The Little Man
Today on Tablet
Today in Tablet Magazine, contributing editor Ruth R. Wisse pens a loving, lovely, and magnificent tribute to her friend and political adversary Irving Howe.
I was under the impression that Irving felt more comfortable in smaller spaces. He seemed attracted to socialism because he considered it a losing cause in America, and to Yiddish for the same reason, interpreting it as the culture of what he called the “little man.” When he toured to promote his book, he complained that the well-heeled audiences at synagogues and Jewish community centers were nothing like the garment workers and union organizers whom he had so lovingly portrayed in his book. I pointed out that he had memorialized only those parts of the Lower East Side that had not endured in America. His audiences were made up of the synagogue-goers, Zionists, and immigrants who had made good. The ironies of this ought to have been cause for celebration, but, for Irving, they were instigators of regret.
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.