The Land Between Two Rivers calls to mind James Agee’s “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” in that both books were written by “amateurs”—both Sleigh and Agee are/were first and foremost literary writers, yet their books are works of journalism.
The ultimate journey that any writer takes is an emotional one, and that is what informs the geographical and professional passages you undergo, the moral development you attempt, the intellectual maturity you reach for. Being a writer is exhilarating, demanding, fascinating; it is the most wonderful life, but it can be terribly lonely. In fact, I am still surprised each time by how singular and private the experience of writing is—how this big conversation the writer conducts, and this desire to gobble up the world comes down, finally, to a quiet moment alone.
Perhaps I am lacking in imagination, but I simply can’t think of a clearer signal of white male privilege than an instance in which an adult white male receives a highly competitive fellowship and uses his time on that fellowship to join a frat and gets so inebriated he ends up in the hospital, but instead of reprimand from the law or university, he gets to turn the ridiculous tale into a cover story for the country’s second largest circulating paper.
“The blonde angel,” the Greek media christened her: this little girl “discovered” during a drug-and-weapons raid in the Roma settlement near Farsala in central Greece. Within days, the story broke in every major European newspaper.
This issue of MQR brings together academic essays, high-level journalism, personal narratives, fiction, poetry, and visual art responding to the transformations of Jewish experience in the United States during the last fifty years, and, speculatively, extending into the twenty-first century. It offers writings that respond to the multiplicity of representations, cultural forms, fashionings and refashionings, that have defined the experience of Jews in America and continue to compel debate. These include works by Jews and non-Jews that engage contemporary controversies in the fields of politics, sociocultural dynamics, the arts, and the relation of Jewish life in America to other historical periods, other geographical places.