Tuesday, August 03, 2004

2nd Generation Writers

Ruth Franlin recently wrote an excellent review essay several so-called Second Generation books for the Jew Republic, which was unfairly attacked two weeks ago by Nextbook's Paul Zakrzewski in The Jewish Week. (Zakrzewski's critique was just wrong & not worth repeating).

Personally, I don't like most of either first or second generation Holocaust literature. However, it would be difficult to underestimate the impact of the Holocaust on American (and world) Jewry and it's influence is felt in matters both large and small. Therefore, dealing with the Holocaust through literature seems like an inescapable way of engaging the Shoah. So if you have to have Second Generation literature, it should be good and not narcissistic.

But why is Paul Zakrzewski criticizing Ruth Franklin in The Jewish Week? Presumably because PZ is promoting young Jewish artists ("Jewish Culture") as the savior of American Judaism & the key to rescuing its young and disaffected from the assimilationist void. Much of this literature & culture is about Holocaustism, but if you argue against Holocaustish Jewish literature, then you lose your opportunity to engage the (largely) Jewishly ignorant young educated Jewish masses.

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