Overdoing Stanley Kubrick’s Jewishness

In Stanley Kubrick: New York Jewish Intellectual, Nathan Abrams seeks to demonstrate that the famed director fully merits the book’s subtitle. Frederic Raphael, who wrote the screenplay for Kubrick’s 1999 Eyes Wide Shut, is unconvinced:

Abrams affects to unlock what Stanley was “really” dealing with, in all his movies, never mind their apparent diversity. It is declared to be, yes, Yiddishkeit, and in particular, the Holocaust. This ground has been tilled before by Geoffrey Cocks, when he argued that the room numbers in the empty Overlook Hotel in The Shining encrypted references to the Final Solution. Abrams would have it that even [Kubrick’s 1975 film] Barry Lyndon is really all about the outsider seeking, and failing, to make his awkward way in (Gentile) society. On this reading, [the film’s protagonist] is seen as Hannah Arendt’s Jewish “pariah” in 18th-century drag. The movie’s other characters are all engaged in the enjoyment of “goyim-nakhes” [sic], an expression—like mentshlikhkayt—he repeats ad nauseam, lest we fail to get the stretched point. . . .

Abrams seeks to enroll [Kubrick’s 1962 film adaptation of] Lolita in his obsessive Jewish-intellectual scheme by referring to Peter Arno, a New Yorker cartoonist whom Kubrick photographed in 1949. The caption attached to Kubrick’s photograph in Look [magazine] asserted that Arno liked to date “fresh, unspoiled girls,” and Abrams says this “hint[s] at Humbert Humbert in Lolita.” Ah, but [Vladimir Nabokov’s novel] Lolita was published, in Paris, in 1955, six years later. And how likely is it, in any case, that Kubrick wrote the caption?

The film of Lolita is unusual for its garrulity. Abrams’s insistence on the sinister Semitic aspect of both [its predatory villains], Clare Quilty and Humbert Humbert, supposedly drawing Kubrick like moth to flame is a ridiculous camouflage of the commercial opportunism that led Stanley to seek to film the most notorious novel of the day while fudging its scandalous eroticism.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Arts & Culture, Film, New York Intellectuals

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7