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On Marriage

On Marriage

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But my case studies are predominantly American because Jews did really go for it there, culturally, in the post-war period – in a way that they never have here. Feelings - especially 'negative' feelings; feelings as framed by modernity/history, technology, literature, art, film and psychoanalysis. This is not so much a cop-out as a recognition of the fact that marriage, for all its legal and social connotations, remains the ultimate subjective experience.

So as they saw it, their choice was between condemning him for being bad, or showing a liberal understanding of why he turned out so bad. And I will certainly say that this is perhaps one of the reasons why, for all its faults, I think a kind of openness, fluency, and willingness to describe things is necessary.Because marriage doesn't always bring out the best in us, it makes us wonder what the best in us might be. For better or worse, for richer for poorer, till death us do part – we’ve always done it and we’re still doing it.

AH: It’s so funny, because what you just said, I was thinking about my generation, and it seems to be quite the opposite, they see all these stand-up comedians – Bill Burr, Louis C.

And I feel this is the case with all feelings – that they need to be admitted, even if only to yourself. It was left to me, therefore, to point out that Shakespeare’s Jew was an anti-Semitic stereotype and that Shylock was in fact not an accurate depiction of how I generally acted, nor how my family acted and nor how my ancestors acted, even when faced with persecution and prejudice.

I think it implies that people feel there’s a danger in humourlessness, which shows just how much savagery there can be in humour.But the way I’m understanding the term ‘Jewish’ there is that it’s a kind of experience of being both inside and outside – at the same time. I consider all feelings to have a potentially blocking, and a potentially motivating, or moving, impulse inside them. They feel nobody sees the brilliance that goes into creating comedy, and how deep and wise what they’re saying is in comic form. The low level or unconscious prejudices are the most common I’ve encountered, and the most interesting. But the way I’m diagnosing resentment is as a more or less unavoidable aspect of globalisation and its discontents.

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