Monday, September 24, 2007

Wherefor Art Thou, Hipster Jew Mag?

Jennifer Bleyer, the founding editor of Heeb magazine, has an essay in Nextbook where she relates how she came to leave her hipster-mag. It's refreshingly honest, if not rife with name-dropping. Interesting that sometimes the product of creative output can be the alienating factor itself. Here's a quote:
But as more people got into Heeb, the more disconnected I felt. After a while, it was like I was putting out a magazine for people with brown hair. Sure, I have brown hair. I like having brown hair. But I can talk about it only so much until it feels irrelevant, not to mention self-indulgent. Being the poster girl for hipster secular Judaism wasn't really me. And although I was glad for Heeb's success and worked very hard for it, the popular message was, roughly speaking, that being Jewish is cool.

Being Jewish, cool? Um, dork factor: ten.

It's not cool now, it never has been, and it never will be. But, this was the message taken by many people, and I was its mortified messenger.

I preferred the definition of Jews as ultimate outsiders. That I bore this ridiculous message of coolness made me want to crawl under a rock. I finally felt true Jewish guilt, having created and unleashed a monster against my core beliefs. I didn't want to be a "cool Jew." If anything, I wanted to be a holy schlepper.

So after four issues and almost three years, with an easy exhale, I left.

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