Matthew Yglesias just arrived and he’s already left, full of satisfaction with himself for having come to learn, and smug in his conviction that he didn’t need to learn all that much because he already knew lots of it. He was hosted by Didi Remez, whom long-time readers of this blog may recognize as an ideologically driven member of our far Left who isn’t very convincing unless you agree with him. I’m recording Matthew’s arrogance of lecturing to the Israelis who just can’t see things as he and Didi see them, and his total lack of curiosity: if people don’t see things his way they’re wrong, and he has no reason to wonder why they might see things otherwise.
Before I sign off following him, however, here’s a tidbit that rather sums it up:
Since I’ve got Israel on the brain, it strikes me in this regard that it’s perhaps unfortunate that the early Zionist leaders decided to revive Hebrew rather than use the Jewish state to ensure the continued existence of Yiddish and Ladino. The successful revival is enormously impressive as a pure example of clear ideological vision but that’s a lot of lost literature and such.
Umm, Matthew: Yiddish literature didn’t really start until the 2nd half of the 19th century, and Ladino, so far as I know, never created much literature at all. This means that modern Hebrew literature was born at roughly the exact same moment in time as Yiddish literature; not to mention everything else that was ever created in Hebrew, all along.
Matthew, incurious as he is, won’t be interested, but if any of you are, there’s a fine readable story of Yiddish literature in Aaron Lansky’s Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books
These guys must spend all their time trying to poke holes in the legitimacy in the cultural state of Israel. Too bad they are complete ignoramuses. They all allude the some kind of glamorous “what if?” with Jews in Germany. It is not worth debating them or talking with them.