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Reading, Looking, Listening, . . . Questioning

Davidson College, down the road from me in North Carolina, just announced that its alumnus Charles Wright will be appearing on campus next month, so I pulled his 2014 collection, Caribou, off the shelf. For those who don’t keep track, Wright is the current US Poet Laureate. I have been reading the poems in Caribou […]

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I’m reading about seven or eight things at the moment, some I need to read and others I simply desire. Books are good friends in the way that they are there when you need them, whether it is to read them in their entirety or simply to open them and find a passage that moves […]

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Stuart Hall, the man known as the “godfather of multiculturalism” died this Monday at the age of 82. Born in Jamaica, he was one of the founders of the school of British Cultural Studies, and his interdisciplinary approach was pioneering. I have read his essay “Cultural Identity and Diaspora” many times. It  expands on the ideas […]

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Reading (again) Lewis Hyde’s Trickster Makes this World: Mischief, Myth, and Art (1998). Hyde is a former professor of writing at Harvard University and was made an MacArthur Fellow in 1991 (amongst other awards). His book on the trickster figure explores the archetype in various aspects, from the mythological figure that helps humanity gain its food […]

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The trickster is one of my favorite mythological archetypes, with his humorous ways of outsmarting the powerful. He is also a character that I study. Tricksters are often misunderstood as impish thieving devils who do more harm than good. However, it is often through their thievery that humans are liberated—Prometheus, who stole from the gods, […]

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Modernist Charles Olson (1910-1970) viewed poetry as a means of projecting energy. As a poet, essayist, and teacher, he had a  far-reaching influence. Rejecting the confines of academic poetry, Olson believed that sound was the way to reach the reader: the HEAD, by way of the EAR, to the SYLLABLE the HEART, by way of […]

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Amiri Baraka, poet, dramatist, and civil rights activist (1934-2014)

We lost Amiri Baraka (1934-2014) last week, at least in body. Writer, poet, dramatist, and civil rights activist, Baraka was slight in stature but grand in presence, words, and ability to generate controversy. He inhabited multiple spaces—in the form of books such as Blues People: Negro Music in White America (1963) which he wrote when he still […]

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I just finished a class on Ralph Ellison and was lucky enough to spend an entire semester on one of my favorite writers. We read his most famous novel, Invisible Man, his collections of short stories and essays, and Juneteenth, published posthumously in 1999. For Ellison, folklore was a constant and significant influence. A folkloric figure […]

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Reading Devil Bird from Echo Tree: The Collected Short Fiction of Henry Dumas. Dumas was part of the Black Arts Movement, a civil rights activist, poet, and writer. In 1968, was tragically shot and killed in a New York City subway in a case of mistaken identity. Much of his work was out of print […]

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A Week of Reading from . . . Rachael Benavidez, Zeteo Associate Editor [One in an ongoing series of posts. For the full series see Zeteo is Reading.] 14 October 2013 On Loss Yesterday marked the loss of Cuban-American novelist Oscar Hijuelos, the first Latino to win the Pulitzer Prize for his 1989 novel The Mambo Kings Play Songs […]

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George Bush as The Joker, caricature

The Chosen Comedians Jewish Joking from Nineteenth Century Europe to Twenty-First Century Israel   By Daniel Taub A review of No Joke: Making Jewish Humor by Ruth R. Wisse (Princeton University Press, 2013) Image—also entitled “No Joke”—is from Drew Friedman, the author of The Fun Never Stops, Old Jewish Comedians, and More Old Jewish Comedians. The […]

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A Syrian man holds lifeless body of his son, killed by Syrian Army, Aleppo, Syria, October 3, 2013, photo by Manu Brabo - AP

The Chosen Comedians Jewish Joking from Nineteenth Century Europe to Twenty-First Century Israel   By Daniel Taub A review of No Joke: Making Jewish Humor by Ruth R. Wisse (Princeton University Press, 2013) Image—also entitled “No Joke”—is from Drew Friedman, the author of The Fun Never Stops, Old Jewish Comedians, and More Old Jewish Comedians. The […]

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February 8, 2017

How does the slogan “man is a wolf to man” fit in with your later, somewhat hopeful image of camaraderie in the class struggle? I mean, if your starting assessment of human nature is correct, then doesn’t the class struggle actually come down to one group of savage beasts fighting another, the exploited class merely comprising those wolves with less opportunity to express their lupine ferocity? And don’t the exploiters no less than the exploited regularly turn against one another, so that besides the strife of classes, there is also the strife of each wolf against every other wolf? Wha...

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Beyoncé

The Chosen Comedians Jewish Joking from Nineteenth Century Europe to Twenty-First Century Israel   By Daniel Taub A review of No Joke: Making Jewish Humor by Ruth R. Wisse (Princeton University Press, 2013) Image—also entitled “No Joke”—is from Drew Friedman, the author of The Fun Never Stops, Old Jewish Comedians, and More Old Jewish Comedians. The […]

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December 13, 2016

Any doubts I may have had have been thoroughly quashed.

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The Chosen Comedians Jewish Joking from Nineteenth Century Europe to Twenty-First Century Israel   By Daniel Taub A review of No Joke: Making Jewish Humor by Ruth R. Wisse (Princeton University Press, 2013) Image—also entitled “No Joke”—is from Drew Friedman, the author of The Fun Never Stops, Old Jewish Comedians, and More Old Jewish Comedians. The […]

Review

November 29, 2016

What a nice review ! I've read Bakewell and admire her courage and skill in mixing biography and philosophy in such an attractive way -- and I admire your skill in presenting the figures and themes of existentialism in an equally attractive way ! Mazel tov !

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