Monthly Archives: October 2009

That, of course, is the post-mod-au-go-go version, typical of the chic misanthropy of the Coens (whose name I shall return to presently.)

What’s caught my eye most recently are these comments on its classical form


“Born in 1905 as Alissa Rosenbaum to a Jewish family in St. Petersburg, she was 12 when the Bolsheviks seized power, and she endured the ensuing years of civil war, hunger and oppression. By 1926, when she came to live with relatives in the United States and changed her name, she had become a relentless enemy of every variety of what she denounced as “collectivism,” from Soviet Communism to the New Deal.”

How elegant. “Born. . .to a jewish family.” Just one step away from being found on their doorstep in a basket. And who were those “relatives” one wonders? Baptists?

“In 1949, Rand was living with her husband, a mild-mannered former actor named Frank O’Connor, in Southern California, in a Richard Neutra house. Then she got a fan letter from a 19-year-old college freshman named Nathan Blumenthal and invited him to visit. Rand, whose books are full of masterful, sexually dominating heroes, quickly fell in love with this confused boy, whom she decided was the “intellectual heir” she had been waiting for.
The decades of psychodrama that followed read, in Heller’s excellent account, like “Phèdre” rewritten by Edward Albee. When Blumenthal, who changed his name to Nathaniel Branden, moved to New York, Rand followed him; she inserted herself into her protégé’s love life, urging him to marry his girlfriend; then Rand began to sleep with Branden, insisting that both their spouses be kept fully apprised of what was going on.”

It’s pretty fucking obvious what’s going on with Mr. Blumenthal.

Woody’s paranoia is perfectly understandable.

The real fun comes in with the name game



removed the “H.”



removed the “E.”

Woody took his nickname for his first name and his first name for his last name — removing the “Konigsberg”

Melvin likewise replaced the “Kaminsky” in order to “forge my passport with a very gentile last name.” But never for a moment has he forgotten who he is or what being a Jew really means. Even now.

Sing us out my darling —