“Jewish memory” can cover everythingrnfrom the city plan of Flatbush in 1950 tornthe recipe for Mrs. Bernstein’s kreplach.rnNor do I exaggerate the militantly secularrnreading. We are asked for “socio-historicalrnstudies of Jewish women,” butrnnot for papers on women in Judaic lawrnand theology. If the chairmen wanted tornadvertise that they have tin ears for religion,rnthey could not have written morerneffective copy.rnWhat are we to do with “Hasidicrnhermeneutics”—a subject introducedrnsurely to please no more than eight peoplern—or “textuality, interpretation, andrnsuffering”? And what are we to make ofrn”Judaism and the senses,” unless thernchairmen want us to find out what peoplernare doing in some other field—^lastrnyear’s sensation is this year’s de rigueurrnfor Jewish studies—and “apply it” torn”ours”?rnLest I seem captious, let me state thatrnthe AAR section on Judaism has chosenrnto exclude topics that most scholars whornpublish books actually work on. Thernchairmen have not merely made a placernfor topics that will interest the nonpublishedrnpopulace—which is certainly fairrnand proper, since some day such peoplernmight publish a book—but they havernexcluded the larger part of the scholarlyrncommunity of the A A R from the studyrnof Judaism.rnWhy do I say so? Because in examin-rnLIBERAL ARTSrnSOCIALIZING SMILESrnWliilc not renowned for their sensernof humor, Swedes have been makingrnmore of an effort to keep their funnyrnbone en forme. The Swedish Unionrnof Commercial Employees recentlyrnintroduced a special “humor group”rnfor its staff, and other organizationsrnand employers are eager to follow itsrnlead. Participants in such humorrngroups learn how to tell jokes, playrncomic roles, and concentrate on thernbrighter side of life.rnThe idea is that happier workersrnare more productive, yet the approachrnhas its detractors. As reportedrnby the European last March, onernmanagement psychologist said thatrn”it is tragic that we have to organizernpeople to make them laugh. It showsrnhow humorless life has become. Thisrncould only happen in Sweden.”rning book titles over the last 12 months, Irnlook in vain for substantial work on thernsubjects to which the AAR section nowrnexclusively devotes its “scholarship.”rnAmong the 75 or 100 books on Judaismrnpublished by the AAR’s Scholars Press orrnby any dozen university presses, few havernanything to do with these subjects.rnReal scholars—those who write books—rnare addressing such topics as the HebrewrnScriptures; the Mishnah, Talmud, andrnMidrash; Maimonides; exegesis of classicrntexts, their theology and their religionrnand the history of their ideas; women inrnJudaism; problems of the theology of Judaism;rnphilosophy of Judaism in thernMiddle Ages and in Modern Times; andrnQabbalah (including Hasidic writings).rnThe chairmen of the AAR section onrnJudaism seem to be interested not inrnpromoting active scholars and scholarshiprnbut in staging the academic equivalentrnof performance art. Next year perhapsrnthey’ll take off all their clothes.rn—Jacob NeusnerrnN O T S I N C E PAT B U C H A N A N ranrnfor President has the media hysteriarnreached the level brought on by thern(aborted) nomination of Professor LanirnGuinier to head the civil rights divisionrnof the Justice Department. “Ms. GuinierrnBuys Into Calhounism” screams thernheadline attached to an anti-Guinier diatribernby neoconservative columnist PaulrnGigot. “Quota Queen” shouts a fingerpointingrnWall Street Journal op-ed byrnneocon Clint Bolick. And Abe Rosenthal,rnper usual, cries wolf: “She stands forrnracial polarization.”rnWhen the air-raid sirens go off all atrnonce, we can reasonably assume thatrnthere is something more going on thanrndoth meet the eye. Note the use ofrn”Quota Queen,” a racist slur that hasrnovertones of “Welfare Queen.” And thernabsolute ultimate indictment: Guinier,rnsays Mr. Gigot, agrees with John C. Calhounrnand not Martin Luther King!rnThere are probably very good reasonsrnfor questioning Ms. Guinier’s fitness tornserve in sensitive areas of the Justice Department.rnWhat is interesting aboutrnthis furor is that she was not done in byrnconservatives but by those who claim tornbe dedicated to democratism. So far asrnone can disentangle any hard informationrnfrom the hysterical rhetoric and thernusual neoconservative tissue of historical,rnphilosophical, and constitutional ignorance,rnvulgarity, and mendacity, the objectionsrnto Ms. Guinier seem to revolvernaround two of her beliefs: that the blackrnminority and the white majority inrnAmerica do not have entirely compatiblerninterests, and that there should thereforernbe some institutionalized weightrngiven to the votes of black people evenrnwhen they conflict with majority rule.rnThat is to say, she has questioned thernallegedly sacred and traditional Americanrnprinciple of equality and thusrntouched the raw nerve of democratic socialistrnmythology. Regarding her firstrnposition, Ms. Guinier has simply toldrnthe truth—always a dangerous course inrnAmerican politics. If the quotidian fact,rnknown to every school child in America,rnthat different people have different situationsrnand different interests is publiclyrnacknowledged, what happens to the neoconrndream of a society of utterly interchangeablerngoods? People might discussrnreal issues rather than chimericalrngoals and might actually reach a settlement.rnAs to her second point, nothing couldrnbe more American than to question unrestrictedrnmajority rule. Our FoundingrnFathers believed in a government restingrnultimately upon the consent of the peoplern(as opposed to the divine right of arnmonarch or the inherited privileges of anrnaristocracy, and, of course, by “people”rnthey meant the responsible members ofrnsociety, not every respirating creaturernwith two legs). They were republicans,rnnot democrats—social, global, or anyrnother kind. They believed majority rulernshould be limited and chastened even asrnit, generally and in the long run, prevailed.rnAfter all, they gave us a Constitutionrnwith a bicameral legislature; a “popular”rnHouse elected within property and otherrnqualifications; a states’ rights Senate;rnbills that must be read thrice before passage;rnan indirectly elected President withrna veto power; and an independent judiciary.rnAnd all this merely to alleviaternmajority rule in a government that wasrnitself extremely limited in its functionsrnand jurisdiction.rnIn the spirit of the Founders, John C.rnCalhoun saw that the restrictions on majorityrnrule were not, in every respect,rnworking as they had been intended.rnContrary to Madison’s expectation thatrnvarious interests in a large country wouldrncheck each other, different interests hadrnconcentrated in different regions, makingrna “numerical majority” that exploitedrna minority. Some few small addi-rn6/CHRONICLESrnrnrn