June 13, 2012

"Do the Jews own anxiety?"

From the NYT: "Do the Jews Own Anxiety?" by Daniel Smith.
And yet who could dispute the fact that, when it comes to unabashed, even triumphalist declarations of collective neurosis, the Jews have had the market locked down for a long time — so much so, in fact, that they are the only ethnic group I know of that members of other ethnic groups will unabashedly declare to be suffering from collective neurosis. The relationship between the Jews and nervousness is by now so widely accepted that it barely registers. The Chosen People, at least in the American consciousness, are the very image of of anxiety.

But there is a fundamental problem here: it isn’t true. That anxiety all-star team, were it actually to be assembled, would contain at least a couple of Jews — Moses at third, say, and Franz Kafka in right — but plenty of gentiles would make the cut, too. As the self-appointed general manager I’d offer contracts to Charles Darwin, who suffered from debilitating insomnia and panic attacks; to Emily Dickinson, who “lived on Dread” and almost never left the house; to William James, who spent a decade paralyzed by uncertainty, and his sister Alice, a nervous invalid (I’d put them at second and shortstop, respectively, so they could talk to each other); and on the mound, Soren Kierkegaard, who made anxiety not only a way of life but also a central philosophical concept, declaring (with suspicious exaggeration), “The greater the anxiety the greater the man.” 
In short, the Jews don’t own anxiety and never have. So why do so many people think otherwise? 
The answer to this question, I think, is that we, the Jews, have encouraged the world to think of us as anxious. We’ve done this by propagating the figure of the Neurotic Jew — our hysterical clown. 
When you think about the personification of anxiety — think quickly, without reflection — whom do you think of? If you are anything like me, what jumps first to mind are the great fretful Jews of American fiction and film: the harmless Tevye, portly shtetl hero of “Fiddler on the Roof,” foreshadowing decades of New World pathology to come with his Talmudic indecision (“On the other hand … on the other hand … on the other hand”); Philip Roth’s Alexander Portnoy, the son of doting Newark Jews, raging to his analyst about his inability to reconcile his id and his superego, begging for help (“… it hoits, you know, there is pain involved, a little human suffering is being felt …”); the Coen brothers’ Barton Fink, a nebbish idealist with a paralyzed will, nightmarishly unnerved by the conflict between his artistic ambitions and the vulgarity of Hollywood; and of course, above all, Woody Allen, in almost any of the 40-plus movies he has appeared in.

"Woody Allen" is a highly successful character invented by Allen Konigsberg, who was captain of his high school basketball team. He was making $1,500 per week in 1954 as a TV writer while still a teenager. (Woody Allen the character is to Woody Allen the entrepreneurial entertainer as Mark Zuckerberg the character in "The Social Network" is to the Mark Zuckerberg the billionaire.)

That Woody Allen churns out a movie per year, good, bad, or indifferent, suggests that his art might benefit from less self-confidence and more nervousness. 

Actually, what distinguishes Ashkenazi angst from that of the Germans and Nordics (we English-speakers have the word "angst" from Danish theologian Soren Kierkegaard) is not greater anxiety, but greater extraversion, energy, humor, and self-confidence. As Smith implies, Woody Allen and Philip Roth don't churn out a movie or novel per year by being paralyzed by neurosis. Bernie Madoff worried less than was appropriate for his situation. 

Instead, acting out feelings of angst in a comically exaggerated fashion is, I would guess, a shtick that Yiddish-speaking or German-speaking Jews picked up from Germans and made funny. Nervousness made Germans better organized, richer, and more powerful than the more lackadaisical Slavs, so Ashkenazis imitated Germans rather than Slavs in this, as in so much else. 

Borat captures how Ashkenazis traditionally viewed Slavs as happy-go-lucky goyishe kops, but the real Slavic problem is excessive inclination toward philosophizing rather than planning. When I was staying in the Russian countryside in 2001, I ran into a situation where I desperately needed to make a call home to my wife. All the locals helpfully suggested courses of action, but each time Plan A failed, they had no interest in generating a Plan B. They saw the failure of Plan A instead as a welcome opportunity to philosophize warmly with me about the inevitable frustrations of life in this vale of tears. Finally, a visiting Dutchman came up with a Plan B that worked. 

In contrast, Sephardic Jews and Oriental Jews in Israel and America are not known for being big worriers. Persian Jews in Los Angeles, for example, don't seem to worry much about Iran getting the Bomb. They're more into planning their next family reunion in Tehran. 

I don't know how far back German worry-wartism goes, but I wouldn't be surprised if Prussians cultivated anxiety as a motivational tool in response to disorganized Germany being kicked around by the rest of Europe during the Thirty Years War. 

In general, the enormous impact of German culture on Ashkenazis is being forgotten, but it's hard to make sense of, say, Freud, Einstein, and Marx except as Herr Professors-types from a German cultural background. 

A stereotype in mid-20th Century American movies was the unworldly professor with the thick German accent, such as the chimpanzee researcher who assists Ronald Reagan in Bedtime for Bonzo: Gentile or Jewish? I couldn't tell. But definitely a product of the German world's famous universities. The last such character I can recall in an American movie is the German-accented UCLA professor of meteorology whom Howard Hughes hires in Scorsese's The Aviator to help him get his WWI airplane movie finished and becomes Hughes' scientific advisor.

In the 21st Century, there's a growing tendency to rewrite Jewish history solipsistically, with no outside contributions except persecution. It's all the Golem of Prague and the like. The problem with this is that Ashkenazi culture was self-constricted and claustrophobic until Moses Mendelssohn and a few friends noticed in the later 1700s that the Germans weren't as poor and backwards anymore as Jews traditionally assumed, and thus launched Reform Judaism and the Jewish Enlightenment in imitation of the Enlightenment.

125 comments:

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Anxiety is complicated. It takes some intelligence to describe well.

I tentatively agree with your "imitation German" theory.

DaveinHackensack said...

Ironic that that appeared in the NY Times, since that paper publishes pieces like this travelogue that perpetuate the stereotype:

"No, it was the clientele: big men with vigorous, voluminous hair, a penchant for untucked dress shirts, done-up women at their sides and a kind of frat-boy bluster that terrifies a balding, neurotic little Brooklynite like me."

Anonymous said...

In the 21st Century, there's a growing tendency to rewrite Jewish history solipsistically, with no outside contributions except persecution.

Only in the 21st century? Have you read the old testament? There is almost no positive reference to non-Jews in the old testament. They are always portrayed as villains prosecuting Jews for no reason. The Talmud is even worst. This stuff definitely goes back further than just 21st Century.

Also, anxiety over collective welfare of the in-group is a sign of hyper ethnocentrism, not some random neurosis.

jeanne said...

“The greater the anxiety the greater the man.”

Maybe it was a Jewish-instigated thing, but I remember that in general WASP anxiety was "in" back in the late 50s and early 60s. Remember all those terribly serious B&W dramas, like the Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Toys in the Attic, Children's Hour, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Fail Safe, On the Waterfront..there were lots more..mostly books and plays made into movies.

Things got so serious there for awhile, that it's no wonder in the 60s youth finally burst out in utter crazy abandon. Who could be so serious and yes anxious for that long?

Dennis Dale said...

Have you been reading German Genius?

Sid said...

"I don't know how far back German worry-wartism goes, but I wouldn't be surprised if Prussians cultivated anxiety as a motivational tool in response to disorganized Germany being kicked around by the rest of Europe during the Thirty Years War."

The grim, unhappy Teutonic seems to go as far back as the Dark Ages. Martin Luther was horribly, horribly neurotic. Although I don't know of too many personal portraits of Germanic figures before Luther, the Germanic myths and legends (ranging from Beowulf, to the Nibelungenlied, to the Eddas) have a pervasively grim, fatalistic mood, with maybe some cheerful moments in the mythos. (The Iliad and Aeneid are also bleak and harrowing, but Germanic myths take it up to eleven.)

I can't remember how the Greeks and Romans saw the Germans, except that they were valorous, masculine, honorable and utterly, utterly stupid Philistines. Can anyone who has read Tactitus' Germania lately tell me if he regarded them as being lighthearted and mirthful, or morose and dour?

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailor:"In general, the enormous impact of German culture on Ashkenazis is being forgotten, but it's hard to make sense of, say, Freud, Einstein, and Marx except as Herr Professors-types from a German cultural background."

I mentioned this in a response to the MEL GIBSON AND LARS VON TRIER piece, but it bears repeating. Germanists and scholars of German Jewry have long commented on the cultural fusion that occurred between Jews and Christians in Germany. The favored term for this process differs (German-Jewish synthesis, German-Jewish symbiosis, etc), but the cultural reality of the process has seldom been questioned.

Syon

Anonymous said...

My inner Jew is a caricature? This you tell me? Now? After he kept me up all these nights?

Gilbert P.

Prof. Woland said...

