Monday, May 07, 2007

MTV Gets Jiggy With Chasidim

MTV wants to get down and jiggy with Chasidic preteens. At least that seems to be the message of their Times Square store’s window display. In the front windowpane, towering over a crowd of exiting Broadway theatergoers, stands an eight-foot-tall monochrome decal of a mischievous-looking Chasidic boy in peyes and a Borcellino black hat. I marvel at the sight of this young Chasid in their window and wander into the store.

I half expect to meet up with a swarm of beat-boxing Cheder boys grooving to the Yeshiva Boys Choir. Instead, I find a series of wide-screen TVs playing a video of the Black Eyed Peas fervently chanting, ”I’m gonna make you scream, make you scream. Huh-uh, huh-uh.”

Meanwhile, in front of a rack of Beavis and Butthead skeleton rock-a-thon T-shirts, one pre-teen girl, then another, tears her clothes off to try on T-shirts for size. Suddenly, I wonder if perhaps this isn’t the best place for a young Chasidic boy. Or even, come to think of it, for this author.

But I’m still itching to know what’s up with the Chasidic boychik. So, I scope out the staff of the store to get to the bottom of this, and I seem to be striking out, until I find a security officer named Lance Jones. Lance is a tall, friendly man who spends most of his day at the front entrance of the store. “These windows make you think,” he says to me. “These came out in January, and I’m still trying to figure 'em out.”

Does Lance think MTV is looking to draw more Chasidim to the store with a strategically placed Chasidic bopper in the window? “Well, that’s one way of looking at it,” he says, “to try to get different kinds of groups into the store.”

There is a funky-looking motley cast of characters who share the window space with our Stetson-wearing Chasidic boychik. In the other windowpanes are mic-toting Yeti, men in flannel shirts yielding axes, and a girl-band rocker wearing deer antlers. I look them over and ask Lance if MTV is also trying to get these types of customers into the store. He laughs, then says, “Everybody’s welcome. I think this window is our invitation.”


They probably are trying to incorporate Chassidus as a "funky element". It is cool now since Matisyahu.


It's another way the Yetzer Horah tries to disguise himself. It's also similar to missionizing, trying to "chap" Jewish souls.


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