Best Of The Web
“Four decades after Art Spiegelman began publishing a comic-strip serial about the Holocaust, later released in book form as Maus, the exploration of serious subjects by means of cartoon panels and word balloons no longer has the capacity to surprise. Still, a 350-page graphic novel dealing with Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), the foundational figure of modern political Zionism, is hardly an everyday sight. And yet there it is, not only in its original French—Herzl: une histoire européenne—but now also in a Hebrew edition.
The book is the creation of Camille de Toledo, a French writer claiming paternal descent from Spanish Jews, and the Russian-born illustrator Alexander Pavlenko. Hardly the first comic-book meditation on Jewish history and identity, it joins the work of the French illustrator Joann Sfar and occupies a place on a growing shelf of first-person American Jewish chronicles of unhappy childhoods, first trips to Israel, and the like. But it is the first extended treatment in this form of a major Jewish historical figure, or of the nature of the Zionist project. The pity is that—for reasons worth exploring—it is an egregiously poor one.
De Toledo and Pavlenko recount much of the basic biography of their subject while inventing or imagining a few details, including a visit to a brothel by Herzl in the company of his fellow Viennese Jewish playwright Arthur Schnitzler. Strangely, though, the biography is mostly confined to the last third of the book, in which both Herzl and Zionism are seen through the eyes of a meek Jewish photographer named Ilia Brodsky—an obvious stand-in for de Toledo—whose own story forms the book’s narrative framework.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"THE CAPTURE of the last territory controlled by the Islamic State on Saturday was far from a final victory over the movement, as U.S. commanders and diplomats were careful to emphasize."
"How a Gay Teen, an Internet Nazi, and a Late-Night Rendezvous Turned to Tragedy. When self-loathing meets the new age of online extremism."
"Benjamin Netanyahu ignored the intelligence operations of Beijing and Moscow for too long. Now, the Israeli government is finally paying attention, but it could be too late."
"Former Nick Jr. kids are now reckoning with this all-grown-up intrepid explorer, whose obstacles are a lot bigger than Swiper the Fox. And that is a hard pill to swallow."
"At the end of last week, the three-month Treasury bills' yield rose above the yield for 10-year Treasuries for the first time since 2007, prompting warnings that the U.S. is headed for recession later this year or in early 2020."
"A team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology attempted to answer some questions about voting with the help of artificial intelligence (AI)."
"The experts I spoke with all said that the internet had changed the way conspiracies spread, but conspiracies, both dangerous and petty, have always been with us."
"Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?"
"Trustful parents allow their children as much freedom as reasonably possible to make their own decisions. They trust their children’s instincts, judgments, and ability to learn from mistakes."
"Arugulagate. In 2007, Barack Obama was in Iowa, speaking as a presidential hopeful to a group of farmers who were worried about the stagnation of their crop prices while America’s grocery bills continued to rise."
"To say that information exists in and of itself is akin to speaking of spin without the top, of ripples without water, of a dance without the dancer, or of the Cheshire Cat’s grin without the cat."
"Ted Cruz replaces the Democrats’ muddled manifesto with a clear and unequivocal exploration of the hatred of Jews and its particular evils."