Russians and Germans have something in common; they are both hyper clean to the point of seeming germ phobic (not German phobic). I am not sure which group is worse. By American standards they both seem neurotic and obsessive. They generally live in small clean fussy apartments which are fastidiously scrubbed and boiled. My wife (Russian) frequently refers to me as the Vanushka Americanski, or stinky American which is a common stereotype of us. Getting me to take my shoes off in the house was like house breaking a dog. We probably wash our hands 15 – 20 times a day minimum and I never sleep now without taking a shower. For me it is just the price of marriage. Where the Germans got it I am not so sure but the Soviets did not have very good diet and sanitary conditions outside the home so the stressed personal hygiene. Antibiotics were always a last resort and because they had a command medical system epidemiology was king.

Maya said...

In my humble opinion that is completely based on anecdotal evidence, the prize for anxiety and neuroticism goes to the East Asians. I've gathered this information by observing them prepare for tests/do homework/react to the tests immediately after, prepare for dates/obsessing over dates that just took place and negotiating a new work place. Also, this trait seems to be either cultural or recessive because none of the half Asian people I know act this way nor do they beat themselves up all the time. Even the half Korean-half Japanese, American born guy I know is motivated in a laid back sort of way rather than filled with nervous energy.

Oh, and an honorable mention also goes to the on point gay black men. To be honest, I only have 3 independent data points for this one. But all 3 extremely friendly, extremely eager to do a good job and filled with anxiety that they might not measure up in some way. Their class notes were always meticulous, they could answer any question you might have about filing taxes in a particular state in January, because they were so afraid of messing up they did extensive research on all that stuff, and they learned the ins and outs of our minimum wage office/restaurant work as if their lives depended on it. The two that I worked with got promoted within a year, and deservedly so. All three are currently completing advanced professional degrees between their regularly scheduled nervous meltdowns.

Anonymous said...

Off topic - I saw "Through the Wormhole" and the subject covered race and IQ. The episode featured John Hawks and Linda Gottfredson.

I would be interested in hearing Steve Sailer's opinion on this.

The episode re-airs on the science channel tonight, otherwise, here is a youtube link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdti5Rr8rhs

Anonymous said...

Jewish paranoia: anxiety.

White anxiety: paranoia.

Anonymous said...

Ever notice... 50% of all liberal news about moral issues now seem to be about gays?

Anonymous said...

Occam's circumcision razor:

Jews own anxiety cuz they own the media and show so much of themselves.

Jews also own righteousness, suffering(at least among caucasians), humor, genius, decency, etc.

But Italians own pizzazz.

Jason said...

An interesting essay. It made me think of something I read a few years ago, in which it was pointed out that more - not many more, mind you, but more - Russian Jews were actually emmigrating to Germany rather than Israel (I wonder if this is still the case). Actually, Paul Johnson does a good job of showing the Jewish affinity for things German in his history of the Jews, for those who are interested. Indeed, if it weren't for a certain Austrian corporal, the German-Jewish synthesis would just be taken for granted (Just one fact, for instance: Many Jewish soldiers fought very bravely for Austria/Hungary and Germany during the firat world war; indeed many Jews supported the Germans over the Allies during that conflict).

Anonymous said...

I´ve met plenty of Jewish hypochondriacs. They definitely seem to have more anxiety and paranoia than the average goy. It may have to do with German influence, but I think higher IQ plays a role.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Your last couple of posts on the influence of German culture on the West, Jews, and anxiety brought to mind several books I read some time ago which have themes that relate to these issues.

"Nietzsche and Jewish Culture" edited by Jacob Golomb is a book that contains a number of essays by different Jewish scholars on the relationship of Nietzche to Judaism. It was written some years ago and published in Israel I believe.

As I recall, one of the essays discusses the fact that many early Zionist pioneers who helped found the country were admirers of Nietzche's concept of the Ubermensch and spoke and wrote openly about this admiration.

Given Nietzche's "six degrees of seperation" (okay so its only three ..ur.. two?) ties to Hitler, etc.. I found this quite surprising at first, but then not so much after reflection.

Nietzche's ideas of self-overcoming lend themselves to the foundation of a new state and a new man, so it is easy to see how some early Zionist pioneers would be admirers of Nietzche.

I also recall reading the writings of Theodore Herzl himself, the founder and principle architect of Zionism, who in his own writings from the late 1890s discussed the various short comings of his own Jewish people (clannishness, narcissism, selfishness, egotism, low morality, etc...) He argued that these "ghetto traits" were due to the Jewish people's general isolation from the West until their emancipation around 1800 and were the very reason that the Jews needed their own state. He did not think his fellow Jews would be able to “evolve” fast enough without their own state to avoid conflict with the populations of their host countries. We all know, per WWII, how right he was and how much foresight he had. Interestingly, the Jerusalem Post even not too long ago had an article discussing an Israeli politician telling fellow Israelis in so many words that they had to put aside their "shtetl mentality" of "What's in it for me?" and become more patriotic and civic minded.

Mr. Golomb has written a more recent book called “Nietzche and Zion” connecting Herzl’s thought to his reading of Nietzche (Herzl apparently owned all of Nietzche’s works). You can read a review of the book here: http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/journal_of_nietzsche_studies/v031/31.1robertson.html

Regarding anxiety and the Jews, noted psychologist Phillip Zimbardo wrote a book called "Shyness."

In the book he states that according to several studies Jews have the lowest level of shyness, by a fairly significant degree, of any ethnic group studied.

This did not surprise me (how could it surprise anyone who has come in contact with a rough sample of the Tribe!).

According to Zimbardo, he suspects that is a cultural adaptation learned because of the Jewish cultural reverence and respect given to the concept of "hutzpah" which is pased down through generations by many stories Jews tell to their chidlren.

If you think about it, the Old Testament alone is filled with tons of examples of chutzpah (as well as intense hostility to non Jews as pointed out by Anon at 6:09).

I am not certain how these two ideas connect, but certainly the Jews were influenced by their experience in Germany including Teutonic thinkers such as Nietzsche. But the idea that they are especially anxious doesn't account for the shyness studies (highly neurotic, self-centered, and paranoid perhaps but anxious no).

Luke Lea said...

Freud, Einstein, and Marx? Isn't it time to take Einstein out of that lineup?

Luke Lea said...

Ashkenazis have much to be paranoid about. I think that explains it. If I were a Jew I'd be worried too. Actually I am one. And I am worried.

anony-mouse said...

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

1/ Yes Yiddish comes from Jews who lived in Germany, but the whole of Ashkenazi humor (with the exception of the Marx brothers) comes from the far larger group of Jews of Eastern, not Central Europe. I doubt if any of Woody Allen's ancestors had come in contact with a German in centuries, the name 'Konigsberg' notwithstanding.

As to German Jews, like Freud, Marx, Kissinger, Mahler or Einstein, I don't think I could picture them doing stand up (okay maybe the latter).

2/ The most famous Persian Jew currently is Shaul Mofaz, Israel's deputy PM. I doubt he, or very many other actual Persian Jews outside of Iran are planning any family reunions there, unless 'family reunion' is a code word for something else.

Anonymous said...

Gays are the new Jews.

Gay men and straight Jewish men behave similarly when it comes to anxious (okay, "neurotic") behavior and verbosity ...and a lot like us women.

Steve Sailer said...

Anony-Mouse said:

"I doubt if any of Woody Allen's ancestors had come in contact with a German in centuries"

"His family was Jewish and his grandparents were German immigrants who spoke Yiddish, Hebrew, and German;[8] both of his parents were born and raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.[8] ... Allen spoke German quite a bit during his early years.[11]

Ron Woo said...

"Indeed, if it weren't for a certain Austrian corporal, the German-Jewish synthesis would just be taken for granted "

Very true I think. Were it not for the Nazis, Ashkenazi Jews - as well as everyone - would probably still be inclined to consider them a Teutonic sub-group, as opposed to a thinking of Germans and Ashkenazi Jews as eternally inimical.

Because of the Second World War we forget now that another Austrian veteran of the Great War, Ludwig Wittgenstein, revealed himself in his diaries to be an ardent partisan of the Germanic race. We forget about Walter Rathenau, or about the Germanic sympathies of Goldman Sachs during the First World War.

Steve Sailer said...

"As to German Jews, like Freud, Marx, Kissinger, Mahler or Einstein, I don't think I could picture them doing stand up "

Kissinger is hilarious.

Ed said...

Jews don't own anxiety but they have owned New York (and traditionally the New York mayor's office has gone to ethnic groups about one decade before they left the city). And New York owns anxiety.

Volksverhetzer said...

Why do different peoples have to have the same anxiety?

Being afraid of social ostracism for saying the wrong thing or breaking some social norm, does not need to be the same as being afraid that some out group will come and kill you.

Other groups again can be afraid of death, but as a Norwegian, I know people who have killed themselves, rather than suffer the status loss connected to for instance being caught driving drunk.

agnostic said...

Jews are more paranoid than anxious. It's directed outward -- let me figure out the actors responsible for making me so mentally unstable, and how each interacts with the other, and how these interactions interact with each other, etc.

