Schlemiels Can’t Do Camp

At the end of my last blog post, I suggested the possibility of Jewish Camp.  But is that possible?  Aren’t the two mutually exclusive?  This is what Susan Sontag suggests when she argues that Jews and Homosexuals are the creators of two modern sensibilities that are at odds with each other: a moral and an […]

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 […]

Progressive Schlemiels: On Dan Miron’s Reading of Sholem Aleichem’s “Motl the Cantor’s Son”

Dan Miron is one of the greatest living critics of Yiddish and Jewish-American literature today.   His books on these bodies of literature have won him critical claim.  What interests me most is how Miron would approach a schlemiel like Motl (the main character of Sholem Aleichem’s Motl the Cantor’s Son: Writings of an Orphan Boy. […]

Living Schlemiels – Stranger than Fiction

One of the things I have never discussed on this blog is the topic of the “living schlemiel.”  To be sure, the most well-known books on the schlemiel – Ruth Wisse’s The Schlemiel as Modern Hero and Sanford Pinsker’s The Schlemiel as Metaphor – do not address this topic.  Their concern is the schlemiel in […]

“The Alpha-Pussy” – On Marc Maron’s Reframing of the American Schlemiel

The events of last week with Harvey Weinstein have prompted many powerful articles (good, in terms of prompting awareness of violent sexual actions that were an “open secret” in Hollywood, and really bad, in terms of prompting anti-Semitic remarks and insane conspiracy theories).   After reading Mark Oppenheimer’s controversial Op-Ed piece for Tablet, entitled “The […]