Michael Salzhauer, also known as "Dr. Schnoz," is igniting controversy for reinforcing stereotypes about the sizes of Jewish individuals' noses. Salzhauer, who is currently under investigation, commissioned a music video about rhinoplasty a few months back that many people in the Jewish-American community see as inflammatory. The clip, which was performed by The Groggers, an Orthodox pop-punk band, deals with controversial subject matter.
The video highlights a young, Jewish man's struggles over the size of his nose and his efforts to get the girl of his dreams. In the end, following a rhinoplasty procedure, the boy does, indeed, end up with a beautiful woman -- a message that is certainly problematic for those encouraging young people to be themselves and to not conform to societal demands.
In exchange for the music video, Salzhauer apparently offered the band members free nose jobs. The lead singer took him up on the offer, which is evident in the video.
Religion News Service has more on the drama surrounding the clip:
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons...deemed the video "inappropriate and offensive" in a March 13 statement, and has opened an ethics investigation.
More generally, Jewcan Sam has revived debates about Jewish stereotypes and prompted questions about whether rhinoplasty patients are cutting off their noses to spite their Jewish faces.
Andrew Rosenkranz, the Florida director for the Anti-Defamation League, called the five-minute video "hurtful" for featuring a Jewish young man who is rejected by a fetching young woman because of his beaky nose.
Below, watch the video in question:
A description posted under The Groggers' video explains that the clip, "explores how far a person would go for love." Additionally, the text makes the following claim: "This video marks the first time in history that a band underwent plastic surgery for the sole purpose of a music video." Under this text, people interested in plastic surgery inquiries are forwarded to the surgeon's web site.
The name of the project -- "Jewcam Sam" -- was inspired by Toucan Sam, the mascot of Froot Loops cereal. Some critics have wondered if Salzhauer is a "self-hating Jew" as a result of his participation in the project. But The Groggers' lead singer, L.E. Doug Staiman, has dismissed critics' charges.
"We're all Orthodox Jews and very proud Jews," Staiman said. "Isn't there a KKK rally you've got to break up somewhere?"
Both Staiman and Salzhauer contend that the video isn't meant to serve as a commercial and that it is meant to be a spoof. RNS continues, providing more information on the video:
The video follows the yarmulke-wearing Staiman as he tries to resist a knife-wielding surgeon -- played by Salzhauer -- and his thuggish orderlies. Everywhere he goes, he faces pressure to get a nose job. At one point he bumps into a bush clipped in the shape of scissors.
After the nose job, Staiman doesn't get the sexy girl. (The video was filmed both before and after Salzhauer performed the operation.) But he does get a different sexy girl.
Is it a mixed message on rhinoplasty? Yes, said Staiman, whose band has a reputation for making edgy music videos on themes in Jewish life, and not always taking clear positions on them.
To add to the controversy, Salzhauer is now purportedly providing "scholarships" to Jewish girls who may want a nose job to better attract boys.
(H/T: Religion News Service)