Jewcy Comes Alive

"When intellectuals can do nothing else they start a magazine." Not that I’m implying by this that Jewcy is, or ever will be, on nodding terms with Dissent, or that any one of us is the next monument of Manhattan … Read More

By / November 15, 2006

"When intellectuals can do nothing else they start a magazine." Not that I’m implying by this that Jewcy is, or ever will be, on nodding terms with Dissent, or that any one of us is the next monument of Manhattan social democracy that was Irving Howe. But he said it, and I buy it.

As we set this little ethnic dingy afloat, I thought I might give a brief note as to what you can expect to find on The Daily Shvitz, which is what intellectuals do when they've had too much coffee and not enough editing. We’ll offer daily summaries – usually before 11 a.m., unless I’ve been drinking the night before – of what’s new in the magazine and new in the world. These will be followed by drive-by postings a la Reason’s Hit and Run or that lovable sodality of British socialists, Harry’s Place.

Your humble servant happens to be a technical sheygetz (mom’s Irish Catholic), and so my intelligibility/appreciation of Jewishness begins with Spinoza and ends with Partisan Review. Forgive me if I’m light on the lingo or weighty historical memory. I’m trying. Oh, and I’ve got links to spare.

Jewcy's blog is an anarchic experiment in group behavior, and as such we’re bringing in outside help to keep things fresh and interesting. We’ve got three attractive dating bloggers (all way out of your league) and will be deferring to wonks and experts and gadabouts whenever late-breaking headlines late-break way over our heads. (So, say, Stephen Schwartz on Saudi Wahhabism; Neal Pollack on the “it” author of the next five seconds, etc.)

If hard-core, transcendent religion is your bag, please check out our shamelessly pilfered high concept sister blog Faithhacker, masterfully edited by Laurel Snyder. At the end of the idea, we’ll start a food fight or something.

The Jewcer

The real Jews for Jesus: So we lead on day one with my piece. No one ever tells me anything around here. Why are Jewish converts to Christianity leading the modern evangelical movement? (Hint: it has nothing to do with Israel). [Features]

The miserable and the horrible: They were life’s two categories for Woody Allen, and Fiona Maazel keeps an affirming, pessimistic flame with her take on Jewish unhappiness, which is the key to happiness. (Are we Slate yet?) [Features]

Angry, angry atheists: Rabbi Marc Gellman wrote a feverish little essay in Newsweek last spring, arguing that all the hubris and peremptory rhetoric was now coming from the godless, not the god-fearing. End of Faith author Sam Harris and nationally syndicated radio host Dennis Prager discuss the root of atheist angst, and whether religion is a force for good or ill in the modern world. [Dialogues]

Anti-Israeli good. Antisemitism bad: Scott Koyen went to Myanmar and was shocked, shocked to find signs plastered all over native-run hotels which read: “Will Not Serve Israelis – Their Claws Ruin Our Sheets.” Or something. Koyen explains why a minus for our pushy Zionist brethren is actually a plus for world Jewry. [Features]

Maternal advice: If you live in New York, would it kill you to go see Judy Gold’s 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother? It’s like the Vagina Monologues, except about the woman who brought you into this world yet you never call, what’s wrong with you? Sponsored by Jewcy. [Events]

The World

Out of Iraq? Democrats are planning their legislative debut by stumping for that old stand-by, a “withdrawal date” from our forces in Iraq. But their former cheerleaders – namely, critics of the Bush administration – are saying not so fast. Anthony Zinni, John Batiste and (gulping down his latest regime change mea culpa) Ken Pollack – they’re all asking for more troops to be deployed. Here’s Pollack: If we start pulling out troops and the violence gets worse and the control of the militias increases and people become confirmed in their suspicion that the United States is not going to be there to prevent civil war, they are to going to start making decisions today to prepare for the eventuality of civil war tomorrow,” he said. “That is how civil wars start.” [NYT]

What’s the Matter With Ankara? Jewcy contributor Stephen Schwartz argues in the Weekly Standard that the answer for why the country isn’t yet an E.U. member has nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with everything else: It is easy to assert that Turkey has no place in the E.U. because it is Muslim, and that Europe should define itself by its Christian heritage. But would Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, or an independent Kosovo be eternally excluded from the European Union because they have Muslim majority or plurality populations? Very likely not. The truth is that Turkey is handicapped in its approach to Europe much less by its majority faith than by three aspects of its political culture that mainly reflect the legacy of radical secularism. These are the state ideology of Turkishness, the systematic denial of minority ethnic and religious rights, and the excessive influence of the military within the government.” [Weekly Standard]

Well, Ireland Just Got Divorce: Pakistan has amended its rape laws: Until now rape cases were dealt with in Sharia courts. Victims had to have four male witnesses to the crime – if not they faced prosecution for adultery. Jon Stewart must have missed the memo when Musharaf was on the Daily Show. [BBC]

English Al Jazeera, Jewcy Go Live – Coincidence? Funnily enough, my antisemitism Geiger counter reads the same for both news services: Al-Jazeera, which is bankrolled by Qatar's royal family, said its signal would reach 80 million households with cable and satellite TV, mainly in the Middle East and Europe. It hopes to steal viewers from CNN and the British Broadcasting Corp. by giving the world's 1 billion English speakers news from a non-Western perspective. [AP]

Al Qaeda Likes the Donkey: According to the Jerusalem Post, every radical Islamist element in the Middle East – from Tehranese ayatollahs to Ayman al-Zawahiri – are pleased as punch that Bush got “thumped” last week. For them, it means a pull out of Iraq, a kittenish response to Iranian nuclearization, and (my favorite) a neo-diaspora of Jews from war-ravaged Israel. (What, no industrialization targets met two years ahead of schedule?) But just when you thought this editorial writer was playing favorites, he mutes the gloating: The mullahs and al-Qaida may soon find out that their celebration of "the end of Bush" was premature. The Democrats might have promised cut-and-run to win the election. But, once in power, they might realize to their horror that – this time – those from whom Americans run away will come after them.” [J-Post]

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