Having reached the point where any development from Burning Man provokes a media storm (we’re just a few years away from “Larry Harvey sneezes, stock market slides”), I can’t help but wonder: what is the Burning Man shaped hole in the western psyche?
That might not make any sense. I apologize. It’s dark out all the time now, which adds a lazy, self-indulgent, streak to my writing. Like this paragraph. Completely unnecessary. Yet here we are. I know better. Ah well. What’re ya gonna do? To fix this I’d have to edit the first paragraph, and who has that kind of energy?
Let me explain, in a drawn-out, round-about, kind of way, what I’m asking. Those of you who aren’t charmed by unnecessary digressions might want to skip to this article about sex in the U.S. Senate. Salaciously speaking, that’s the high point of this post. I’m not going to mention fellating a U.S. Senator again.
In his magisterial new book “Anti-Judiasm,” historian David Nirenberg traces … not exactly the “history” of anti-Semitism, but the various shapes it has taken over the last 3,000 years. What he demonstrates is not just that a lot of people have hated Jews for a lot of stupid reasons, but that the justification for the hatred has often taken the shape of whatever was supposed to be wrong with Western culture at the time. (more…)