Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Nothing is Illuminated? Really?

I just read a piece called "Nothing is Illuminated" by Hal Niedzviecki, who I have never heard of. It's shockingly insensitive, and downright ignorant on most counts. I posted a response, and have copied it below:

Are you attempting to coin a new term with "Holocaust Style"? If so it feels more than a bit ignorant. For at least the past decade, in the literary world and beyond, what you are referring to has already been labeled and defined as Post-Holocaust Literature. You may consider reading up on the genre as a whole, including the fairly large body of scholarly work that has been done on it. The narratives of Second Generation (children of survivors) writers, like Thane Rosenbaum and David Grossman among others, have also garnered the attention of scholars working in psychoanalytic criticism and trauma theory. Attempting to call it "Holocaust Style" trivializes the content and suggest that there's some sort of mimicry or bizarre obsession involved with the construction of these texts. What your comments seem to ignore is the fact that, like it or not, the Holocaust happened, and it now colors everything we say and do, particularly for those in the Jewish world -- it's a legacy of loss and destruction that we're stuck with, and to suggest that we should cease speaking/writing about it is like a slap in the face to those who died in it, lived through it, or have family members who experienced it. But considering that you are fed up with actual images and stories from the camps, I would think you would be able to appreciate the Post-Holocaust narratives of people like Rosenbaum and others who show us the after-effects of the Holocaust without relying on standard images of corpses and gas chambers.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Fair Warning and Fair Weather

I just flew into LA last night and realized something frightening: I have acclimated to life in the midwest. You know that you are no longer a southern Californian when you are sitting in traffic on the 405 freeway at 8:45pm and you can't figure out what the problem is. I kept asking myself, "What is all this traffic? Is there an accident?" Of course, after an hour or so I remembered that rush hour traffic is pretty much from 3:30-9:00pm in Los Angeles. I also realized that I was no longer a southern California girl as I praised the beautiful, 55 degree night time weather during dinner with my friend, who was shivering uncontrollably because of the "cold."

At any rate, I'll be here for a few weeks, trying to re-acclimate myself to so Cal life. So here's fair warning: don't expect many blog posts for a while!