Why Can’t a Schlemiel be a Mensch?

In his book, Unheroic Conduct: The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Male Daniel Boyarin argues that the Jewish male, throughout the Middle Ages, was more effeminate than masculine.   In contrast to the its masculine gentile counterpart (which Boyarin finds in Rashi’s description of the “knight” and in figurations of the “evil […]

Zionists and Schlemiels: On the Difference Between Cultural and Political Zionists at “Der Schlemiel” Journal

Very few scholars have addressed the appropriation of the schlemiel by Zionist thinkers and critics. Daniel Boyarin has suggested the contrast between the less masculine, Medieval model for the Jew (which, to be sure, is a humble simpleton who bears many of the more feminine qualities that are associated with the schlemiel) and the more […]

A Political-Schlemiel-Crisis: Obama as Man-Child Versus Putin as Real Man, or Sean Hannity’s Humiliation Over President Obama’s Masculinity

I often do my utmost to stay away from contemporary politics in my blog, but I had to write something in response to a sound byte I recently heard in the media.   In a recent radio show, Sean Hannity – the well known TV host for Fox – claimed that “The Russian media keep showing […]

An American-Post-Holocaust Schlemiel: Another Note on Bernard Malamud’s “The Lady of the Lake”

Woody Allen’s Zelig traces the path of a character (of the same name) that, Irving Howe suggests (in one segment of Allen’s film), is based on the passionate drive of American Jews in the early 20th century to assimilate into American society.  Zelig, to be sure, is a schlemiel. But he is what I would […]

Pajama Boy, The (New) Schlemiel, and Obamacare

When I woke up this morning I noticed an article by Politico (which is not a right-wing publication) that registered a high frequency on my schlemiel radar.  The words that caught my attention were in its headline: “Pajama Boy, An Insufferable Man-Child.”   The article was written in response to an ad tweeted by “Organizing for […]