With all the ugly Christmas sweaters going around, we Jews need to catch up with the trend of bad-taste giving. Sure, you could go for a Menurkey in honor of Thanksgivukkah, or one of the other memorably odd menorah choices, but in the era of heightened European anti-Semitism, Putin’s Syrian intervention, and negotiations with Iran these simple, silly pleasures seem rather passe. Trendy tacky giving requires matching the spirit of the season as well as cultural vogue. With that in mind, I present to you the Top 5 most timely, tacky, and totally tasteless Hanukkah gifts for 2013.
Great for those American kids who still have the privilege of checking “Decline to Respond” next to questions about racial and ethnic identification, Papers Please is a video game that’s sure to please the tech geek on your list this holiday season. This cheap downloadable PC game’s pixelated animation will hark back to the days of Oregon Trail sans the Donner Party madness. In Papers Please the evil is clean-cut; no need to rape a street whore and throw her out of the car for extra points. As the bureaucrat you simply refuse entry to those in need.
Kindness is the killer in this game, a “dystopian document thriller” about the evils of government paperwork. The perfect training ground for a nation of future bureaucrats, Papers Please is a testimony to Stalin’s axiom, “Bureaucracy is the price we pay for impartiality.” Perfect for the little Schindler in your life.
A Ukranian website whose servers are located in Berlin has cultivated a Twitter following among Russian-speakers who love playing Nationalist Simulator – Defend Ukraine. This is the perfect gift for that friend with Eastern European proclivities who just can’t stomach Russians, gays, Americans, and, of course, Jews.
“The objective of the game is to shoot the rainbow flags, Russian flags, American flags, red balls and Jews, who are represented by orange circles adorned with yarmulkes and sidelocks.” Perfect for the self-loathing among us, Russian-speaking Twitter user Denis Goldman (ethnic/religious persuasion unidentified) asked, “God, why had no one come up with this amazing game?”
Given the implied hatred of Russians, I’m guessing the picture of Putin riding a bear implodes if you can get past all those pesky Jews, gays, and Yankees.
For that Lena Dunham lover in your life who can’t wait to live that “rich white girl’s” life of Girls in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Jewish photographer Adam Krause offers an inspiring series titled “Greenpoint Brooklyn Nazi Skinheads.” The un-hip among us may question a good Jewish boy’s decision to intimately photograph skinheads, but as the grandchild of Holocaust survivors explains:
“I’m not judging anybody at all. I have done very stupid things in my life. While I obviously don’t subscribe to what those guys believe in, I understand where someone could have an opposing view to what mainstream culture and society have in mind. I’m really good at removing myself from the situation, and not having to express any emotion.’
Harkening back to those good ol’ Weimar days, and as emotionless as the sex on Girls, a finely framed Krause classic is the perfect statement for that hipster Jew in your life who is cool with anything but prefers to keep a relationship of any kind at arm’s length.
Every Jew has a minyan of social justice fanatics among their friends. Why not give them the hottest political gift of the holiday season: Asylum in Sweden! In response to the country’s “rising anti-Semitism, manifested in neo-Nazi marches, bans on kosher slaughter and ritual circumcision,” Swedish Jewish activist Annika Hernroth-Rothstein has filed a petition to be recognized as a refugee in her homeland on the grounds of fear of persecution.
Some are balking at the trendsetting Hernroth-Rothstein, who wonders why more Jews aren’t following suit.
“One decision after another, the government is taking away our [religious freedoms] and driving us out of the country, and we aren’t taking to the streets,” she said. “We should be, but we aren’t, and I’m hoping that even people who think that I’m annoying will notice.
“I want people to understand that this is not just a ploy. Of course, it is a publicity stunt, and I know it won’t last long and [my application] will be dismissed, but it’s about a much larger issue. It’s about holding the government accountable.”
1. Your Very Own Holocaust-Inspired Selfie
This gift is for the one you really love. Sure, it’s the cost of a European vacation, but no European vacation is complete without an Instagram selfie at a concentration camp or Holocaust-related site. Don’t forget the standard hashtags: #arbeitmachtfrei #zyklonB #juden, #insertcampnamehere, and, of course, #instacaust. As far as the popular #feelgood tag goes, well, they call it the gift that keeps on giving for a reason.