Jewish Philosophy Freak of Nature (New York State Fair 2016)


You won’t believe your eyes –the world’s tiniest Jewish philosopher

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(Panentheism) Butter (New York State Fair 2016)


Like the relation between the wave and the ocean, the swimmer is a discrete entity only in the moment. The swimmer swims into the butter out of which the swimmer is made. The same is true for the players. They leap from and drink from the very same stuff that forms them. Made out of meat, human beings stand outside as if projected on a screen or on the wall of some cave; they mill around and look in with their cameras.



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Techno Genesis (New York State Fair 2016)


At the New York State Fair, Genesis is reflected in the dark by light, fire, magnetic gravitational pull of forces.

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Alien Invasion (New York State Fair 2016)


In its messianic mode, a la Franz Rosenzweig, Jewish philosophy invests a lot of energy into thinking the shape of dark stars and “the future.” Compare in contrast the space and alien themed rides at the New York State Fair. Here come the aliens. The future at the fair indicates nothing like in a science fiction, where it is brightly lit, well scrubbed, and populated by beautiful people in the prime of life. At once cheerful and strung out, the future here is grubby.

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Walter Benjamin’s Messianic Butterflies

The Home of Schlemiel Theory


In his introductory essay to Walter Benjamin’s Berlin Childhood around 1900 entitled “Hope in the Past,” Peter Szondi argues that, in his belief that the past held the secret of the future, Benjamin became a schlemiel of sorts.  To illustrate, Szondi cites one of the passages in which Benjamin remembers his childhood experience of a party, when the rooms of his home were filled with “something…impalpable, slippery, and ready at any instant to strangle those around whom it played.”  Commenting on this passage, Szondi says that Benjamin’s metaphors bring together “the present and the future, the premonitions of the child and the knowledge of the grown man.”  As I have pointed out many times, often in relation to Walter Benjamin, a schlemiel is half-man/half-child; the schlemiel passes between Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.  What Szondi adds to my reflections on Benjamin is the claim that in going back to…

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Gates (State Fair 2016)


It’s that time again, the start of the New York State Fair. Last year they tore down the grandstand and expanded the grounds. Here are the new gates. It’s my consistent experience that there is nothing more thrilling than the first approach down from C Lot on the first day of the fair towards the main gate under this or that sky –either bright, sweltering, or threatening. Does it call to mind something like Thunder Dome? The new gates are okay, except when they light up at night, the look cheap, like a Donald Trump casino.

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Water (Niagara)



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