Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jew(el) of a Roundup

A Jewish metal band named Black Shabbis? I heart already.

Labor enters into Israel's governing coalition, with apparently a very sweet offer (including the Defense Ministry) from Netanyahu. Matt Yglesias is not pleased. I, not really caring if Labor lives or dies (though quite concerned about the state of the Israeli left), am more unsure -- certainly, the idea of a hard-right Likud-led coalition did not strike my fancy.

Norman Geras reviews Caryl Churchill's new play in verse.

Martha Nussbaum jumped the gun: 90 year old Jewish women practice for their (much belated) Bat Mitzvot.

An interesting exhibition at Penn State documents Jews in far-flung locations.


PG said...

Explain re: Nussbaum? The realization that she is wildly unpopular among South Asians has re-engaged my interest in her.

David Schraub said...

Nussbaum (nee Craven) converted to Judaism when she married her (ex-)husband (she kept the name), but she didn't get Bat Mitzvah'd until 2008 at age 61. Which, as we're finding out, is way too young for such an august occasion.

Anonymous said...

What did she do to piss off the South Asians?

PG said...

More specifically, she pissed off the Hindus. She's been writing for several years about the Hindu religious right, which is about the strangest fundamentalism out there considering that Hinduism is not just polytheistic but also poly-textual -- there's no "fundamentals" to get back to.

I had someone write in comments on my blog disagreeing with Nussbaum back in 2003, when I recommended her article on the Gujarat massacre. But I hadn't realize that since then both Nussbaum's interest in the saffronists and the countervailing knee-jerk detestation of Nussbaum had come into full bloom. I found all this out here.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, PG. Public intellectuals are so marginalized and even irrelevant in the U.S., and it always fascinates me when people most Americans have never heard of become the objects of love or hate in other countries, not for their actions as politicians or their status as celebrities but for their ideas.

PG said...


Yes, although it's also complicated inasmuch as people in developing countries (or who are part of the diaspora and strongly identifying with their nations of origin) resent what they perceive to be the power of a Western public intellectual to shape the perception of the developing country in the West. That is, some Hindus are angry with Nussbaum not just for what she says -- it's no more severe on the Hindu hard right than what many people within India say -- but because she is an American public intellectual who is assumed to have much more influence in the West than any Indian would. As you suggest, I think this vastly overestimates the influence of public intellectuals, particularly those who are in academia and mostly criticizing from the left, but it does mean that she is an object of hate not only for her ideas but also for her identity.