Thursday, December 27, 2007

Keeping my day job

Because it's vacation, I am reading some books that are only tangentially related to France and Jews. First is Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, which I'm finding flawed but useful, for reasons I will get around to explaining once I've finished it. Next is Hannah Arendt, The Jewish Writings. I'm never sure what to make of Jewish-themed collections put together by those other than the writer herself (or, in some cases, himself) . Clearly the decision not to collect one's own writings under this theme was a conscious one. But that should not prevent critics from finding themes. I just wonder if these thematically-centered books should be heavier on the critics' analysis than on fully-reproduced but reassembled works of the writer being discussed. But whatever, I'm intrigued, so we shall see. And finally, Frederic Jaher's The Jews and the Nation: Revolution, Emancipation, State Formation, and the Liberal Paradigm in America and France looks worth tracking down, to get the often-elusive non-France perspective. Far too often I find myself implicitly comparing the situation of French Jews, whether in 1800, 1900, or 1960, with that of American Jews in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, i.e. the obvious. Reading this book will, I hope, be a way out of that trap. Not that it's always a trap, but it can't hurt.

In other vacation news, an attempt at baking bread is going not quite as planned. It either won't rise or will fill the entirety of my very much NYC-sized apartment before the hour is up. If neither of these events transpires, I will photograph the happy (if oh so unlikely) result.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jonah's not that bright - not enough to break new ground on a new idea. A while back he was talking trash about Burke and he referred to Burke as "English."

This kind of thing has been a big problem at NRO - Frum and Derb are the only ones left with serious minds and they are at odds with each other. The rest just have a Cliffs Notes education and so they never gain any traction in ideas beyond propaganda.