Aha, that Rube Goldbergian chain of social action is what ultimately drove me crazy!

Germans and Europeans generally aren't that way -- it's directed inward, like the concept of sin.

In that way, Ashkenazi Jews show some of the strongest witchcraft beliefs and practices of any non-primitive group. Some nefarious actors or forces out there are making me nuts, whether they intend it or not, and I need to go harangue them until they cut it out.

Witch-hunts of so-called anti-Semities is just the tip of the iceberg. They even accost their own friends and family members to get them to stop exerting their mind-warping power over them.

Anonymous said...

Dude, you watch superhero movies.

Captain America: created by a kindly German-Jewish scientist (played by Italian Stanley Tucci, who plays a lot of Germans.) Up against evil German superscientists (played by Australian Hugo Weaving and Englishman Toby Jones.)

Thor: Natalie Portman's mentor is the very Scandinavian Stellan Skarsgard, who often plays scientist characters (Wind, Deep Blue Sea, et al.)

Giovanni Ribisi (!) with a blond dye job also plays a nasty but brilliant German engineer in the Flight of the Phoenix remake.

The last Bond movie Quantum of Solace also goes to an opera house in Austria to show a citadel of high culture being used as cover by the villain organization.

So there's still a strong cultural memory of the Germanic world as a locus of high culture and scientific knowledge. And as Sarah Silverman likes to note, even Jews drive German cars: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF81-dHxVwU

Volksverhetzer said...

Also worth mentioning, is that the Germanic language and peoples originated in Scandinavia, so that the present Germans are only part "Germanic", as they are a mix of Scandinavian peoples, and the people that lived there before.

The Scandinavians themselves, seems to be a mix of ingenious hunter-gatherers-fishermen, and somebody who brought agriculture to the high north.

That the Scandinavians are an ingenious people, is very controversial politically, so that very few DNA tests have been done on neolithic skeletons.

Svante Paabo has done two, and the Danes have done one test, but so far none have been done in Norway.

I would also not be surprised if held back some results with the three skeletons he managed to get hold of.

http://dienekes.blogspot.no/2012/04/first-look-at-dna-of-neolithic.html

Anonymous said...

Actually, what distinguishes Ashkenazi angst from that of the Germans and Nordics...

Germans are Nordics.

Anonymous said...

Ashkenazis have much to be paranoid about.

But less than any other group, correct?

Anonymous said...

Many Jewish soldiers fought very bravely for Austria/Hungary and Germany during the firat world war; indeed many Jews supported the Germans over the Allies during that conflict).


Of course, those Jews were German. They were every bit as German as the Protestant Germans and Catholic Germans they served with.

Anonymous said...

Were it not for the Nazis, Ashkenazi Jews - as well as everyone - would probably still be inclined to consider them a Teutonic sub-group, as opposed to a thinking of Germans and Ashkenazi Jews as eternally inimical.

Give it a rest. Zionism was going strong well before the time Adolf Hitler came to power. And let us not overlook the fact that a number of Jewish groups advocated for the Nuremberg laws. Both movements (Zionism, and ethnic separatism) were driven by paranoia over assimilation with the goyim. Key Zionist leader Zabotinsky, although not a Jewish German, made specific reference to intermarriage as a rationale for Zionism.

Anonymous said...

In general, the enormous impact of German culture on Ashkenazis is being forgotten, but it's hard to make sense of, say, Freud, Einstein, and Marx except as Herr Professors-types from a German cultural background.

Steve, so many Jewish Americans are from Poland, Russia, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe that, when you speak of the enormous impact of German culture on Ashkenazis, you must be referring to the impact on Jewish Germans several decades ago. Just because many Jewish Americans have German sounding names doesn't mean they originated in Germany.

Anonymous said...

As I recall, one of the essays discusses the fact that many early Zionist pioneers who helped found the country were admirers of Nietzche's concept of the Ubermensch and spoke and wrote openly about this admiration.


Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel, gave his wife a gift of the collected works of Nietzsche with the note that "This was the best and finest thing I can send to you".

I don't know if the "Overman" concept was what he found appealing - there's much more to Nietzsche than just that.

Anonymous said...

Of course, those Jews were German. They were every bit as German as the Protestant Germans and Catholic Germans they served with.

Is there such a thing as an ethnic German? Can Germans be grouped generally into a racial or genetic group? If your answer is no to both of these questions, how do you define a "German"? Someone who speaks German? Someone who resides in the current (or past?) territorial borders of the nation-state known as Germany?

Are Turkish immigrants to Germany "every bit as German" as, say, Richard Wagner or footballer Sebastian Schweinsteiger?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if the "Overman" concept was what he found appealing - there's much more to Nietzsche than just that.

I wonder if it is fair to say that the Torah and Talmud contain a kind of "Overman" concept.

Anonymous said...

As someone who grew up on the "character" of Woody Allen before seeing his most famous movies, I was pretty shocked by Annie Hall. When I watched it I soon realized this guy wasn't a beta loser; he was a hyperverbal New Yorker who was good with women.


I get what "neurotic" is supposed to mean in the context of Woody Allen but I don't think the stereotype I'd seen was even fair to the Woody Allen of his (early, important) movies. It might have become more true as he got older and shtickier.

Q said...

when you speak of the enormous impact of German culture on Ashkenazis, you must be referring to the impact on Jewish Germans several decades ago. Just because many Jewish Americans have German sounding names doesn't mean they originated in Germany.


By definition, Ashkenazi Jews originated in Germany.


"Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim ... are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north."

Anonymous said...

By definition, Ashkenazi Jews originated in Germany.

"Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim ... are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north."


This is incorrect. "Ashkenazi" as commonly used today also encompasses all Eastern European Jews, many Jewish Frenchmen, many Jewish Dutch, as well as the diaspora from Spain that went up into Europe.

Anonymous said...

Jews often like to joke about their lack masculinity, the stereotype of their lack of masculinity, the truth of that stereotype, etc.


Of course, as many of them find out, that's not an issue for Jews in Israel. So it must not be a product of genetics or thousands of years of cultural tradition.

Anonymous said...

I recall an interview with Allen in which the interviewer asked him if he was actually neurotic. Allen said he knew he wasn't neurotic because he could consistently complete tasks, citing his prolific output of movies.

Anonymous said...

People often talk as if high IQ is entirely beneficial but that doesn't fit my experience at all. It is beneficial of course but the higher it goes it seems the more likely there's some negative side-effect as well.

So a higher percentage of high IQ people equals a higher percentage of people with a little something or other not quite right about them.

Also i think it's partly a way to pick up women by tricking them into mother hen mode.

Anonymous said...

Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim ... are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north."

So all the Jews who lived in the territories of what is now Poland, Ukraine, the Baltics, Russia, Hungary, Romania, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe sprang from "medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine"? I guess so, because all of them consider themselves Ashkenazi.

Were the only Jews in Europe around the medieval time period you refer to clustered in communities along the Rhine? Is so, why only there? If not, what happened to the non-Rhinelanders?

Anonymous said...

This is incorrect. "Ashkenazi" as commonly used today also encompasses all Eastern European Jews, many Jewish Frenchmen, many Jewish Dutch, as well as the diaspora from Spain that went up into Europe.



The operative phrase there being "as it is used today".

The fact remains that "Ashkenaz" was the Medieval Hebrew name for Germany, and that the people we today call "Ashkenazi Jews" are descended from Jews who lived in Germany a thousand years ago. It does not matter whether they live today in Eastern Europe, Eastern America, or Eastern Asia.

Anonymous said...

People often talk as if high IQ is entirely beneficial but that doesn't fit my experience at all. It is beneficial of course but the higher it goes it seems the more likely there's some negative side-effect as well.


That may be true at the extremes of IQ. But in spite of what people around here seem to think, the typical Jew does not possess an unusually high IQ. If they're prone to anxiety or hypochondria, it's not because they're excessively smart.

Anonymous said...

So all the Jews who lived in the territories of what is now Poland, Ukraine, the Baltics, Russia, Hungary, Romania, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe sprang from "medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine"?

Yes. When they moved back to Russia they took their German dialect - Yiddish - with them.

(Note that what is today Poland and the Baltic was German for a very long time)

Were the only Jews in Europe around the medieval time period you refer to clustered in communities along the Rhine?


There were Sephardic Jews in places along the Mediterranean - Spain, Italy, Greece.

Anonymous said...

The operative phrase there being "as it is used today".

It is today that the term is being used.

The fact remains that "Ashkenaz" was the Medieval Hebrew name for Germany, and that the people we today call "Ashkenazi Jews" are descended from Jews who lived in Germany a thousand years ago.

It does not follow from the etymology of "Ashkenazi" that all or even most Jews who consider themselves Ashkenazis are descended from Jewish communities along the Rhine in the year 1100. (What percentage of Jewish Americans or Jewish Israelis even know the etymology of the term?)

It does not matter whether they live today in Eastern Europe, Eastern America, or Eastern Asia.

