Dear Schlemiel Lovers,
On February 18th, Schlemiel Theory turned four years old!
I am happy to report that Schlemiel Theory is – today – the most popular blog not only on the Schlemiel but also in the genre of Jewish Philosophy and Literature. With over 6,000 followers, Schlemiel Theory continues to grow and reach people around the globe.
Schlemiel Theory has archived over 500 essays that uniquely address the schlemiel, literature, poetry, philosophy, theology, film, television, and stand-up comedy. The point of this project is and has always been to become the largest space in the world for Schlemiel Theory. As the essays show, this character has a lot of potential and can open up many new avenues for thought and reflection. To be sure, the schlemiel can help us to think about literature, philosophy, theology, and culture in nuanced ways.
In his essay on Kafka, Walter Benjamin suggested that what Kafka meant by the “Truth of Sancho Panza” was the fact that he followed Don Quixote. But Benjamin knew that Kafka’s version of Don Quixote lifted up a paw against its master. Kafka’s Don Quixote is more Jewish. As Ruth Wisse and Sidra Ezrahi have noted, the schlemiel (especially in its first major literary figuration – in Mendel Mocher Sforim’s The Travels and Adventures of Benjamin the Third) is a Jewish Don Quixote. The schlemiel offers something different from – and perhaps even more powerful than – what Quixote offered to modern writers, thinkers, and artists.
And this is the take-away.
Benjamin, Kafka, and Arendt have suggested that we follow the schlemiel. But they are not alone. Some of our greatest writers and comedians today have made the same suggestion. Something is happening here. Schlemiel Theory is there to flesh it out.
Thank you for your support and your comments.
Like Sancho Panza, Schlemiel Theory is and will remain in hot pursuit of the schlemiel. Today’s birthday is a reminder of what the blog has done and will continue to do. Today is a new day for Schlemiel Theory and it promises to be yet another great year with weekly posts by the author of the blog and by different guest posters who hail from the realms of academia, poetry, literature, film, and culture (see here and here for two such posts).