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Sundown: You Don’t Mess With the Hitch

Plus, the most Jewish HBO series yet, and more

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Christopher Hitchens.(Richard Picton/Vanity Fair)

• How would you like to see David Mamet get flayed, disemboweled, and then gone to work on? [NYTBR]

• You should check out the complete offerings in Haaretz’s annual “Writers Edition” but first and foremost this essay on Israel and the Arab Spring by contributing editor Leon Wieseltier. [Haaretz]

• They’re still working on that whole peace process thing. [WSJ]

• An HBO pilot about “a group of con men and magicians who use their skills of deception to help defeat Hitler and the Germans,” written by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, will be directed by Darren Aronofsky. There’s probably a way to make this Jewier, and they just haven’t thought of it yet. [Variety]

Midnight in Paris will go to more than 1,000 screens, giving it the widest theatrical play of any Woody film. [ArtsBeat]

• Rep. Gary Ackerman, Democrat of New York (Queens and Long Island), has personally appealed to Egyptian authorities in the case of Ilan Grapel. The imprisoned Israeli-American law student is a former Ackerman intern. [JTA]

Looks like New York will get same-sex marriage after all (maybe). Quoth the deciding voter, Republican state Sen. Roy MacDonald: “You might be very cynical about that. Well, fuck it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing.” Word.

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Well, I like them both, but even if some of Hitchens’s criticisms of Mamet are on target, he’s been guilty in the past of some of the same rhetorical excesses, deployed with the same kind of vigor for the sake of making a larger point. And the fact is, he’s made a similar ideological migration as Mamet. At times it’s as though he still feels compelled to beat up on the occasional right-winger to show he hasn’t entirely renounced the old religion, as often as not when the subject is Israel. Maybe it’s the narcissism of small differences.

Jerome says:

I wasn’t impressed by Hitchen’s review. Mamet is a playwright for the ages no matter his politics of the moment.

Mamet is definitely a playwright for the ages(well,our age anyway)and he’s not a bad moviemaker,either…ironically,one of his best(though vastly under-rated)films,”Spartan”,makes the opposite case to his neo-Con conversion…on matters of patriotism,tribe,country,loyalty and honour,the drama is much more convincing than the polemic…

In the NYTBR piece’s last paragraph, Hitchens writes that Rabbi Hillel’s definition of the golden rule can’t entirely be redeemed from contradiction, because one _does_ want bad things to happen to villains. But that’s not exposing Hillel’s definition as contradictory: it’s exposing _oneself_ as having a desire that contradicts a view one holds. (And actually it doesn’t even contradict Hillel’s definition as it’s traditionally been understood, which is as having a clause attached to it along the lines of “as long as your neighbor isn’t a villain.”) A person can (a) hold two or more views that contradict each other, or (b) any individual view he/she holds can be internally contradictory. Hitchens writes as though (b) is the case for Hillel’s definition. It isn’t.


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Sundown: You Don’t Mess With the Hitch

Plus, the most Jewish HBO series yet, and more

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