Assemblyman Sheldon Silver and Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer are holding a press conference at Russ & Daughters right now to praise the store for joining a program that takes used cooking oil from restaurants and converts it into clean-burning biodiesel fuel. But the do-goodism might get overshadowed. See, Heeb magazine is upset that during a Martha Stewart show appearance, Russ honcho Josh Tupper threw the magazine’s namesake bagel sandwich, the Heeb, under the bus by calling it the Heebster and explaining to Martha, “Heebster means nothing. Just kind of hipster. Sort of old school and hipster. We made it up.” Actually, Heeb’s editor, Joshua Neuman, is the one who created and named the combination of whitefish, baked salmon salad, and horseradish cream cheese (trust us — it’s an acquired taste), and he’s outraged that Tupper took such pains not to offend Martha’s audience.
Martha Stewart’s power is the power of WASP respectability. I don’t blame Tupper for wanting to keep a time-honored family business alive under the most brutal economic conditions in recent memory. I blame him for not being more self-conscious about the larger significance of his actions. Changing a name to fit in with the WASPs is an embarassing chapter in our cultural history.
We’re not sure we’d take it as far as Neuman did, but this certainly seems to be a shmear on Russ’s record — especially since they’re now promoting the Super Heebster on their home page. This gets us to wondering: Would Hallo Berlin take pains to fudge the name of its “Fuhrer” special if it went on The View?