Thursday, July 07, 2011

For "na"

na, if you are still dropping by the blog, you might enjoy this interview of Ruth Wisse on the nature of antisemitism and the failure of the academy and many Jews to understand it.
Watch: Harvard professor assails 'kill-the-Jews flotilla'


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link.

Prof. Wisse was most engaging when discussing about her own research on Yiddish literature. Her political analysis, on the other hand, was 1-part boilerplate 1-part bizarre. There is actually an Israeli-Arab conflict, and it is about control of land. That’s why there are walls and fences and armies and discussions of borders. It takes considerable mental gymnastics to argue otherwise. I can’t imagine the effort trying to convince people otherwise is worth the payoff. And I see that particular effort as symptomatic of her overall approach.

As for YIISA, I’m of two minds. Inter-disciplinary efforts almost always strike me as generators of lowest-common-denominator stuff and I’m naturally hostile to any academic unit with the word ‘study/studies’ in it (except if they’re hiring…). Yet, there are so many BS units producing low-calibre gruel that I am tempted to throw my hands in the air and say ‘let a hundred BS inter-disciplinary units bloom!’ I don’t really know what YIISA was trying to accomplish, and from what I’ve read they were shut down because their review committee shares some of my jerk-ish biases. They could probably drop the ‘Y’ and reconstitute itself as an association with an annual conference. Donors love this high-profile stuff. But without the imprimatur of a world renowned Ivy, will it really be as fun to gather around in order to point out the obvious faults of the Arab world?


Eowyn said...


I've given this subject -- the often amazing ability of Jews to dismiss what are perhaps obvious threats -- a lot of thought.

My conclusion ... Jews are no different from anyone. Well, not quite: Jews, by tradition, are raised to expect the best from people (and, in fairness, so are us Christians :) -- such that no one wants to accept that evil intent exists.

Having said that: Post-World War II, Jews are ever so much more pragmatic. Thus far, Israel has managed threat-containment versus humanity masterfully.

(You've got to torture Arabs, sorry, but that's the reality. Confine that ugly chore to a dedicated few, and you free everyone else to live freely. Ya know?)

Occasionally I worry that Israel will take our idiot presidents seriously. I wish I could tell them "fuggeddaboudit."

Israel will always, and forever, be our ally.

Nice piece, as ever, my friend :)

Dr kold_kadavr_ flatliner MD said...

'the more you shall honor Me,
the more I shall bless you'
-the Infant Jesus of Prague