Happy Birthday to Schlemiel-in-Theory! A Brief Musing on the Future of the Schlemiel and Its Rich Past


Today is Schlemiel-in-Theory’s Birthday!!! It turns two years old today. The blog has, in the time of a year, gone from one thousand to nearly four thousand followers! And, as with any birthday, I would like to make a resolution that this year I will redouble my efforts to find and write on new and old schlemiel sightings. It is my hope that this blog will advance not just schlemiels but schlemiel theory. You can look forward to more of both.

That said, I’d like to suggest that I think that, despite all the death threats people have made on the schlemiel, this character has a future. Throughout the year, I have written blog-essays on writers like Gary Shteyngart, Seth Rogen, Harold Ramis, Robin Williams, Charles Bernstein, Woody Allen, and Sheila Heti (to name only a handful of schlemiel advocates, performers, and writers).

I have also delved into the rich past of the schlemiel and opened up different areas of interest that may pertain to this character. We can see this in writers and thinkers like Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, Robert Walser, Ruth Wisse, Bernard Malamud, Theodor Adorno, Adam Kotsko, and Martin Buber (amongst others).

I also took my work outside of Schlemiel in Theory. I published a piece on Woody Allen and the schlemiel in a Woody Allen book collection. And I wrote three pieces on the schlemiel in Walter Benjamin, Robin Williams, Adam Sandler for the wonderful European online magazine, Berfrois.

This year I will continue looking into the past, present, and future of this celebrated comic character. I will also be posting several new guest posts that span philosophy, comedy, literature, film, aesthetics, and theology.

I want to thank everyone who has visited the blog and followed it for your continued support! The schlemiel lives on!!!

Awkward Schlemiel Salutations,

Menachem Feuer

PS: Here is a clip from a film I really like by Noah Baumbach. It’s called Frances Ha (2012).   I think the female schlemiel we see in this work – as well as in the extraordinary literary work of Sheila Heti – suggests a good…awkward future for the schlemiel.

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