None of them can trace their ancestry to the Germany Rhineland and yet you are sure that is where they are from.

Vic said...

I think you're way off in this missive.

1) I recommend you read http://www.amazon.com/The-Pity-All-German-Jewish-1743-1933/dp/0312422814 for a good description of 200 year history of German Jews & Germans

2) Ashkenazi who lived in USSR are just as intellectually prolific (like half of Soviet Nobels are Jewish) - they just were about 100-150 years late to the emancipation party, so took them longer to catch up

Anonymous said...

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Ashkenazi

Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim, are Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities of the Rhineland—"Ashkenaz" being the Medieval Hebrew name for Germany. They are distinguished from Sephardic Jews, the other main group of European Jewry, who arrived earlier in Europe and lived primarily in Spain.


Many Ashkenazim later migrated, largely eastward, forming communities in Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere between the tenth and nineteenth centuries. From medieval times until the mid-twentieth century, the lingua franca among Ashkenazi Jews was primarily Yiddish.

Anonymous said...

"Germans are Nordics."

Not all of them. If you are going to use Coon's classifications then a large percentage of Germans also look pretty Alpine to me.

Anonymous said...

I think the use of last names among Jewish Europeans is a relatively recent phenomenon (like maybe within the last 300 years). It is therefore difficult to infer from a German surnames that a particular individual's family came from the Rhineland 1000 years ago.

Anonymous said...

"Germans are Nordics."

Not all of them. If you are going to use Coon's classifications then a large percentage of Germans also look pretty Alpine to me.


So perhaps it is not coherent to think of Germans as a "people"? There are various races of Germans?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about any of this.

The common image Europeans (who know Germans better than Americans do)have of Germans is of coldness to the point of unfeeling ruthlessness and merciless remorselessness - not traits of the sensitive at all. Perhaps this is all colored by the unspeakble Geramn atrocities committed in WW2, but the general idea (and I'm not being gratuitously offensie here), is of a deficit of 'human' qualities and a remorseless, robotic will to power and intolerance, yes Greeks and Italians might fail economically and have to be bailed out as basket-cases, but we recognise human failings in them and thus sympathise with them as 'being like us'. The image that persists of the Geramn is of the square headed, shaven headed Prussian sergeant with a big moustache and spiked helmet barking out orders - and beating those who fail with a big stick - not Schiller or Beethoven at all. The idea is Nietzschaen 'will to power', the machine, efficiency, the ant-hill, science fiction warriors and societies etc - that old Hanna Barbera cartoon of the ants as Roman soldiers (which no one seems to remember).Of course the last war cemented the idea of the ruthless robots and their mad genius god shaking he world and only stopped by hubris.
Strangely enough, the image of Jews as tragic, etrnal victims, violin players and tortured, sensitive professors, persecuted by gentile beasts, is totally at odds with what the world has discovered of murderous, vulgar Russian oligarchs, agressive Isreali gangsters and pimps and neocon/zionist aggression and hatred in general.
Europeans, who have lived amongst other Europeans for centuries are much better understanding of these subtleties than Americans, who generally live by propagandised stereotypes and deliberate falsehoods.

Anonymous said...

http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/books/102054/qa-norman-finkelstein?all=1

Dr Van Nostrand said...

" When I was staying in the Russian countryside in 2001, I ran into a situation where I desperately needed to make a call home to my wife. All the locals helpfully suggested courses of action, but each time Plan A failed, they had no interest in generating a Plan B. They saw the failure of Plan A instead as a welcome opportunity to philosophize warmly with me about the inevitable frustrations of life in this vale of tears. Finally, a visiting Dutchman came up with a Plan B that worked."

Haha! I had pretty much the same experience when I visited St Petersburg in 2005 as a young whipper snapper(as your generation would put it)
I was trying to look for a particular nightclub where foreigners were given free entrance!I asked one passerby and he had no idea and he very kindly stopped another and another until it became a miniature conference on the sidewalk about how NOT to get to the place they had no idea where it was.Hardly any of them spoke English(though many spoke French and German in addition to Russian).

I thanked them for the time and as there was no organized Germanic type to help me out,I took off in a discount taxi driven by a shady looking Uzbek.


OTOH when they DO know where the place they go out their way to help.One Russian manager type who I asked for a location when on the metro ,got off with me and helped me find it by walking about a mile.

But if you are dark skinned(E Indian or darker) or can pass off as a medium toned Central Asian or IRanian(like me), beware
of the Russian police, a Pakistani acquaitance of mine was relieved of 500$ since he didnt carry his passport with him.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

Strangely enough, the image of Jews as tragic, etrnal victims, violin players and tortured, sensitive professors, persecuted by gentile beasts, is totally at odds with what the world has discovered"

Here we go...

of murderous, vulgar Russian oligarchs,"

How many of these Jewish oligarchs are pracitising Jews.Anyway the most vicious "Russian" gangsters are Georgian.When I lived in Dubai there was a thriving prostitution trade in the area and most of the Russian gangsters were cetainly not Jewish,they loathed Jews.



agressive Isreali gangsters"

As opposed to the mild mannered and bookish Italian gangsters that we know and love!


and pimps" and neocon/zionist aggression

Evil, evil Zionists for wanting to keep a land the size of Jersey ,surely no other people EVER acquired land any larger than by force ...right....


and hatred in general."

"In general",yup you convinced me!

Dr Van Nostrand said...

Can anyone who has read Tactitus' Germania lately tell me if he regarded them as being lighthearted and mirthful, or morose and dour?"


Tacitus mentions the Germans consuming copious amounts of beer and meat when they indulging their favorite hobby-war.

Germanic women were the precursors of NFL cheerleaders -standing and cheering on the sidelines when their men were duking it out ,they would flash their goods at their men.

German Women had a high degree of independence,they could have abortions and monogamy was the rule.

From such descriptions ,they seemed to be a rather lighthearted lot.

Anonymous said...

The late, great, English comedian, Freddie Starr, used to perform an hilarious sketch on his highly popular UK TV show ('Freddie Starr's Variety Mad-House' - take over by Russ Abbott, but that's another story), which more or less summed up British attitudes towards the Germans.
Freddie Starr was apt to send up Adolf Hitler as a stock character in his show, by portraying Hitler as a lunatic in wearing a cap and uniform jacket, but clad in swastika themed under-pants on the bottom half.
Anyway, his sketch involved that utimate holy-of-holies, that Freudian climax, if there ever was one, of Hitler 'making love'. Basically it involved Hitler in a bedroom with 'prime Aryan breeding stock'. 'Hitler' barked out mechanical orders to his patner - "You vill take off your clothes!!!!", "You will lie down on ze bed!!!" etc etc - sounds deranged, but was hilarious.

Simon in London said...

Germans do worry too much, yes. They definitely tend towards pessimism. I was with German academics in Malta at a summer school on 9/11 2001, they were totally freaking out, especially when I said "Don't worry, I'm sure a nuclear strike on Kabul has already been ruled out!" - British humour does not go over well.

It's occasionally noted in Britain that our bloody-minded WW2 Blitz Spirit phlegmatism gave us an advantage over the German pessimism, despite their organisational and other advantages.

eah said...

Remember when you were a kid in school? And the teacher would say something like 'There's no such thing as a dumb question'?

Well they were wrong.

Anonymous said...

"Remember when you were a kid in school? And the teacher would say something like 'There's no such thing as a dumb question'?

Well they were wrong."

What a worthless comment.

Anonymous said...

As opposed to the mild mannered and bookish Italian gangsters that we know and love!

And how do we know them?

Largely via the movies.

Do I have to go any further?

fnn said...

The common image Europeans (who know Germans better than Americans do)have of Germans is of coldness to the point of unfeeling ruthlessness and merciless remorselessness - not traits of the sensitive at all.

A minor literary classic that expresses these sentiments at great length is this memoir of an Italian officer serving on the Russian Front:
Few Returned: Twenty-eight Days on the Russian Front, Winter 1942-1943

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:""Actually, what distinguishes Ashkenazi angst from that of the Germans and Nordics...""

Germans are Nordics."

Nordic can also be used to refer to Scandinavians (cf terms like Nordic mythology, languages, etc).In this passage, it is pretty clear that Nordic is being used in the sense of Scandinavian, not as a sub-racial grouping.

Syon

bearspaw said...

You need to make a phone call and you can't come up with your own plan? Maybe you shouldn't be so far from home.

Anonymous said...

The Murder of Tolstoy: A Forensic Investigation

"Every morning I called Aeroflot to ask about my suitcase. “Oh, it’s you,” sighed the clerk. “Yes, I have your request right here. Address: Yasnaya Polyana, Tolstoy’s house. When we find the suitcase we will send it to you. In the meantime, are you familiar with our Russian phrase resignation of the soul?”

David M. said...

Jewish affinity to German culture has several roots. First, migrating Germans and Jews together founded many of the central and eastern Europe's cities during the middle ages. Together they formed the mercantile class in these regions for centuries, until either the region became Germanized (i.e. Austria, Silesia, etc) or the Germans become Slavicized (Poland, parts of Bohemia, etc). Their trading ties actually led both to an affinity and to deep antagonism, which pushed many Jews further east.

