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    Crossing the line with tasteless ‘humor’

    The Harvard Lampoon Castle in Cambridge.

    I cannot approach the eloquence of Rabbi Steinberg of Harvard Hillel in condemning The Harvard Lampoon’s recent publication of an image of Anne Frank’s face placed atop the body of a bikini-clad woman over the caption, “Add this to your list of reasons the Holocaust sucked” (“Harvard Lampoon sorry for ‘anti-Semitic’ Frank imagery,” Metro, May 15).

    But of the Lampoon’s editors, who conceded their “negligence in allowing this piece to be created and printed,” I ask this question: The Holocaust “sucked”? Is that like “Finals suck”? Or “Yankees suck”?

    I became aware of the Holocaust at age 9 when I found in my family’s attic a stack of photographs that my father had taken when his Army unit, the 104th Infantry Division, had liberated the Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp. Ever since then, I have always known that to use the Holocaust as a source of humor would be, in Rabbi Steinberg’s words, to “effectively join . . . the obscenity of the Nazis themselves and carry it forward.”


    The decision to create and publish the Anne Frank imagery and its accompanying caption was not “negligent.” Rather, it reflects a moral deficit on the part of those involved. The Lampoon editors should resign.

    Robert Thuotte