Page 121 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 54

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113
Abuse oftheHolocaust
USE OF SMUT
One of the first novels to exploit this relationship between the
concentration camps and pornographic fantasy was Edwin Silber-
stang’s
Nightmare oftheDark
(1967) which lingers over the punish­
ments and tortures inflicted on a young boy in a concentration
camp in order to milk the sado-masochistic possibilities they offer.
The authors dwells on homosexual incidents, flogging and whip­
pings much in the same way that such incidents are depicted in
cheap novels written to pander to the prurient taste.
A more recent novel,
Spicy Lady
(1973) by Joseph A. Daly, pro­
vides an example of a different, more subtle, turn in such exploitive
enterprises.
Spicy Lady
is offered up as a fast-moving satiric novel
on modern communications. It attacks commercial television for
its unconscionable manipulation of humans beings in order to ex­
ploit them for commercial purposes and uses the horrors of a sur­
vivor’s concentration camp experiences to highlight the moral
callousness of the medium. The true irony apparendy escape Jo­
seph A. Daly.
The story of
SpicyLady
is a simple one. Awoman named Wanda
Fleisher establishes herself as a regular performer on TV for a
company that turns out spices. She instructs her audience in how
to turn out savory dishes by using the company’s products. Alive,
sexy, and outrageously witty, her uninhibited brash, breezy style
captivates weary housewives. The sales of the spices she advertises
soars, and she quickly achieves star status as under her tutelage har­
ried housewives turn the cheapest cuts of meat into gourmet dish­
es. Gradually it is revealed to us that Wanda developed her
culinary tricks while she was a inmate in a concentration camp. In
order to survive she became a cannibal, and taught herself how to
use spices to turn human flesh into succulent dishes. Now, of
course, we can appreciate the wit of the author in calling his hero­
ine Wanda Fleisher, even as we understand the secret of her sexu­
ality and energy, available to all willing to live on a proper diet.
In charity one may defend Daley by arguing that he tried and
failed; that he tried to weave a moral tale about the decay of values