BOOKS Adam Gopnik: Revisiting the Dreyfus affair. The Dreyfus affair never goes away. It shows that hatred and bigotry are not a vestige of the superstitious past but a living fire…
Gopnick reviews and praises the new book by novelist and lawyer Louis Begley, “Why the Dreyfus Affair Matters.”
He calls it, "Brave because Begley wants to use the occasion not for French-bashing, or for reciting the enduring history of European anti-Semitism, bleak as it is, but as a pointed warning and reminder of how fragile the standards of civilized conduct prove in moments of national panic. The Dreyfus affair matters, he believes, because we have, in the past decade, made our own Devil’s Island and hundreds of new Dreyfuses—the Dreyfus affair matters because we’re still in the middle of it."
ART Peter Schjeldahl: Kandinsky at the Guggenheim. We thought if Wassily Kandinsky was Jewish we'd have four Jewish themed stories in a row, impressive even for the New Yorker. But it turns out that he was not a Jew but a Theosophist and maybe a bit of an antiSemite.
TELEVISION Nancy Franklin: HBO’s new comedy about a writer turned private eye. We enjoyed the first show because the main characters were vivid confused Jewish guy types from Brooklyn, where the series was shot.
THE THEATER Hilton Als: Daniel Goldfarb on a postwar revenge plot. The review of "The Retributionists" points out that this show would have had a greater impact if not for the more dramatic release of Tarantino's film, "Inglorious Basterds" with a strikingly similar Jewish revenge on Nazis theme. Als likes Goldfarb, but not this play.