In the 19th century, the Jews still remained apart from the rest of society in many ways. Jewish affinity to German culture in this period was not out of some affection for beer fests and Bavarian farmers, but rather the opposite. German was looked upon as the liberal, international language and culture, and the urban language in areas of mixed ethnicity. In fact, the biggest efforts in the 19th century to impose the German language on Slavic and Hungarian speakers was not made by traditional conservatives, but by the liberals, who looked at German identity as a means of overcoming cultural differences and building an efficient, modern society. For instance, early attempts at creating a German union in the 19th century included Czech speaking parts of Bohemia and Moravia.

So the Jewish attraction to German culture was not really the culture itself, but its 19th century liberal manifestation, which held the promise of fully incorporating Jews into society, and reducing the amount of ethnic and cultural particularism and identity. It was sort of the precursor to today's global identity.

Laura said...

The idea that Germans are anxious doesn't ring true to me at all. I'm living in Germany at the moment, and if I had to describe the German outlook in one word, it would be "disdainful". They like to feel that they are correct and in control of themselves and have every last i dotted and t crossed, whereas you, of course, are an idiot and a mess. As everyone feels this way, you see a lot of strangers snapping at one another that you would never see in the US. (E.g., you're at the grocery store check out, trying to put your empty basket on the pile at the end of the counter, but the person behind you in line is in the way. In the US you would say, "Excuse me, do you mind, could I just slip this through here... Thanks!", whereas in Germany you would sigh heavily and say, "How can I put my basket back if you are standing there?", and then the other person icily replies, "If you had emptied your basket faster, you could have put it back before the line advanced, as you were supposed to." Then you would glare at each other.)

People do go around with a feeling of tension, because it is so important to them to feel correct, and yet they know someone is liable to call them an idiot at any time. But it's more of a defensive kind of tension than an anxious tension, and a "the best defense is a good offense" kind of defensiveness at that.

Bruce Banner said...

If I were to describe Germans, I would say they are less neurotic than Southern Europeans (and that includes Frenchmen, with Spaniards as the most neurotic (a study linked at Dienekes´blog seems to prove this), but they rank relatively higher on the psychotic scale.
The German brand of "crazyness" is mostly of the obsessive–compulsive disorder type.
Add to that a very high IQ (the highest in Europe), and you have the complex German character. Cold on the outside, yet ready at any time to burst in laughter or tears; capable of the utmost violence at the slightest provocation, although deep-down very sentimental, of the maudlin variety. Such is the German.
They keep their balance through sheer will-power and intelligence.
Nothing comes naturally to them. Yet they are the most capable people on earth.

Svigor said...

Interesting essay. I think "aggressive" fits Jews far better than "neurotic." But, their aggression does seem to be tied up with fear and ethnocentrism (someone here recently posted a study linking the latter two).

A heightened "fight or flight" response?

Kylie said...

"A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."

Indeed.

"As to German Jews, like Freud, Marx, Kissinger, Mahler or Einstein, I don't think I could picture them doing stand up (okay maybe the latter)."

Mahler was not a German Jew. He was of Bohemian ancestry, born in a village in what was then the Austrian Empire, now the Czech Republic.

As he famously described himself, "I am thrice homeless, as a native of Bohemia in Austria, as an Austrian among Germans, and as a Jew throughout the world. Everywhere an intruder, never welcomed."

Actually, I can imagine Mahler doing stand-up since as a successful conductor, he must have been comfortable in front of audiences. No doubt he would have used his time in front of the mic to lecture the audience on the superiority of his music to that of all his contemporaries. Instructive though hardly hilarious, he might well have had them in the aisles, leaving not laughing.

Svigor said...

How many of these Jewish oligarchs are pracitising Jews.

No True Scotsman...

When I lived in Dubai there was a thriving prostitution trade in the area and most of the Russian gangsters were cetainly not Jewish,they loathed Jews.

Israel has a substantial "human trafficking problem." It ain't Georgians.

SFG said...

Of course, those Jews were German. They were every bit as German as the Protestant Germans and Catholic Germans they served with.

Is there such a thing as an ethnic German? Can Germans be grouped generally into a racial or genetic group? If your answer is no to both of these questions, how do you define a "German"? Someone who speaks German? Someone who resides in the current (or past?) territorial borders of the nation-state known as Germany?

Are Turkish immigrants to Germany "every bit as German" as, say, Richard Wagner or footballer Sebastian Schweinsteiger?


I don't know what their haplotype was, but they fought for the Fatherland, and a heck of a lot of good it did it their kids in 15 years. Hindenburg actually tried to exclude the children of war veterans from the Nuremberg laws, but he had one foot in the grave by that point.

The USA isn't Germany, but I understand why people are so paranoid.

Anonymous said...

True or not about Jews being worry-worts, being anxious by nature or by nurture, they should be anxious about Obama. I think it's pretty clear that like most blacks, he harbors animus towards them, but yeah, he'll smile in their face and flash his pearly whites, then take their money.

Guys like Speilberg and the other HW brownnosers are clueless (What? A smart black guy who's indebted to us actually feeling contempt for us? Impossible.)

Dennis Dale said...

...coldness to the point of unfeeling ruthlessness and merciless remorselessness...

An apt description of your treatment of the English language.
Someone take his keyboard away before he kills again.

Anonymous said...

I am the anon at 7:51 who mentioned the book discussing the possible connection between Nietzche and Zionism and Zimbardo book on shyness which briefly discusses the low score of Jews on psychological tests for this trait.

A lot of interesting comments on so many different issues.

“Dr Van Nostrand said...

and pimps" and neocon/zionist aggression

Evil, evil Zionists for wanting to keep a land the size of Jersey ,surely no other people EVER acquired land any larger than by force ...right.... .”


Yes, I once pointed out something like this to a Chinese American colleague who was highly sympathetic to the Palestinians and Arabs and not so much to Jews in Israel.

I suggested that the original land taken by the Israelis after WWII was not that large (particularly if you do not believe that most Israelies have designs for a greater Israel stretching to the Euphrates or “world domination” as some outliers claim).

I guess my attitude, probably shared by many other White Gentiles in the U.S., was it’s a fairly small amount of land with apparently no oil, why can’t they (i.e. the Israelis and Arabs) just learn to get along without having to draw the U.S. into it and spend trillions of dollars and sacrifice thousands of lives of our citizens (of course the Neo-cons have seen to it that we were dragged into Iraq, Afghanistan,, Libya and now on to Syria and Iran).

His attitude was that it was “principle” of the thing. That even if it might seem like a small piece of land in the grand scheme of things the Palestinians would never forget nor would their Arab cousins (nor should they).

Yes, I suppose this is true, but one wonders if some workable two state solutions could be devised. Sigh … it’s a mess. It would seem that there would be a lot of potential synergies if the two groups could cooperate rather than be in conflict, but perhaps that is asking too much of human nature.

The older I get the more I find solace in Schopenhauer's remark that if you have low opinions of human nature you are more inclined to feel pity than anger when you see humans behaving badly.


“fnn said...
A minor literary classic that expresses these sentiments at great length is this memoir of an Italian officer serving on the Russian Front:
Few Returned: Twenty-eight Days on the Russian Front, Winter 1942-1943


Thanks for the tip. It looks interesting. I noticed that the Amazon reviewers remark about the propensity of German and Russian soldiers to shoot wounded enemy combatants they find.. I have a bunch of uncles who fought in WWII in the U.S. army. One of them relayed a story about killing Germans who were attempting to surrender ( his own platoon was lost behind enemy lines). He was still haunted by it. Under extreme conditions people do terrible things out of what may possibly even seem like necessity at the time. I am not sure that the Germans and Russians are that much different than any other group in this regard.

cmcoct said...

Speaking of the German professor Fitz in "The Aviator", the best scene is when Hughes has to get the Hollywood Production Code Administration to approve the release of his movie, "The Outlaw". Hughes has Professor Fitz measure the posterized busts of various starlets to show that shots with Jane Russell are not unduly revealing. Something about a guy in a funny accent using calipers to compare photos of big breasted women ("Chentleemen, eef you'll look here . . .")

Anonymous said...

"Germans are Nordics."


Not all of them. If you are going to use Coon's classifications then a large percentage of Germans also look pretty Alpine to me.


Then let's not use Coon's classifications.

JWalker said...

My understanding is that the reason Woody puts out a movie a year is that his business philosophy is to keep his movies cheap so none of them are financial disasters and he can stay in business. Time = money, particularly in the movie business. His determination to stay cheap means he doesn't spend much time on any one movie and can easily move on to the next.

This strategy could easily be viewed as that of a man who lacks confidence. He doesn't have the guts to try to make a masterpiece, because that would require making a bigger bet on himself.

Q said...

