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On Marriage

On Marriage

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Baum herself has tackled the subject before, in a different medium; together with her husband, Josh Appignanesi, she is the co-creator of two films, The New Man and Husband, documentary (mockumentary? I don’t like this increasing focus on identity – to demarcate who you are, what you are… and that you can’t transcend these boundaries.

For if the word ‘Jew’ is not fitting in comfortably with other words, if there’s a kind of pause before the word, a momentary decision about how to utter it exactly, then that tells us something. Lisa Appignanesi OBE FRSL has written many books, fiction and non-fiction, including the memoirs Losing the Dead and Everyday Madness: On Grief, Anger, Loss and Love. And also because, for Jews in particular, the idea of the EU often has less to do with a free-trade organisation than with keeping the peace in Europe, and the desire to just be able to move elsewhere if you ever need to.The feeling of being European has arisen, I think, in particular amongst Jews in this country, partly because some of them, since the Referendum, have discovered that they can go and get passports – from Germany, Poland. So, everyone thought he was such a loser… you know, the one good thing that ever happened to the family….

EV: The point that you’re making in your book Feeling Jewish : A Book for Just About Anyone (2017), that Jewishness is kind of short-hand for urbanism, for modernity, in some kind of way.Devorah Baum brings her literary understandings, psychoanalytic scholarship and great aplomb to the marriage conundrum. So, all the feelings I’ve selected are ones that have a kind of ‘bad’ reputation that I wanted to overturn: I don’t wish to say that they’re bad feelings, though I do admit that they are or can be painful. So that wasn’t a direct experience of aggressive, hostile antisemitism, but it was implicit in the acceptance of Shylock as staged Jew. Joking, then, is a form of common language that can also offer its speakers a degree of privacy, by creating a kind of outsider discourse within the dominant discourse, one that speaks for the jokers’ own lack of definition or certainty. DB: The humour that I’m describing is a response of people who feel language is slippery, because they feel both inside and outside the culture they live in and the language they speak.

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