28 February 2010

Up Up and I Dont Quite Think So

Weinstein's Up Up and Oy Vey explains how Jewish history and culture paved the road for the comic book superhero. He describes that during the 1930s, persecution was brought upon on Jews in Europe. But the problem was that no one seemed to come to rescue. In return, Jewish Americans began creating stories with powerful characters that where meant to conquere evil. These stories became later known as the comic book. Each of the superheroes created after World War II represented a specific theme found in Jewish beliefs and the Bible. These include integrity, justice, teamwork, family values etc. After Weinstein describes the story of Spiderman, he begans to tell how it relates to the Jewish culture. That Spiderman's guilt of his uncle's death is what drives him to become a superhero and how that is a Jewish quality. According to Weinstein, Spiderman's creator, Stan Lee fused Jewish ethics into Spiderman and he most resembles David. After that Weinstein elaborates on David's relationship with an eight legged creature in the Bible. Spiderman, like Jewish people try to do what is right but are viewed with suspicion by authority figures. Another point that Weinstein points out is that all superhero costumes were designed by a Jewish tailor. In Weinstein's concluding paragraph he makes an interesting connection with hidden identities with superheroes and ourselves. How "part of us is revealed, and part of us is concealed" (Weinstein 124). He then ends with the lessons that can be learned from our superheroes inspired by Jewish beliefs.

I thought a lot of connections were coincidental, but all the different Jewish Bible stories, comic stories, Jewish charactures, comic charactures got confusing when he would use them all in one paragraph. I dont agree with Weinstein because I think he made these connections because he wanted the two to correlate with each other. I also dont think comic creators create charactures that are based on a certain religion. But I did like his concluding paragraph. I liked how Weinstein in a way brought the superhero responsibility on the reader. He told the reader to be more true to themselves and help the world around them. Some points in this reading were pretty cool but I dont strongly back up Weinstein's argument.


  1. This is a good post, Toni, but be sure to read more closely in the future. The Jewish tailor who makes all the superhero costumes was just a character in the Spiderman comic. That comic writer was trying to pay homage to the American Jews who created those superheroes.

    Still, you make some good points. Some of Weinstein's connections do seem pretty thin, but you can't argue with history :-) Lastly, of course Weinstein's drawing "connections because he wanted the two to correlate with each other"! That's what writer's do! Haha! You're just learning to spot it more carefully now :-)

  2. Good post, I agree with you about Weinstein's concluding paragraph. Your summary was good but he doesn't really end with lessons inspired by Jewish beliefs, doesn't he end with his request to the readers?

  3. Dang! Candace is schoolin' all you fools ;-)

    That's an excellent distinction I meant to bring up, Candace. Toni, his final message could be hardly said to be Jewish. It's more universal in its applications. In the end, that was his point--even though these superheroes were created by Jews, their teachings (the superheroes') can be applied to anyone's life. That's why, I think, we love superheroes :-)