It does not follow from the etymology of "Ashkenazi" that all or even most Jews who consider themselves Ashkenazis are descended from Jewish communities along the Rhine in the year 1100.


It does in fact follow from that. Unless you think that Jews just spontaneously popped into existence at random spots throughout the world.


What percentage of Jewish Americans or Jewish Israelis even know the etymology of the term?


I thought Jews were supposed to be intelligent? Your question makes no sense whatsoever. Reality does not change based on what a certain percentage of Jews are aware of. If 100% of Jews "know" something which is wrong, that thing is still wrong. If zero percent of Jews know something which is true, that thing is still true.

Anonymous said...

Pacquiao robbed for opposing 'gay marriage'?

http://youtu.be/9FqBHcASV8o

http://youtu.be/WgelIi-3mB4

http://youtu.be/gpteWugz4uA

Anonymous said...

Imagine if Will Kane had been Willy Kahan in HIGH NOON.
Consider the Jewish-Mexican played by Wallach in G,B,& U. Tucowitz was very showy/funny with his anxiety.

ATBOTL said...

"How many of these Jewish oligarchs are pracitising Jews."

Endlessly spewing out smokescreens to cover their tracks...

Anonymous said...

http://youtu.be/XESDRP82png

Ray Bradbury - Story of a Writer

Beecher Asbury said...

Steve,

This is OT but it might interest you. Earlier you did a post on Sheldon Adelson donating to Newt.

Now he is giving to $10 million to Romney's super PAC.

SFG said...

"My understanding is that the reason Woody puts out a movie a year is that his business philosophy is to keep his movies cheap so none of them are financial disasters and he can stay in business. Time = money, particularly in the movie business. His determination to stay cheap means he doesn't spend much time on any one movie and can easily move on to the next.

This strategy could easily be viewed as that of a man who lacks confidence. He doesn't have the guts to try to make a masterpiece, because that would require making a bigger bet on himself."

Or, perhaps, just a smart businessman with a reasonable grasp of risk? Not everybody wants to be a Wagnerian (bad choice, I know) towering genius. Making lots of pretty good films that capture a certain milieu and sensibility seems OK to me.

I'm partial to Woody because I'm from NYC, haven't been back in 6 years, and his films remind me of home. The neurotic psychoanalysis stuff I could do without.

Prof. Woland said...

German POWs were notorious for how pliant they were. They were fearsome soldiers but meek prisoners. Meek to the point that many could be trusted to do paid farm and factory jobs in the US! The more elite the troops the more true this was. The British made the same observation. The Soviets simply referred to captured German prisoners as "tongues", the implication being that if they did not sing they would start getting pieces chopped off. They usually sang. The only thing that saved the German POWs captured by the Russians was that the Ruskies were constantly trying to convert them to Communism realizing they would have some value after the war that they knew they would always win. Also, your odds of surviving a Russian Gulag was directly related to your rank. The Brass did fairly well. Italian POWs lacked the same discipline and unit cohesion. In the US They were never allowed out of their pens because they would not come back and in Russian they would even go so far as to resort to cannibalism of their fellow countrymen, something that was unthinkable to the Germans. Mama Mia!

Grumpy Old Man said...

This has got me worried. Well, never mind. I'm publishing "Coping With Anxiety For Dummies," setting up workshops nationwide, and pitching a TV series about a shrink who treats the anxious, called "Uh-oh!"

Then I'll worry about Uncle Same, Lloyd Blankfein, and some Madoff-lite stealing the money I make.

Oy vey!

IHTG said...

Q: I think what he's trying to say is that, while Ashkenazi Jews worldwide certainly got their original language and culture from the Rhine communities, it's not certain that they are wholly descended from them biologically.

There are records of "Judeo-Slavic"-speaking Jews in early medieval Eastern Europe. There could have been/likely were Jews migrating north from the Byzantine Empire into Eastern Europe who became "Ashkenazised".

Hacienda said...

Soren Kierkegaard, who made anxiety not only a way of life but also a central philosophical concept, declaring (with suspicious exaggeration), “The greater the anxiety the greater the man.”

================

At which point anxiety came to prized like the Nobel Prize and there were many Jewish aspirants to high anxiety.

a very knowing American said...

Comparing different parts of Europe it's important to keep in mind that in early modern times serfdom was being ratcheted up in Eastern Europe at the same time it was dying out in the West. If I were a serf, and my lord's Plan A wasn't working out, I'd probably want to spend my time philosophizing, preferably with vodka bottle in hand, rather than trying to come up with Plan B. Communism also encouraged similar attitudes of course.

This also affected relations with Jews. A lot of Eastern Europe, rather than developing free cities and bourgeoisies, had serf-based neocolonial economies, with Jews as middlemen. Nineteenth century Wallachia and Moldavia (now in Rumania) were particularly extreme in running exploitative serf economies, shipping grain to Western Europe, with landlords living it up in Bucharest and Jews managing their estates, and being bitterly hated by the peasants.

By contrast, in Bulgaria, where Turkish landlords got kicked out, and land was then pretty evenly divided among peasant smallholders, Jews and Gentiles got on a lot better. Some of this shows up in the way the Holocaust unfolded in the two countries.

Anonymous said...

"the reason Woody puts out a movie a year is that his business philosophy is to keep his movies cheap so none of them are financial disasters and he can stay in business"

Well it might be that he just enjoys making movies and keeping them cheap means he doesn't have to spend much time wheeling and dealing for the funding.


The other side of that is it limits the sort of films he can make unless he goes Ed Wood style - which could be very entertaining.

Anonymous said...

Paradoxically, Jewish anxiety in some ways increases with Jewish power and privilege. As Jews become more powerful, they fear being seen as the powerful elite, which is why Jews are more eager than ever to increase diversity as fast as possible in US and EU.

In the past, Jews weren't as powerful and they suffered a great tragedy during WWII.
And so there was genuine sympathy for Jews on the part of American whites.
But Jews used this sympathy on the part of whites to work for their own empowerment. They played the politics of powerlessness to gain tremendous power.
This use of sympathy(from others) for empowerment maybe should be called sympowerment.

Today, sympathy for 'helpless' Jews is an obligation. We must feel sympathy not so much out of genuine compassion as from fear of Jews. If you don't weep for Israel, your career is over in elite circles.

Anonymous said...

There are records of "Judeo-Slavic"-speaking Jews in early medieval Eastern Europe. There could have been/likely were Jews migrating north from the Byzantine Empire into Eastern Europe who became "Ashkenazised".

IHTG,

Yes, but there were waves of Jews who fled the German lands into Poland in the wake of persecutions instigated in relation to the Crusades and the Black Death. In the 14th and 15th centuries, there followed many expulsions of Jews from German towns and cities. Again, many of these Jews migrated East. The Jewish communities of Poland and the Pale likely were a mixture of the Byzantine Jews who migrated north (and may well have reached Eastern Europe first) and formerly German Jews.

Anonymous said...

Pertaining to Sailer's theory as to why Jews have been working to de-Germanize arts & culture, there is the factor of decline of 'high culture' as a whole. Even when it comes to Jewish culture, many Jewish critics and commentators prefer Jewish pop culture to serious Jewish culture. Woody Allen stopped making serious films long ago. And it seems like lots of educated Jews are more into rap music than poetry(even by serious Jewish poets). More is written about Bob Dylan than about Proust or Leonard Bernstein by American Jews.

But maybe the decline of the Germanic fixation among Jews has something to do with inner-family-feud that was never aired in public. The Jewish community in America was never monolithic, and not all Jews arrived at once. And there were some tensions within Western Jews and Eastern Jews in both Europe and in America.
It was the battle of German Witz and Eastern European Wicz.
We might call this the Cleanowitz/Stinkowicz Complex, with Cleanowitzes being Germanic Jews and Stinkowiczes being Eastern European Jews.

In Western Europe, due to earlier emancipation and more advanced cultures/politics/economies, Western Jews were far ahead of Eastern Jews. Similarly, there are two Asian-Indian communities in the West. Those that rose through merchant-ism and those that rose through academism. Academic Asian-Indians came to American colleges while merchant-oriented Asian-Indians made their way to America by working as middlemen in Africa/Middle East/Asia, etc. The two communities don't necessarily see one another eye to eye. And among Chinese, there's the more sophisticated overseas/Hong Kong Chinese and the late-rising- mainland Chinese who are often seen as uncouth hicks by more Westernized Chinese. And within the Persian community, there are the hicks in rural Iran and the more cosmopolitan people in big cities and outside Iran. And in America, blue state white elites look down on red state redneck hick hillbilly white trash bigots. If anything, blue state white elites wanna assimilate to 'progressive' diversity as defined by Jews to prove that they have NOTHING in common with red state rednecks.

