Losing Yiddish bookstores and cluck-cluck-clucking

The general point of Joseph Berger's article in the Times is that CYCO, the bookstore, is going out of business. This is sad, of course! Hayim is a great guy, has struggled manfully under trying circumstances, and I (with all my organizational and financial talents, which are +/- nil) will try and help find a substitute. I've bought hundreds of dollars of books from CYCO and we have sold hundreds of dollars of books through them.

This is not stupid.

But whenever Berger writes about Yiddish as a language - well, see my "friend's" twitter feed @yiddishseuss. Yiddish isn't spoken by anyone anymore, except for the Holocaust survivors. Oh, and the Chasidim, among whom it is "booming" and a "lingua franca," whatever those are supposed to mean. And Yiddish has a "lilt" and a "kvetch." If anyone wrote about another language the way J. Berger does (say, about African American English or Spanish) he/she would be rightfully run out of town on a herring-draped rail.

And the whole *tone* of the piece, such cluck-cluck-cluck and automatic nostalgizing, got on my nerves. Yes it is sad, but the bookstore is failing because organizational and economic support is lacking, not because J. Berger's parents failed to speak Yiddish with him. English bookstores are failing all over this great land of ours too.

Cluck-cluck-clucking won't help much. Finding a warehouse, setting up a real Web site, and donating some dough will. Can I do these things? Prolly not.

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