Who is Laughing? On “Laughtivism” and its Opponents

When Walter Benjamin wrote Gershom Scholem from Paris, on June 12, 1938 about Kafka, humor, and salvation, Adolf Hitler had already established his first work camp (1933), organized an anti-Jewish boycott (1933), burned “un-German” books (1933), passed the Nuremberg Race Laws (1935), sponsored an anti-Semitic art exhibition in Munich (1937), and annexed Austria (1938).   And […]

Robin Williams and The Post-Holocaust Schlemiel in “Jacob the Liar”

Both Roberto Benigni and Robin Williams are popular, internationally acclaimed comedic actors. Their work does a lot to open up the possibilities of comedy and expand its scope. Perhaps in an effort to test the limits of comedy, they took on one of the most difficult tasks imaginable for a comedic actor in the 20th […]

Walter Benjamin’s “Dream Kitsch”

Like Robert Walser, Walter Benjamin, from time to time, wrote in very small script.   According to the editors of the Walter Benjamin Archive, Benjamin’s “miniaturized script is reminiscent of Robert Walser’s ‘pencil system’, which he used to help him write”(50). But unlike Walser, who “learnt to ‘play and poeticize’, in the small and smallest details, […]