they are — between ordinary Germans and Nazis. I’m not one who avoids German products, or German people for that matter. But after years of Holocaust education, if we can call it that, certain images and stereotypes have been so ingrained that I can’t help but think of them, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.
Sixty-five years after World War II, the relationship between contemporary Germans and Jews, and the residual impact of the Holocaust on Jews today, isn’t something I hear talked about much anymore, and so I felt it was worth bringing up for discussion. My attempt at doing this in a humorous way proved, by the reaction of many readers, to fail. Instead of provoking discussion, the post just provoked anger and resentment, and charges that I am a racist and “need help.” I don’t think either are true (and I thank Tablet’s Sara Ivry for allowing that I seem like “a reasonable, nice gal”), but I concede I may have gone out too far on a limb that was too thin to hold my weight.
Yes, my comparisons of Klum to a Nazi were ridiculous, but that was my point. I have to take some responsibility for why so many readers missed that point, yet I have heard privately from others who got it and identified with it. So I’m not sorry that I brought it up.
Frankly, I was a bit shocked at the reaction to my post. While I did hope the post would generate discussion, even heated discussion, I never anticipated the extreme offense that some readers would take to it and the level of anger it would cause among commenters. Provoking discussion, even about uncomfortable subjects, is the point of this blog as I understand it, so I hope that I have cleared the air, and maybe generated some of that discussion I initially hoped for.