Deconstructing the Deconstruction of Zionism: Gianni Vattimo’s Myth Making and Misreading of Jewishness and Jewish Humor

The “Yale School,” which included such academic personalities as Paul deMan and Harold Bloom, gave America its first taste of deconstruction. What deMan and Bloom popularized, in particular, was the rhetorical reading of texts.  The point was to find, as deMan once said, their keystone (or it’s “center”). By locating it and taking it out, […]

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 […]

The Meaning of Failure: A Word or Two on the Trailer for Gary Shteyngart’s New Memoir

I recently stumbled across a trailer for Gary Shteyngart’s new book – Little Failure –  which will hit the streets on January 2014. I came across the trailer by way of an article in Slate. The title of the piece, “Gary Shteyngart’s Homophobic Little Failure of a Book Trailer,” suggests that the trailer, because it […]

The Schlemiel Does Kardashian and Gets Done by Franco: On Seth Rogen and James Franco’s “Bound 2” Video

Is Seth Rogen giving the schlemiel a bad name or…another name?  To be sure, I’ve written several blog-entries on Rogen-as-Schlemiel.  Before I saw Rogen and Franco’s parody of Kanye West’s Latest video, I was already on Rogen’s trail.  And, to my understanding, he, along with Judd Apatow and others, were looking to revise the schlemiel […]

Should Jews be Normal or Exceptional? Hannah Arendt and Gary Shteyngart’s Reading of the Schlemiel and Normality

Judith Butler has, on many different occasions, pointed out that she is taking on the legacy of Hannah Arendt.  And by this she means Arendt’s legacy vis-à-vis her work on the political.  One of the terms Butler uses in her political vocabulary – which also pops up in her work on sexuality – is “normalization.” […]