bad apologies! in real simple!

by marjorieingall on August 12, 2014

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The piece I wrote for Real Simple back in June, about how NOT to apologize, is now online. Feel free to read it and to check out SorryWatch, the wee yet impassioned blog Susan McCarthy and I do together.

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never read the comments necklace

by marjorieingall on July 25, 2014

From Etsy. Could be yours. Probably should be, if you write about Israel, circumcision, vaccines and banned books. AND BY YOU I MEAN ME.

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mendy and the golem

by marjorieingall on July 24, 2014

198385_370715419685475_218560746_nIn Tablet Magazine this week, a look at Mendy and the Golem – “the first kosher comic book,” as its tagline had it. Basically I went off into a research K-hole on the history of Hasidic Jewish comix. It’s fun to explore the ways in which very religious people adapt pop culture for their own purposes; I devoured Daniel Radosh’s Rapture Ready, and once I start watching clean-cut Orthodox boys singing Taio Cruz ripoffs, I am lost in an out-of-body hypnotized Maccabeats spiral.

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…it would be a piece about Jewish parents choosing not to circumcise.

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more bylines!

by marjorieingall on June 19, 2014

1. Tablet magazine column on why Jewish camp is so “sticky,” as they say. (It’s not the bug juice.)

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(I do not think these children are Jews.)

2. Real Simple piece on how hiring a home organizer is better than couples therapy. In the July issue, doesn’t seem to be online.

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Read whatever you want. (Except for dumb articles in Slate.) But you should TOTALLY feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children. Let me tell you how I know this. I read three used books from the 25 cent bin while standing up in a thrift store waiting for my daughter to finish looking at small purses shaped like monkeys. And I had a revelation: Children’s literature SUCKS.

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These books are very didactic and have ugly art. My daughter’s boredom with small monkey-shaped purses could not happen quickly enough! Therefore, I must extrapolate with my powerful powers of extrapolation that ALL children’s books are didactic and have ugly art. Children’s literature is about escapism, instant gratification and nostalgia, and also sniffing ammonia.

I don’t know why you’d think there was any value in Where the Wild Things Are or Sylvester and the Magic Pebble or The Snowy Day or Corduroy or Press Here or The Arrival or Bread and Jam for Frances or Stellaluna or Eloise or I Want My Hat Back! or The Carrot Seed or Harold and the Purple Crayon or The Maggie B or One Morning in Maine or Not a Box or Flotsam or The Red Book. Because I have read THREE PICTURE BOOKS while standing in front of a rack of teeny rashguards, so I know that all children’s books are bad. Also, what’s all this fuss about violins on television? We should have MORE violins on television! I saw that Leonard Bernstein concert and it was just lovely!

Sure, some might find it strange when a very young woman like myself sounds like she’s channeling an unholy combination of Emily Litella and the Church Lady (references I’m sure I don’t know because I am so dewy, which is probably due to the clean New England air that filled my not-at-all-intolerant-or-ill-informed youthful lungs). Some might think, “Wait! Isn’t ANY form of literature a wide tent? If a person doesn’t like two or three books within a given genre, whether that genre is YA lit, children’s books, fantasy, true crime, sci-fi, romance or literary fiction, does that mean he or she can make sweeping unintentionally comedic Gilda-Radner-esque judgments about ALL the books in that genre?” Oh sure, some might argue that when a person cites The Westing Game and Tuck Everlasting as examples of the given genre she is disdaining, books that are actually MIDDLE-GRADE NOVELS AND NOT YOUNG ADULT BOOKS, i.e. NOT the ostensible genre she is critiquing, she reveals the great gaping depths of her cluelessness.

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SOME might say that. But look over there! A giant!

So my point is this: Children’s books only lead to children becoming hoarders, frightening animals and disassembling electronic devices. You can read this genre if you want, or tell yourself this genre has value or whatever, but you’re wrong. Wait, I didn’t mean YOU, I meant all the other people doing what you’re doing.

My ignorance is my security object.

 

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today’s byline news

by marjorieingall on May 28, 2014

I have a piece in the current (June) issue of Real Simple about apologies (thank you, SorryWatch!) — it’s not online, alas. I have a piece coming up in the July issue, too. I’ll post about that when it’s on newsstands, but for now let us say that I am amused by my own damn self.

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TEEN TOUR! CULTURAL EXTRAVAGANZA!

by marjorieingall on May 22, 2014

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Hey, I wrote a Tablet article about a nationwide bus trip for Jewish teenagers that teaches them about American and Jewish history, politics and civil discourse among people with differing points of view. But it involves conversations about gun control, abortion, and Israel, as well as the ingestion of non-kosher BBQ. In other words: RABID COMMENTERS AHOY.

BTW, the title of this post is a reference to Gayle Forman’s Just One Day, the delightful first book of a delightful duo (or two-and-a-half-o if you count the forthcoming e-novella Just One Night) about a girl with a circumscribed life who leaves a circumscribed teen tour to have a real-world adventure and 24-hour love affair. Forman’s books have absolutely nothing to do with the actual non-fictional teen tour I wrote about. But the name of the group the main character begins her travels with is Teen Tour! Cultural Extravaganza, with an exclamation point stuck in there like a street kebab on a stick. It made me laugh. (But while we’re talking about this, I think the sequel, Just One Year, is even better, and there’s even a lot of Jewish content, so my random reference just became relevant to Tablet. Yay.)

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even steph/ven at Tablet

by marjorieingall on May 9, 2014

My colleague Liel Liebovitz wrote a specious (sorry, I’m editorializing) defense of “I’m not privileged” privileged Princeton dude. I wrote a response to Liel saying that HELL YES white Jewish males still need to check their privilege. And then we snarked some more over the Twitters. It was fun.

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two superb new Holocaust kidbooks

by marjorieingall on April 30, 2014

I’ve written before about the challenges of finding appropriate kids’ books about the Holocaust. How young is too young? Do you go with fiction or nonfiction? How do you convey the magnitude of the tragedy without leaving your kid aghast, looking like a Keane painting?

Read the rest at Tablet magazine, where I talk about two excellent additions to the canon: Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust, and The Whispering Town.

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