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An Exploration of Modern Jewish Ontology via Identities in Popular Culture
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Historically Judaism has been called both a nation and a religion, yet there are those Jews who eschew the religious and national definitions for a cultural one. For example, while TV’s Mrs. Maisel is ostensibly a Jew, the actor playing her is not, and Mrs. Maisel’s actions are not always Jewish. In The Fractured Jew Joel West separates Judaism into phenomenological and performative, starting with popular portrayals of Jews and Judaism, in today’s media, as a jumping-off point to understand Judaism and Jewishness, not from the outside, but from the emic, internal, Jewish point of view.
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The Joker both fascinates and repels us. From his origin in Detective Comics in 1940, he has committed obscene crimes, some of the worst the Batman universe has ever known, and, conversely, fans have made him the topic of erotic and pornographic “fan fiction.” Speculation about the Joker abounds, where some fans have even claimed that the Joker is “queer coded.” This work explores various popular claims about the Joker, and delves into the history of comic books, and of other popular media from a semiotic viewpoint to understand “The Clown Prince of Crime” in the contexts in which he existed to understand his evolution in the past. From his roots as a “typical hoodlum,” The Joker even starred in his own eponymous comic book series and he was recently featured in a non-canonical movie. This work examines what it is about the Joker which fascinates us.
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Abstract

The Joker both fascinates and repels us. From his origin in Detective Comics in 1940, the Joker has committed obscene crimes, some of the worst the Batman universe has ever known. Conversely fans have made him the topic of erotic and pornographic “fan fiction.” Speculation about the Joker abounds; some fans have even claimed that the Joker is “queer coded.” This work explores various popular claims about the Joker, and delves into the history of comic books and of other popular media from a semiotic viewpoint to understand “The Clown Prince of Crime” in the contexts in which he existed to understand his evolution. From his roots as a “typical hoodlum,” The Joker even starred in his own eponymous comic book series and he was recently featured in a non-canonical movie. This work examines what it is about the Joker which fascinates us.

In: Brill Research Perspectives in Popular Culture
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Abstract

The Joker both fascinates and repels us. From his origin in Detective Comics in 1940, the Joker has committed obscene crimes, some of the worst the Batman universe has ever known. Conversely fans have made him the topic of erotic and pornographic “fan fiction.” Speculation about the Joker abounds; some fans have even claimed that the Joker is “queer coded.” This work explores various popular claims about the Joker, and delves into the history of comic books and of other popular media from a semiotic viewpoint to understand “The Clown Prince of Crime” in the contexts in which he existed to understand his evolution. From his roots as a “typical hoodlum,” The Joker even starred in his own eponymous comic book series and he was recently featured in a non-canonical movie. This work examines what it is about the Joker which fascinates us.

In: The Sign of the Joker: The Clown Prince of Crime as a Sign
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Abstract

In North America there is a marked difference between being a Jew as a nationality, practicing Judaism as a religion, and being Jewish as a cultural identity. These identities intersect, and while they may well be separate from each other they also inform each other and, in a sense, nourish each other. While many books attempt to understand Jewish performance in the surrounding outside culture, asking questions such as “Why are Jews funny?”, this book attempts to understand North American Jewish identity as a Jewish thing, from a Jewish point of view in relation to both Jews and the outside, Gentile, culture. The book starts off by understanding that Judaism as a religion is denominationalized, that even within North America there is more than one Jewish culture, and that Jewish national identity, while existing historically, is also fraught politically. The idea of who counts as a Jew, to Jews, is questioned and while no answers are supplied, this question will be important in the future. It is also noted that some thinkers have questioned if Judaism is a thing at all, where the claim is that Judaism has no Ontology. In this book, it is demonstrated that while Judaism, Jewishness and the Jew as identities are split apart from each other, and while some definitions are fraught, that each one of these identities is essential to the others for a continued existence.

In: The Fractured Jew