Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


No shoe ads please, he’s Jewish

Filed under : Famous People,Judaism,Music
On June 4, 2007
At 11:10 pm
Comments : 10

You may have heard that recently, the Doc Martens shoe people got into trouble for producing ads which featured dead rock stars wearing Doc Martens. Dead rock stars with living, litigious relatives. I followed this story kind of tepidly (that is, it caught my brief attention via feed reader before I scrolled merrily along). But that all changed when I read this statement from Joey Ramone’s brother:

Obviously, we are in the same position as Courtney Love, as well as the Estates of the others depicted. We were never consulted about this ad. We were never asked for permission to use Joey’s image, or paid for the use of it. As Executor of my brother’s estate I never would have approved this ad as Joey never wore these shoes. And, not that my brother was terribly religious, but the fact that he was Jewish, and this ad is not exactly Kosher, makes it that much more inappropriate, inconsiderate and contemptible.

(via Gothamist)

Huh? Let’s parse this. Kosher in the strict sense means permissible according to Jewish law. The common form mostly relates to food, as you’d know if you were a regular reader of this blog or resided in the Kosher food nexus of New York City. Neither of these explanations seems to make sense. If you work on the basis that Mickey Leigh (Joey’s brother; the real kind, not the fake Ramone kind) meant Kosher in the sense of “correct” and “permissible” then it doesn’t really have much to do with Judaism and then his whole “but he’s Jewish so how could you do this to him?” argument kind of falls apart. If you stretch to understand his meaning as “OK by Jewish law,” I’m afraid that there’s nothing more verboten about stealing someone’s image by Jewish law than in the more secular, American kind, so that doesn’t work either. The food idea is completely off the chart.

Is it because Joey’s kind of dressed like an angel in the ad (you can see it yourself in the Gothamist link above)? We have angels in Judaism too. Or maybe Mickey thinks the figure is kind of Jesus-like? I’m not really seeing that either, especially because I’m told that Jesus wore sandals. Everything in the ad itself, aside from the shoes, could totally be from Judaism (heaven, light shining through hole in the clouds, etc.). So what’s he on about?

So basically, Joey Ramone was Jewish, everyone. And that means you can’t dress him like an angel in heaven and have him shill your shoes. Oh yeah, and he didn’t even wear Doc Martens, so there.

This is the only Ramones song I could ever stand.

The Ramones – We Want The Airwaves


10 Comments for this post

  1. Sarpon says:

    My guess – the tendency of Skinheads to wear Doc Martens makes them a neo-Nazi fashion choice, and conversely, “not kosher.”

  2. I agree, that has nothing to do with anything. It would be like me saying I could not come to work today because of Y2K.

  3. KP says:


    Speaking of the Ramones, my kids used to sing Blitzkrieg Bop with the words

    “bunny’s in the backseat
    baby’s in the front seat
    let’s kick butt!”

    because they couldn’t understand what the hell they were saying. I like my kids version best.

  4. Becca says:

    Sarp, that’s an interesting theory. But I hope Doc Martens aren’t only associated with Nazis. They’re cool shoes, I don’t care what Joey Ramone wore.

    Mid, what, that doesn’t work? I was thinking of trying it. Or maybe because work isn’t Kosher.

    KP, ha, that rocks. They do have “Ramones in Lullabye Version,” btw. I got the Radiohead one for Baby Owen.

    By the way, Alex informs me that that image does have a Christian connotation. I wish I could remember what exactly, but I’m heavily drugged at the moment.

  5. RN says:

    I liked Sid’s picture better anyway.

  6. Alex says:

    Well, to be precise, what Alex said was, “It does look kind of like a lot of depictions of Jesus’s Ascension into Heaven on Pentecost.” I wouldn’t say it’s anything more official than a Christian *connotation*, but it may indeed evoke thoughts of the Ascension for anybody who was in my CCD class in Kansas in the 1970s (or, I suppose, who used the same set of books).

    “Ask an Altar Boy,” from the people who brought you “Magic Jewball’s Jew & A.”

  7. Becca says:

    RN, I actually liked Kurt’s best. Too bad Courtney has such a stick up her ass.

    Alex, thank you for understanding that my coded message was actually “please repeat what you said to me via IM right here in a comment, thanks.” Also, perhaps we’ll do “Ask an Altar Boy” as my Rosh Hashanah guest post.

  8. Alex says:

    Except, of course, that this altar boy is a little tied up that day.

  9. Alfa says:

    So was glue kosher? Cause according to the book I’m reading, Joey had no problem indulging in that.

  10. Becca says:

    Alex, so would be many of the people who would need answers.

    Alfa, say it ain’t so! I’m guessing not the kind that comes from horses. Or at least you can’t have it with a glass of milk.

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