Shortly after Harvey Pekar died last week, at 70, YouTube videos of his infamous quarrels with David Letterman got a dizzying number of views. Pekar was already a cult hero for his underground “American Splendor” comic-book series that began appearing in the mid-‘70s, but it was the Letterman appearances a decade later that catapulted him into fame.
Daniel Schifrin |
Special To The Jewish Week |
In my 15 years writing this column, which has focused on the connections between culture and community, I’m not sure I’ve ever had as powerful a sense of the transformative power of Jewish ideas as in the creative arc of writer/performer Josh Kornbluth.
A San Francisco Bay Area institution and former TV talk show host, Kornbluth is a renowned writer and monologist, whose autobiographical work includes probing explorations of such inherently undramatic topics as math, taxes and the Berkeley environmental commission.
When the Israeli historian Shlomo Sand released his book “The Invention of the Jewish People” in America a few months ago, journalists here wondered if it would attract the same attention it did abroad. It was a bestseller in Israel upon its initial release in 2008, and later won the French journalists’ highest honor, the Aujourd’hui Award. So far, however, the book has made little impact here.