Tuesday, January 12, 2010

History is just a way to view the present

That's what one of my favorite professors said. We argue about history because history is the weapon used to prove what the present should look like. This is awesomely presented by Thessaloniki. The young Mustafa Kemal probably never imagined this happening:

And yet here they are, BMX rappers cruising through the capital of Jewish life in the Ottoman Empire. I've written about Salonika and the Balkans a lot in the more-serifed past, but TabletMag, the "New Read on Judaism" blog just discovered them. Sorta.

Viewed through an American-Jewish lens, these folks are some weird outlier. THIS can't be Judaism: they blended into the ruling classes, ran the city, spoke weird languages, and ate funny foods. This ain't an outlier, this was ~350 years of existence. To paraphrase D'Israeli, Ottoman Jews were rolling deep in Ottoman Lands back when Lvov was a muddy speck.

I guess this piece bothered me so much because it Otherizes the whole aspect of a shared past. There's this nationalistic ideal that Jewish people are Different because they're Special and Untainted and Never Intermixed. In the American context, that means they've only spoke Hebrew or Yiddish, and while they may be nappy-haired, they're always sheeny-white. This ideal perpetuates hard-liners while ignoring an actual shared, legitimate past. Yeah, Shabbatai Tzvi was a weird dude. Yeah, he was a big deal in a big empire.

This is wayyy off what I mean to write about, and probably belongs on Blogging the Casbah, but still. History is complex. Historiography is arbitrary. This is very basic stuff, so embrace it and move on. Please.

1 comment:

  1. It is also possible to acquire a second-hand or used hermes handbags at couture-consignment shops. bag hermes sold, are hand-made by experienced craftsmen. This is one of the reasons why the bags hermes are sold at a high price.
    Operating through its many subsidiaries, Tiffany uk manufactures retails and designs fine jewelry and accessories. Founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany necklaces and Teddy Young in 1837, the store was named silver pendants , Young and Ellis until 1853 when Charles silver bracelets assumed ownership and concentrated the store's focus on the jewelry market.
    Your Chanel bags manufacturer these days can be being created by Karl Lagerfeld, a German constructed Chanel bag designer that also models for the property of Fendi and his very own label called Lagerfeld Gallery. Right up until today, wholesale Chanel Wallet possess the logo design of two interlocking Cs.
    daidaihua help you. If anyone is worried much about lida daidaihua
    excess weight and the internal weight and if one thinks that it can be reduced only through strenuous exercise, then lida slimming is time for them to stop worrying. slimming capsule is not that we are telling you about some more new simple exercises, but we would like to explain you that weight loss can happen even through lida or weight loss capsules. Here we shall help you in identifying the efficacy of phen375 over slimming capsules .