Anyway, Western Jews(Cleanowitz Jews)were far ahead of Eastern Jews(Stinkowicz Jews). Western Jews were well-educated(often more so than native gentiles in Germany, Austria, and France)and aspired to be respectable. Many of them wanted to assimilate and they succeeded. Many married affluent and well-educated gentile elites. Some converted to Christianity and took on gentilized names. This was also true in America. Cleanowitz Jews had arrived first in America, and many became Anglo-Americanized. Some even tried to hide their Jewish ancestry and did their best to look and sound as Waspish as possible. They wanted to clean themselves of the stink of the ghetto. They wanted to modernize. Even as many remained as Jews, they wanted the face of Judaism to be acceptable to goyim. They didn't want Jewishness to look like a grubby vaudeville show. Despite their Jewishness, they wanted to be a part of elite gentile society and didn't wanna 'belong to a club that would have me as a member.' They looked upon Eastern Stinkowicz Jews as respectable middle class blacks in the past looked upon lowlife 'coons'.

Anonymous said...

In fact, Cleanowitzes shared many of the Western European/American distaste and anxiety about loud, smelly, grubby, uncouth, and vulgar Stinkowiczes. Cleanowitzes were a lot richer, more powerful, and respectable than Stinkowiczes. Many Cleanowitzes wanted their gentile friends to know that THEY were not like the Stinkowiczes arriving from Eastern Europe. They, the Cleanowitzes, had class and manners. Similarly in America, Cleanowitzes who'd established themselves earlier wanted to be allowed into Wasp society on Wasp terms. They felt that the newly arrived Stinkowiczes in the massive immigration in the early 20th century were giving Jews a bad name with vulgarity, stinkery, radicality, and too much fish/garlic/pickles.

In return, Stinkowiczes resented the Cleanowitzes as dark-skinned blacks look upon light-skinned 'wanna-be's. They were the authentic ghetto/field Jews while Cleanowitzes were snot-nosed 'house Jews'. Stinkowiczes struggled for air to breathe whereas Cleanowitz lived in perfumed surroundings. Stinkowiczes organized for their piece of the pie while Cleanowitzes ate cake.
Up until WWII, Cleanowitzes had the upperhand over the Stinkowiczes. The one great triumph of the Stinkowiczes was the overthrow of the old order in Russia and establishing communism, but communism didn't turn out so hot for the Jews.

But the thing that really upset the balance was WWII. AS Nazis got nastier and Europe came under Nazi rule, many Cleanowitzes hoped to be spared. They felt they were the good clean Jews; they had paid their dues. They thought it was okay for antisemites to go after the Stinkowiczes whom they also despised, but the Nazis went after ALL Jews. Thus, the Cleanowitz Illusion failed.
In the end, it didn't matter if you're a clean Jew or stinky Jew; antisemites were gonna get you all. This eventually led to the forging of unity between Cleanowitzes and Stinkowiczes. But, there was some matters to settle. Deep down inside, Stinkowiczes were angry with the Cleanowiczes.
In their eagerness to 'pass' as gentile and be spared by anti-semites--and their desire not to 'rock the boat'--, the Cleanowiczes hadn't done enough to help the Stinkowicz Jews in Europe.

Also, though the rise of Nazism led to the exile of many Cleanowitz Jews from Germany and Austria, their arrival in America was different from that of Stinkowiczes. Cleanowitzes left Europe with money, reputation, and connections. And in arriving in UK or US, they were welcomed by already established elites and even had good jobs in academia waiting for them. In contrast, Stinkowiczes, as both immigrants and refugees, arrived with nothing but shirts on their backs and had to struggle from the bottom to rise to the top.

Eventually, especially in America, the Stinkowiczes rose above the Cleanowizes. Many Jews from Poland and Russia became even more powerful, rich, and influential than Cleanowitzes. And unlike the Cleanowitzes who tried to win approval from Wasps and German elites, the Stinkowiczes had real chutzpah and attitude. They had AUTHENTICITY as Jews. They were proud angry irreverent Jews. Some were on the 'right', like Rand. Some started out on the Left, like Dylan. But they all had attitude. And they were not looking for approval. Many Hollywood moguls came from Poland, and they were gonna create a world of their own. When German-Jewish film directors came to America, they worked for Stinkowicz moguls.

Anonymous said...

Stinkowiczes were rising, and since their background was in Eastern Europe, they were less beholden to German(or French)culture. Since they remembered Poland and Russia with little more than anger and bitterness, they found their true identity in America. Also, Eastern European Jews suffered far more under Nazi power than Western European Jews. So, to the Stinkowiczes, Germans were Nazis and Eastern Europeans were Nazi collaborators. No reason for them to look upon fondly on Germans or Eastern Europeans.

Stinkowiczes found the Cleanowitz 'slavishness' to German culture embarrassing--just as Cleanowitzes had once felt ashamed to be associated with Stinkowicz grubbery. Hannah Arendt was a much respected figure, but did she have to play whore to Heidegger and come to his rescue even after WWII? Maybe Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove's Nazi/Jew-ness is a kind of joke about the link between Jewish and German culture.

In a way, the Stinkowicz vs Cleanowitz conflict could be seen between Pauline Kael and Renata Adler. Both were Jews, but Kael was of Eastern European background while Renata Adler was of elite German Jew background(her family fled the Nazis with good amount of money). In one of her early reviews, Kael remarked how some Europeans arrived in America and whined about how materialistic and crass Americans were; but then, she remarked how these snobby Europeans(possibly Cleanowitz Jews)arrived with fancy dresses, chandeliers, jewelry, etc.

Contra Kael was Adler, a woman with tremendously high credentials. She went to all the right schools, knew all the right people. She went from one elite position to another in cultural circles.
Her attack piece on Kael was, in a way, a Cleanowitz telling a Stinkowicz to shut the hell up. Kael's antics were as gross to Adler as grubby Stinkowicz immigrants had seemed to established Cleanowitzes who wanted to be accepted as respectable Jews by the Wasp order.

http://blogs.suntimes.com/scanners/2007/02/pauline_and_renata_go_showboat.html

But in the end, Kael won. She's remembered as a giant while Adler is hardly read or remembered anymore. Sontag is an interesting case. On the one hand, she did have something of the Kaelian bad girl 'stink up the joint' attitude, but she was so vain about high culture and stuff that she never took a 'lowly' job like film reviewing and instead wrote long intellectual pieces about 7 hour art films such as Syberberg's HITLER. In the end, she stuck to her Cleanowitz roots, favoring the 'high' over the 'low'.

http://www.syberberg.de/Syberberg4_2010/Susan-Sontag-Syberbergs-Hitler-engl.html

But, I think another reason for the fall of German culture has to do with the loss of awe among Jews when it came to white goyim as a whole. After all, we don't hear much about French or Italian high culture either. Consider Woody Allen. When he was young, US was still Wasp dominated. All the elite clubs, institutions, and government were filled with wasps. Jews were powerful and fast rising but still had a long way to go. Back then, whatever hostilities Jews may have felt toward Wasps, there was a great sense of awe too. Wasps seemed taller, healthier, better looking, hale, intelligent, powerful, commanding, and far advanced of the grubby Jews. So, Allen grew up with a great fascination for Wasps. His movie STARDUST MEMORIES begins with him a train full of ugly Stinkowicz Jews hopign to join the train with beautiful and rich wasps.

Anonymous said...

And in the 60s, one of the big names was Ingmar Bergman, the great Nordic filmmaker, and Allen wanted to be like him. So, in the late 70s and 80s, Allen dropped some of his vaudeville Jew act and tried to make art films about the complex, rich, and fancy wasps in films like INTERIORS, SEPTEMBER, ANOTHER WOMEN. But, as time passed, people forgot about Bergman. 'Popular filmmakers' Hitchcock and even John Ford came to be far more admired than 'art filmmaker' Bergman. Even Antonioni isn't much discussed now.

It was as if Jews suddenly realized that the wasps and Germans weren't so great, awesome, and mighty after all. Allen grew up at a time when Jews had to beg to marry a rich wasp's daughter or be allowed into some fancy club. Suddenly, wasps were begging Jews to marry Jewish daughters and begging to be allowed into Jewish controlled institutions. It's like the Jewish guy in EYES WIDE SHUT. He's the new boss.

In a way, the fall of wasp and rise of Jew was a quiet revolution but one of the most important in history. Anyway, if you no longer hold something in awe, it aint special no more.

David said...

Everything is the Germans' fault.

Anonymous said...

Svigor said...

'Interesting essay. I think "aggressive" fits Jews far better than "neurotic." But, their aggression does seem to be tied up with fear and ethnocentrism (someone here recently posted a study linking the latter two).

A heightened "fight or flight" response?'

I agree with this, my experience with Jews is that they're agressive not neurotic.

I think is the chutxpah thing.

Q said...

"Of course, those Jews were German. They were every bit as German as the Protestant Germans and Catholic Germans they served with."


Are Turkish immigrants to Germany "every bit as German" as, say, Richard Wagner or footballer Sebastian Schweinsteiger?


No, they are not.

But a thousand years from now, their descendents will be.

Just as after a thousand years of intermarriage, the Jews who moved to Germany became as German as Wagner and Schweinsteiger.

I sometimes get the feeling that many people on this site do not really believe in genetics.

