Saturnine Is Sexy Again: Ben Marcus And Joshua Cohen At The Museum Of Jewish Heritage

For a chat between authors Joshua Cohen and Ben Marcus on the subject of dystopian fiction, we could ask for no more apt backdrop than yesterday’s overcast afternoon, cast against the astral Museum of Jewish Heritage’s panoramic window overlooking New York Harbor. Behind Marcus and Cohen, black helicopters raced laps around floppy hunchbacked seagulls. From this vantage point Ellis Island looked like what Cohen portrays it as in his eight hundred plus page colossus Witz: a dank and dim Guantanamo […]

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Thoughts That Came out of a Secular Rosh Hashanah Dinner Party

Posted by Jason Diamond I hosted a small, totally secular and non-traditional Rosh Hashanah dinner for the Jewish (and non) orphans in New York last night.  It was nice.   Adam Wilson made kugel, Justin Taylor brought Mexican beer, Adam Whitney-Nichols of Fortnight Journal gave everybody really tiny bells for some reason that I still don’t understand.  (Don’t you love name dropping?) All in all, it was a lovely time. When you have a dinner party of any sort, there is […]

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Kindle at the Passover Seder?

Ah Passover.  You aren’t as depressing as Yom Kippur, and certainly aren’t as fun as the drunken celebration of Purim. No Passover, you get the distinction of being the most boring of the Jewish holidays. At least you’re keep up with the times: now we can use an eBook to ask the 4 questions. The latest publication vying for attention in the Passover canon is “Haggadah for the Fifth Child.” A clever title, for, as every Seder-jaded Jew knows, ordinarily […]

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Kashrut Meets Cryptozoology

Once a year, somebody sends me a “Jewish book” for the holidays.  Not sure if they are trying to be cute, or maybe trying to get me in touch with my heritage, but those two copies of “1,001 Jewish Recipes” still collect dust in my closet to this day. So it was a pleasant surprise when I opened up a package containing The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals (Tachyon Books) to read about “Borges”: Of Argentinean origin, this blind magical […]

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A Kaddish for Jewish Zines

By Jason Diamond Gawker’s proclamation of the “Heeb Magazine Deathwatch” got me thinking again about “radical Jewish culture”, but this time in terms of it’s short life, possible death, and whether the tag really means anything other than getting donors to contribute to off-kilter non-profits. Of course, I find that there have been valiant attempts to get the old gears of Jewish thought turning again. From what I can gather, John Zorn coined the phrase with his marvelous Tzadik label, […]

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The Coen Brothers and the Return of the Middle-Aged Jewish Man

By Jason Diamond [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iggyFPls4w&hl=en&fs=1&] Using names like Woody Allen, Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, and Leonard Michaels, a case could be made that there is an entire genre focusing solely on the neurosis of middle-aged Jewish men. John Updike must have thought so, take his character Henry Bech for proof. But while Bellow, Michaels, and the WASP king Updike are all dead, Roth is still good (a bit depressing maybe, but in a good way) and Allen is more content on […]

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Jews For Jesus Tackle Existentialisim, and Fail at It

Is it supposed to be some sort of sign that upon reaching the top of the steps of the Union Square station that I find a pamphlet titled “Existential Crisis”? (Do you like the Mac Photobooth mirror photo above? It somehow represents my inner-existential debate.) I’m going with no, but I must say, the picture of the little bug saying “oy vey that is supposed to be Kafka’s Metamorphosis main character, Gregor Samsa, made me somewhat uncomfortable. I feel like […]

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Jews For Jesus Tackle Existentialisim; fail.

Is it supposed to be some sort of sign that upon reaching the top of the steps of the Union Square station that I find a pamphlet titled “Existential Crisis”? (Do you like the Mac Photobooth mirror photo above? It somehow represents my inner-existential debate.) I’m going with no, but I must say, the picture of the little bug saying “oy vey that is supposed to be Kafka’s Metamorphosis main character, Gregor Samsa, made me somewhat uncomfortable. I feel like […]

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