Elie Wiesel got mad at me once.
In 1996, I was attending Harvard Divinity School and taking a seminar with Wiesel at Boston University on “Literature of Prison.” The room was packed with fawning, silent, ‘participants’ who took down Wiesel’s pronouncements like they were revelation. We were reading books written from or about prison life: Dostoevsky, Solzhenitsyn, Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz, Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden, Danilo Kis’ A Tomb for Boris Davidovich; a fantastic syllabus. After a while, one’s literary experience of prison becomes numbing, all bondage seems the same: the harsh labor, the capricious cruelty of guards, the rock-hardened souls
If there is a God, and a moral order to the world, making a 100 million dollar donation to Princeton earmarked for the arts will not get you into heaven. Wandering through Princeton’s art museum the other night for the … Read More
A few years ago, I attended a lecture on disability fetishism. Disability fetishists include people who are sexually attracted to people who are missing digits, joints and limbs. There are websites and chat rooms in which “devotees” exchange pictures, information, … Read More
Francis Fukuyama, the most thoughtful of the neo-conservatives, announced in the Sunday NYTimes Magazine that he is no longer a neo-con. This turn of events is no opportunistic team-switching on his part, but an inevitable result of the neo-conservatives’ Middle East agenda.
I like to ask long-term couples where and how they met—always a good remedy to a boring conversation. My best friend met his wife through friends. After the second date, they knew they were going to get married.
Academia is awash with fifty dollar words that few can buy. Those terms, spoken in a certain style, presented in papers, at conferences, 4:30 lectures, were once music to my ears. Now all I hear is the caustic evasion of … Read More
It is a cowardly New World in many ways: distance killing enables us to blow people to falafel with the push of a button; comradely criticism is muted by the whine of cultural sensitivity; salesmen flood our inboxes rather than … Read More
I am perhaps the only card-carrying socialist who will admit that he loves Starbucks. My leftist friends, even the ones who aren’t nearly as active as I am, find this sort of behavior revolting. I’m already on probation for being a Zionist, saying that the left doesn’t know all the answers to war and peace, and being chummy with the bureaucrats in Nassau Hall.