Is Terry Venables English? If he is, then Immanuel Jakobovits was German. If he's not, then England needs to kick out these Norman intruders.

Mr. Anon said...

"Dr Van Nostrand said...

How many of these Jewish oligarchs are pracitising Jews."

That's mostly irrelevant, as jews define themselves more as an ethnic group than as a religion.

"When I lived in Dubai there was a thriving prostitution trade in the area and most of the Russian gangsters were cetainly not Jewish,they loathed Jews."

Gee. D'ya think it might be possible that jews might not want to live in..........Dubai. That perhaps russian jewish gangsters might find themselves a nation that's a little more hospitible to jews than an arab emirate?

Mr. Anon said...

"Prof. Woland said...

Russians and Germans have something in common; they are both hyper clean to the point of seeming germ phobic (not German phobic)."

Russians are known for being hyper clean? If this is a stereotype than it is one that is unknown to me, and probably to most other people as well.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Jewish paranoia: anxiety.

White anxiety: paranoia."

That's good.

Anonymous said...

Terry Venables (former England soccer manager).

Terry Venables is an interesting case. I know he looks very Italian or Spanish, but he is as *British* (not English, mind you) as they come.
Venables is of Welsh extraction. Anthropologists averr that there was an ancient, iron age emigration of mediterranean types to Wales from southern Europe - hence the typical phenotypical appearance of a certain section of ethnic Welshman (not all of them, mind you, many are big and blond).
This mediterranean ingress predated the Anglo-Saxon invasion by centuries, if not millenia.

szopeno said...

With "Germans" and "Jews" founding Polish cities: it's more complicated than that. Tak for example Poznan -- it was "founded" on German law in XII century, but it actually existed in X century. The same with Gdansk, Krakow, and many other cities. The same with villages: at this time simply German law was superior, and it was commonly adopted by the cities and villages as replacement for earlier common law. It means it's easy to get impression that all cities were "founded" by Germans, just because you see the dates when this cities received the new set of laws.

Anonymous said...

Anxiety owns the Jews

Prof. Woland said...

My experience is purely anecdotal but pretty good. The woman I dated / lived with before marrying my wife was German so it is an easy comparison. Plus, I have spent time in both countries living with each respective Kultur.

I think some of this has to do with the fact that Russian women still consider the home their turf, especially the kitchen which most American women abandoned for all practical purposes a generation ago. A good portion of the scrubbing is laundry or the floors, but the kitchen especially. And everything is cooked from scratch. It is typical for her to put the bucket and mop outside the front door not caring what the outside looks like after over mopping the floors again. Only people she likes and knows well come inside. Street cred is far more important in Russia so clothes are always clean, even if they are old and tattered. If you live in an apartment, like most Russians and Germans, there is only one entry way in and out. In both countries, they typically take their shoes of before entering. I have four downstairs entrances to my house and a backyard with dirt and trees like most Americans so I would constantly walk in and out without ever taking off my shoes. To many cultures that is abhorrent.

OT, Russians greatly respect and admire Germans. Any product made in Germany is automatically considered good and prestigious. They have a high regard for the education system, food, roads, cars, etc. They do resent Germany for the atrocities of WW2, but real Russians, who lorded over a huge multi-ethnic empire themselves, are quite racist and are probably a bit understanding if not even sympathetic even if they don’t ever come out and say it. The other thing is that WW2 was Russia’s greatest triumph. Anything that diminishes Germany diminishes Russia because their histories are so intertwined. One of the things that saved Germany at the end of WW2 was that the Communists focused their hatred towards the fascists and Capitalists and were less obsessed with race than the Germans. It is a good thing too, because had they returned the favor, there would be not German West of the Oder.

Anonymous said...

My experience with Jews is that they're agressive not neurotic.

That's my experience with every ethnic group not my own. For some mysterious reason I don't meet many shy ones.

Q said...

Terry Venables is an interesting case. I know he looks very Italian or Spanish, but he is as *British* (not English, mind you) as they come.


Venables is a Norman surname.


http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Venables


"This interesting name is of Norman-French, origin, and is a locational surname from the place called "Venables" in the arrondissement of Louviers, in Eure, Normandy. The surname was introduced into England by followers of William the Conqueror after the Conquest of 1066."

That is, the Venables (and other Normans) have been in England about as long as Jews have been in Germany.

Svigor said...

"Anonymous said...

Jewish paranoia: anxiety.

White anxiety: paranoia."

That's good.


Yeah, that one's got legs.

I think is the chutxpah thing.

I think high extraversion is being passed off as other things in this thread.

Paradoxically,

Try to make your next few comments about Jews without using that word. Pretty please?

Anonymous said...

http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/category/directors-kurosawa-akira/

green mamba said...

"In a way, the Stinkowicz vs Cleanowitz conflict could be seen between Pauline Kael and Renata Adler. Both were Jews, but Kael was of Eastern European background while Renata Adler was of elite German Jew background...
But in the end, Kael won. She's remembered as a giant while Adler is hardly read or remembered anymore."

I recently read some pieces by John Simon from the Seventies on Kael and Adler. Simon certainly acted like a "Cleanowicz", though he was born and raised in Yugoslavia. I assume he has some Jewish background, perhaps a mischling? Anyway, in Cleanowicz fashion he scolded Kael for her "commonness", while at the same time admiring her verve and wit. Adler, however, he mocked as absurdly pretentious.

Anonymous said...

"I assume he has some Jewish background, perhaps a mischling?"

No, I don't think he's Jewish at all.

Anonymous said...

Adler on Kael. Read the whole thing here. I think Adler went too far. I guess it was cat fight psychology.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1980/aug/14/the-perils-of-pauline/?pagination=false

"She has an underlying vocabulary of about nine favorite words, which occur several hundred times, and often several times per page, in this book of nearly six hundred pages: “whore” (and its derivatives “whorey,” “whorish,” “whoriness”), applied in many contexts, but almost never to actual prostitution; “myth,” “emblem” (also “mythic,” “emblematic”), used with apparent intellectual intent, but without ascertainable meaning; “pop,” “comicstrip,” “trash” (“trashy”), “pulp” (“pulpy”), all used judgmentally (usually approvingly) but otherwise apparently interchangeable with “mythic”; “urban poetic,” meaning marginally more violent than “pulpy”; “soft” (pejorative); “tension,” meaning, apparently, any desirable state; “rhythm,” used often as a verb, but meaning harmony or speed; “visceral”; and “level.” These words may be used in any variant, or in alternation, or strung together in sequence—”visceral poetry of pulp,” e.g., or “mythic comic-strip level”—until they become a kind of incantation. She also likes words ending in “ized” (“vegetabilized,” “robotized,” “aestheticized,” “utilized,” “mythicized”), and a kind of slang (“twerpy,” “dopey,” “dumb,” “grungy,” “horny,” “stinky,” “drip,” “stupes,” “crud”) which amounts, in prose, to an affectation of straightforwardness."

Anonymous said...

http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.com/?p=24805

Movie critics are such bitchy bitches.

Anonymous said...

http://lareviewofbooks.org/article.php?id=35&fulltext=1

Do we even have critical wars anymore? Even as Hollywood filmmaking has become more 'fascist', film culture has become more dweeby and amiable, with most critics being like the dorkboy A.O. Scott.

Anonymous said...

Stinkowicz are no more. Their grandchildren became correctowicz.

ben tillman said...

This strategy could easily be viewed as that of a man who lacks confidence. He doesn't have the guts to try to make a masterpiece, because that would require making a bigger bet on himself.

He made his masterpiece in 1973.

Anonymous said...

Anxiety is a function of worrying about performance and status. High achieving cultures worry about this much more than low achieving cultures. German and Jewish culture are both the former, as is east Asian culture.

Anonymous said...

http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/special-report-the-changing-face-of-new-york-jewry-1.436686

Hardy har har. Oh those poor poor Jews of Ny.

K(yle) said...

Terry Venables is an interesting case. I know he looks very Italian or Spanish

No he doesn't.

http://img.thesun.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01293/TerryVenables_1293154a.jpg

The only thing that would make him 'look Italian or Spanish' in his youth would be that he was tan.

Just as after a thousand years of intermarriage, the Jews who moved to Germany became as German as Wagner and Schweinsteiger.

I sometimes get the feeling that many people on this site do not really believe in genetics.


The genetics are already in. Ashkenazim from Germany have more genetically in common with Mizrahi from Yemen and Sephardim from Spain than than they do with ethnically German Germans; according to all the best Jewish geneticists.

If like the Ashkenazim the Turks intermarry for a handful of generations then practice harsh endogamy for a thousand years, developed their own German-Turkic pidgin language and experience a highly inbred 'demographic miracle' then no Turks won't be as German as Wagner (or his equivalent a thousand years hence) but a genetically distinct population that has some German admixture.

Anonymous said...

the Jews who moved to Germany became as German as Wagner and Schweinsteiger.

You know, that could well be...since Wagner was likely half-Jewish.

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