Tag Archives: Jews

Bookishness Roundup

I wrote about whether or not Jewish people feel more anxious than others (they don’t, but don’t they?) (This mommyblog post does not refer to my dissertation, which argued that anxiety = contemporary culture and gimme a cookie. For my feelings.)

I recently enjoyed The Tiger’s Wife. Obreht’s magical realist novel uses the horror of ethnic violence to rip apart all the boundaries: between nations, ethnicities, and religions, between animal and human, between life and death. As editors are legit assigning stories about potential nuclear war not even a fucking year into this administration, it’s worth thinking about the senseless dehumanization of violent tribalism. Also, while I’m no expert in Balkan culture, the novel seemed to conspicuously, uncritically, surprisingly (given its investments) marginalize its Muslim characters.

I coulda written this about how the afterword in The Handmaid’s Tale (a bunch of historibros debating whether or not the account is valid) is the most important part of the book, by reinforcing the sexism that persisted before and after the Gilead period. Gendered knowledge practices delegitimate women’s experiences and silence their voices. But also: Gilead ended. Political eras end.

This story of Kathy Acker’s last year breaks my heart.

“Surrounded by friends, she began to stop breathing, intermittently. She asked Viegener to look for the list. What list?

The list to call the animals. Kathy, we didn’t make a list. It’s the list to call the animals back home.”

 

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TV Schizophrenia (#MadMen)

In 1961, Thomas Szasz crystalized a particular kind of countercultural trope: the “mentally ill” genius. His The Myth of Mental Illness asserted that people can be “disabled by life.” That one sensitive to the absurdities and senselessness of life may appear mentally ill, but really tells Truth in a hostile society.

By now it’s trite: Sherlock Holmes, House, the lady in Homeland. Hannah Horvath. Gonzo.

No one’s crying about the dude in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest anymore.

But Peggy cried about Michael Ginsberg.

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