Thursday, January 06, 2011

The knitted kippa as a visual shorthand for wickedness

See it in this music video:

I can't believe someone thought this trite, dated, ham-handed, mawkishly sentimental music video was a good idea. What it really reminds me of is those stark, old-style melodramas in which the villains all have twirly mustaches. Its a shame, I think, that the current visual vocabulary in heimish circles calls for wayward sons to be identified with knitted yarmulkas. A few generations ago, the filmakers could have only made the point by allowing the kippa to come off, entirely.

Related #1:
You can see something similar in Hagada art:  In on published in Chicago 1939, for instance, the wicked son was drawn as a wearing a black suit with a cigarette in his hand. In the Szyk Haggadah (Poland 1934-36) he has a Hitler mustache.  In one from Prague 1526, the wicked son is given a martial costume, and a feather plumed hat, and in the Prato Haggadah (13th century Spain) he wears a sword and a dagger and points an accusatory finger. The wise son look something like a monk.

Related #2:
I have seen with my own eyes a Hasidic Goofus and Gallant style picture book in which the role models all had long scraggly beards while the counterexamples wore short, neatly trimmed beards. I've also seen a mural depicting Datan and Aviram witk knitted kippas, in opposition to the shtreimel wearing khilla kdosha.

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