Who is the Master? Who is the Slave? The Schlemiel as Masochist in Italo Svevo’s “Confessions of Zeno”

Theodor Reik was one of the founders of psychoanalysis in America and, in Europe, was one of Sigmund Freud’s closest confidants. He argued, in his book on Jewish Wit, that the schlemiel is a masochistic character. In Masochism and Modern Man, Reik goes beyond the Jewish context of this character and says, at the end […]

Larry David, the Schlemiel, and Holocaust Humor

Larry David’s opening monologue for SNL – which included a joke about picking up girls in Concentration Camps – was contested by many on Twitter and elsewhere.  The harshest criticism came from Thane Rosenbaum in his piece for the Los Angeles Journal entitled “Larry David Goes One Cringe Too Far.”   Reading some of these articles […]

“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 […]