How shall we remember Jorge Semprún, the writer and political figure who died on June 7, just before after the seventy-fifth anniversary of the event that, more than any other, including his imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp, would define his life? I refer to the approach of July 17, 2011, which will mark the date in 1936 when Francisco Franco and his cohort of military officers rose against the second Spanish Republic.
Jewish history in the 20th century is full of might-have-beens, most of them too sorrowful to bear thinking about. The brief cultural moment that Kenneth B. Moss resurrects in Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution (Harvard University Press) is one of the least known and most fascinating of those aborted futures: a two-year period when writers, artists, and activists in Russia and Ukraine believed they were midwiving the birth of a new Jewish culture.
If you are a critic of the Bush administration, chances are that, at some point over the past six months, Ron Paul has said something that appealed to you. Paul describes himself as a libertarian, but, since his presidential campaign took off earlier this year, the Republican congressman has attracted donations and plaudits from across the ideological spectrum.
Thanks to Dave Weigel, I see that Bobby Fischer, the world champion chess player, has died. Fischer was also a lunatic anti-Semite and Holocaust denier, in spite of being Jewish himself. Here's what Lew Rockwell, the probable author of Ron Paul's newsletters, has to say over at his blog today: The chess genius the US government tried to jail has died in his adopted homeland of Iceland. His crime? He played a chess match in Yugoslavia, which was then hated by the US for playing a Lincolnesque role against its secessionist states. Was Fischer thereby endorsing the Yugo Union?
FATELESS (THINKfilm) CONVERSATIONS WITH THE GREAT MOVIEMAKERS OF HOLLYWOOD'S GOLDEN AGE AT THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE (Knopf) MANY OF US HAVE reservations about the Holocaust as a subject for enacted films. Claude Lanzmann, who made the monumental documentary Shoah, said, "Fiction [about the Holocaust] is a transgression. I deeply believe that there are some things that cannot and should not be represented." Still, even if we too think that we believe this, when a Holocaust film is manifestly serious--one can almost say consecrated--it is hard to resist.
Tony Kushner's new play, Caroline, or Change is a formal anomaly. It has been hailed as a breakthrough musical created by a confident professional collaborative—vigorous score by Jeanine Tesori (Thoroughly Modern Millie), lively choreography by Hope Clarke (Spunk), and dynamic staging by George C. Wolfe (Jelly's Last Jam).
BIBLE STUDY Andrew Sullivan and The New Republic have made a great contribution to the discussion of the issue of homosexuality by giving readers the article about Lawrence v. Texas, the sodomy case before the U.S. Supreme Court (“Unnatural Law,” March 24). My only concern is with Sullivan’s closing, which says that hopefully the Supreme Court will now end this violation of civil rights and invasion of privacy by “liberat[ing] a whole class of persons.” It seems to me that the Supreme Court will follow the precedent set by the decision it made in the Colorado Amendment 2 case, Romer v.
That was just Lamentations, it was not History...—Derek Walcott The idea of the responsible victim was conceived by Hannah Arendt to restore the honor of the Jews. Victimization is a disgrace; but there is no disgrace in action, or in taking the consequences. Arendt's view of Jewish complicity in the anti-Semitic crime ironically resembles the vulgar Zionist view which exaggerates the Jewish resistance to it. Both recoiled from the grim chronicle of helplessness that is more or less the political history of the Jews ("the extraordinary spectacle of a people...