Many of us saw the recent Billy Joel photo where he sports the yellow Star of David on his coat during a concert. This symbol of repression, hate, unspeakable horror was viewed by many, in the context of a 2017 rock concert, as a message of pride -- something of a flip-off to the neo-nazis now sliming the streets of Charlottesville, Va and other towns in this country.
The fact that Joel is Jewish made all the difference; the fashion house of Miu Miu was recently shamed into removing a line of clothes featuring yellow Jewish stars.
As far as I can find, Joel said something like it was time to stand up; spokespeople for Miu Miu offered no real explanations for their artistic choice. Are the choices supposed to speak for themselves? As nonverbal signals, with little or no verbal clarification, they remain open to interpretation.
If you don't know anything about Billy Joel's family history, here is a moving YouTube documentary of the Joel family's experience in Hitler's Germany.
The YouTube documentary is an hour, so won't take your entire evening. I was particularly interested in Billy Joel's nonverbals as he and his brother meet with the children of a nazi party businessman. We invite you to watch and then weigh in on the continuing life of the infamous Jewish star.
What do you think? How do you interpret these recent uses of the yellow star?
- Laura Schulman