Israel’s Audacity

By Jack Engelhard

 

King David – writing 3,000 years ago but always as current as today and as prophetic as tomorrow – begins his second Psalm like this:

 

“Why are the nations in an uproar [against Israel]?”

 

There is no end to this rhetorical question.

 

Here’s a headline from today’s Philadelphia Inquirer: “International Community Alarmed Over Israel’s Settlement Expansion.” (ALARMED!)

 

This, from the Associated Press: “UN Report Faults Israel Over Gaza.”

 

In its Sunday edition, The New York Times offers this quote from a UN official: “Everything Israel does now will be highly contentious.” (This is news?)

 

The backdrop – the back story – is this administration’s Nuremberg Approach toward Israel. The Nuremberg Laws’ sole purpose was to deprive the Jews of their rights as citizens, eventually to disown them, displace them and prepare them for annihilation. A third of all Jews thus perished.

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Stereotyping Oursevles

By Jack Engelhard

The New York Times reminds us that Philip Roth is into his 50th year as a writer. His first book was “Goodbye, Columbus.”

Roth is an Establishment figure, a media darling. Our culture honors Jewish writers – and Jewish artists in general – who are not happy being Jewish. This theme runs through most of Roth’s works. This is a man running from his faith; uncomfortable in his skin. For that, he is celebrated.

The Jews in Roth’s novels are usually whining and groaning – objects of ridicule from clothing to behavior. There is no love of Jewish roots, no love of Torah. If Torah is mentioned, it’s done so in derision. Always there are complaints about being Jewish. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – That’s not writing. That’s kvetching.

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Sneak Peek This Novel!

 By Jack Engelhard

   The Girls of Cincinnati Sometimes it pays to get out of bed in the morning. THIS morning, there it was, Amazon’s “Look Inside This Book” feature for “The Girls of Cincinnati.” The book was published not even a month ago by Amazon (through its createspace subsidiary) but it takes some time to get that sneak-peek feature up and running, but here it was and here it is, something of a thrill for a writer and maybe (hopefully) for a reader.

I don’t mean to do any sucking-up, but I do so appreciate this quick, professional work. Where – reading and writing fans – would we be without Amazon?

Amazon came along just when writing and reading were dying. Book stores were closing and writers who were not Dan Brown had no shot.

Oh – yes, some call it Print on Demand. I don’t. I call it Bypass Literature. This lets writers bypass the snobs who pay Hillary Clinton Eight Million Dollars for a “book” of nonsense. Some bad books get published POD but here’s a secret – plenty bad books get published by so-called conventional publishers. Plenty good books get self-published, beginning with Walt Whitman.

The most famous small book of all time – Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style” – was first self-published by William Strunk, Jr.

We will never know how many great books never got published due to the clubby, chummy, clueless world of (conventional) editors and publishers.

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The Code

By Jack Engelhard

Over at the racetrack, on Sunday, two of us were talking about the Kentucky Derby, me, sipping vodka, and this horse player, drinking beer. This man was a professor, also a gambler. His choice for the Derby was a horse coming from Dubai. Maybe I’d had a vodka too many, and I said that plenty horses these days were coming from Dubai. In fact, our entire racing system, here in America, was being dominated by horses from United Arab Emirates.

Nothing wrong with that, I added, except that an Israeli tennis player was denied access to Dubai even after she qualified for some sort of tennis championship over there in the Emirates. The princes didn’t like the fact that she was Israeli. So maybe, I suggested – speaking as an American – we ought to return the favor and deny them access to our racetracks. Goodbye Dubai.

The gentleman said – “We need to change our policy in the Middle East.”

I caught the drift right away. I know the lingo. I know the code. So I knew what came next.

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Of Will Ferrell and Bullying and Bush

By Jack Engelhard

I don’t get to New York that often so I never caught Will Ferrell’s Broadway show on George W. Bush – an hour or so of “comedy.” But the one-man extravaganza – a big hit during its Broadway run – was given time on HBO and I was urged to watch it, which I did, for about 10 minutes. That was enough.

It wasn’t even funny, except that it lampooned Bush and that seems to delight so many of us.

I speak not as a Republican, nor as a Democrat, but rather as someone who knows the difference between humor and bullying. We all know about bullying in the schoolyard and that’s what this was, especially with the audience joining in with cheers and jeers. I know what it’s like when a mob sets itself upon a particular individual and begins to chase this individual with curses, taunts, derision and laughter. I call this mobism.

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When Fiction Becomes Fact

By Jack Engelhard

   The Girls of Cincinnati My latest paperback novel, “The Girls of Cincinnati,” is a work of fiction. It’s about a hot love affair that gets interrupted when a third party intrudes with the intent of doing damage. It’s true that I based the female lead on someone I knew, and knew warmly, in Cincinnati, back in the days of my youth. That would be Stephanie Eaton, as I have her in the novel – high-born and high-class. She is so rich and so beautiful that she feels that nothing can ever go wrong. (Life is full of surprises.)

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Chayefsky Rebukes Obama – Jack Engelhard

Dramatist and novelist Paddy Chayefsky (who died in 1981) wrote some terrific plays and novels. He may best be remembered for the 1955 film “Marty,” which won him the Oscar for Best Screenplay. He should also be remembered for an incident during the Academy Awards telecast of 1978.

That’s when Vanessa Redgrave (who accepted an award for something or other) used the occasion to bash supporters of Israel. None of the men in tuxes or women in gowns had the guts to answer back — except for Chayefsky. Clearly repelled by Redgrave, he used his moment at the podium to say that this was not the place for politics and that “thank you would have sufficed.” (This was Chayefsky’s polite way of saying, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore” — quoting that famous line from his own movie, “Network.”)

Chayefsky, a World War II Army war hero, wrote the screenplay for the (underrated) movie “The Americanization of Emily,” from the novel by William Bradford Huie. It’s here that Chayefsky’s brilliance as a writer shines brightly – in his defense of America.

America needs defending, now more than ever, during this, the Europeanization of our president, Barack Obama.

There’s no need to unravel the entire plot of “The Americanization of Emily” except to note that it takes place in London at the onset of D-Day. James Garner plays Lt. Cmdr. Charles Edward Madison. He falls in love with British war widow Emily Barham, played by Julie Andrews. This is what he says:

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We’ll Always Have Typos

 

By Jack Engelhard

 

Don’t know about you but as for me, I always catch my typos when it’s too late, like when I’ve already sent something out, or even after I’ve had it published — all that even after I’ve done the re-writing and re-reading a hundred times. I don’t let anything go until it’s perfect. But it’s never perfect!

 

Typos happen, usually overnight when you’re not watching.   

 

Though it’s already available on Kindle, I’m having a new novel published in paperback (“The Girls of Cincinnati,”) and in fact it already IS published though it won’t be up on Amazon until a couple of weeks. Before I gave it the okay, I had the proof copy for proofreading and found no mistakes, which makes my point, once again, that I’m a lousy proofreader – as are most novelists.

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