Quotes

Donald Fagen (Steely Dan) about Paul Simon in Rolling Stone May 12, 2011: There’s a certan kind of New York Jew, almost a stereotype, really, to whom music and baseball are very important.  I think it has to do with the parents.  The parents are either immigrants or first-generation Americans who felt like outsiders, and assimilation was the key thought–they gravitated to black music and baseball looking for the alternative culture.  My parents forced me to get a crew cut.  They wanted me to be an astronaut.  I wouldn’t be surprised if all that’s true in Paul’s case.”

Simon’s response is that his parents were first-generation. “He remembers ballplayers, hoodlums–‘I was a wannabe gang member.’–street corner doowop groups, satin summers and winter nights.”

“Mr. Litvinoff said that the Jewish writer’s lack of integration afforded him a valuable “sidelong” view of the society in which he lived, but qualified this by adding: “The integrated person of any religion is becoming a rare bird and so there is no longer anything particular about the Jewish writer.” – “Detached Outlook of Jewish Writers.” Jewish Chronicle June 18 1964

“The Jew who had rejected religion for politics in search of the miracle which would release him from the poverty of his boyhood environment discovered through the events of the war, in particular those surrounding the ill fated refugee ship Strume, that he was a European Jew. It was to provide him with a conscience very different from that of the Jewish Englishman he had imagined himself.” – on Litvinoff: Gardner, Raymond. “Behind the Covers of History.” Arts Guardian May 21 1973

“It [Anglo-Jewish society] constituted a sterile climate and an unsuitable frame for any writer, he [Litvinoff] said.”

“Mr. Litvinoff spoke of the “rich background” of Jewish history on which the Jewish writer was privilged to draw. No writer who was a Jew could write validly and truthfully without being aware of his position as a Jew, he said. If he attempted to do so, he would be the poorer for it.”

-“Decay of Angl0-Jewry.” Jewish Chronicle April 10 1959

“I objected to Mr. Litvinoff’s poem.” Mr. Spender went on, “because he was classing Mr. Eliot with the people who committed atrocities on Jews, whereas I believe that anything Mr. Eliot has written about Jews comes under the heading of criticism. I objected to it, not so much for the harm that its spirit of attack does to Mr. Eliot as for the harm it does to the Jews, because I do not think that Jews should allow a situation to arise in which all attacks on Jews, and even jokes about them are regarded as antisemitic.”

-“T.S. Eliot and the Jews.” Jewish Chronicle February 23 1951

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