Reflections on The Schlemiel-Journal-Experiment and A Brief Note on Shlemiel, The Documentary


In yesterday’s blog, I attempted to do something I haven’t done so far.

I played the schlemiel.

Reflecting on it today, I think I should have done it differently.  It may have taken readers of this blog by surprise.

Thus far, this blog has been academic in nature.  However, I have reflected on myself and why I have decided to blog on the Jewish fool otherwise known as the schlemiel.   Those blog entries – while personal – were of interest to several people, especially the blog entry on my father and his broken dreams.

It was really important for me to share these reflections since this blog is not simply of academic interest.  It is personal and academic.  I have learned from the scholar Avital Ronell that the two should inter-relate – just as theory and praxis or the personal and the political should.  Like Ronell, I like to think of myself as performing (schlemiel) theory.

But I haven’t played the schlemiel so much as reflected on him/her.  And, at times, that prompted me to reflect on myself.

To be honest, I see nothing wrong with engaging in a little self-analysis so as to explore how the schlemiel has come into my personal life.  But, perhaps, to play the schlemiel is another issue.

I’ll save that for another blog – which I hope to start soon – and I will certainly link that blog to this one.

For now, I’d like to point out that a 30 minute documentary by the filmmaker Chad Derrick entitled Shlemiel is dedicated to telling part of my personal story.

In the film, Derrick looks into how I negotiate my dreams with reality.  This includes my personal life as a Jew (a baal teshuva – a Jew who has ‘returned’ to Judaism), a father, a husband, a son, a lead singer in a band, and an academic.  He follows me as I pursue my dreams (mainly my musical dreams by way of my band Men With Babies) and how, as I pursued them I changed.

This film has premiered in Toronto at the National Film Board and was screened last year in Toronto and in Montreal at the LeMood festival.  Over the next year, we look to screen it in New York and in Los Angeles (and other places as well – contact me if you are interested).

Here is the link to the film website.  There you will find a trailer, screening dates, and reviews of the documentary:

I’ll end this blog entry with a restatement of the blog’s purpose: the reader of this blog should be forewarned that it will engage and be host to guest blogs on the schlemiel or schlemiel-related topics (in philosophy, theology, religion, film, literature, etc) AND it will also, on occasion, be a space where I reflect on the schlemiel in my own life.   And this may include a story or two.

I will reflect on the schlemiel but I will not play the schlemiel.

That’s for another blog.

Thanks for taking a moment out of your busy lives to read this blog entry!  And please do come back!  The home of Schlemiel Theory – the place where the laugh laughs at the laugh – is always open and warmly welcomes all of its visitors!

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