So I close this long reflection on what I hope is a not-too-quaveringly semi-Semitic note. When I am at home, I will only enter a synagogue for the bar or bat mitzvah of a friend's child, or in order to have a debate with the faithful. (When I was to be wed, I chose a rabbi named Robert Goldburg, an Einsteinian and a Shakespearean and a Spinozist, who had married Arthur Miller to Marilyn Monroe and had a copy of Marilyn’s conversion certificate. He conducted the ceremony in Victor and Annie Navasky's front room, with David Rieff and Steve Wasserman as my best of men.) I wanted to do something to acknowledge and to knit up, the broken continuity between me and my German-Polish forebears. When I am traveling, I will stop at the shul if it is in a country where Jews are under threat, or dying out, or were once persecuted. This has taken me down queer and sad little side streets in Morocco and Tunisia and Eritrea and India and in Damascus and Budapest and Prague and Istanbul, more than once to temples that have recently been desecrated by the new breed of racist Islamic gangster. (I have also had quite serious discussions, with Iraqi Kurdish friends, about the possibility of Jews genuinely returning in friendship to the places in northern Iraq from which they were once expelled.) I hate the idea that the dispossession of one people should be held hostage to the victimhood of another, as it is in the Middle East and as it was in Eastern Europe. But I find myself somehow assuming that Jewishness and 'normality' are in some profound way noncompatible. The most gracious thing said to me when I discovered my family secret was by Martin, who after a long evening of ironic reflection said quite simply: .' I choose to think that this proved, once again, his appreciation for the nuances of risk, uncertainty, ambivalence and ambiguity. These happen to be the very things that 'security' and 'normality,' rather like the fantasy of salvation, cannot purchase.
Christopher Hitchens
POCKET-SIZED FEMINISMThe only other girl at the party is ranting about feminism. The audience:a sea of rape jokes and snapbacksand styrofoam cups and me. They gawkat her mouth like it is a drain clogged with too many opinions.I shoot her an empathetic glance and say nothing. This house is for wallpaper women. What good is wallpaper that speaks? I want to stand up, but if I do, whose coffee table silencewill these boys rest their feet on? I want to stand up, but if I do, what if someone takes my spot? I want to stand up, but if I do, what if everyone notices I’ve been sitting this whole time? I am guilty of keeping my feminism in my pocket until it is convenient not to, like at poetry slams or my women’s studies class. There are days I want people to like me more than I want to change the world. There are days I forget we had to inventnail polish to change color in druggeddrinks and apps to virtually walk us homeat night and mace disguised as lipstick. Once, I told a boy I was powerfuland he told me to mind my own business.Once, a boy accused me of practicing misandry. You think you can take over the world? And I said No, I just want to see it. I just need to know it is there for someone. Once, my dad informed me sexism is dead and reminded me to always carry pepper spray in the same breath. We accept this state of constant fear as just another part of being a girl. We text each other when we get home safe and it does not occur to us that our guy friends do not have to do the same.You could saw a woman in halfand it would be called a magic trick. That’s why you invited us here, isn’t it? Because there is no showwithout a beautiful assistant? We are surrounded by boys who hang upour naked posters and fantasize about choking us and watch movies we get murdered in. We are the daughters of men who warned us about the news and the missing girls on the milk carton and the sharp edge of the world. They begged us to be careful. To be safe.Then told our brothers to go out and play.
Blythe Baird