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Mitch Abidor (contributing writer): I’ll get right to the point: Radu Jude’s Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World is a brilliant film by a brilliant director, featuring everything we’ve come to expect from the acerbic Romanian filmmaker—anger, cynicism, and uproarious humor. Jude has spent much of his career skewering his native country, examining its ugly history and rampant racism, especially toward its Romani residents. But while his latest likewise excoriates the country he calls home, its scope is more limited than usual.

The film’s events, which take place over the course of a single day, revolve around Anjelica, a young woman who used to be a porn actress and is now forced to work 16-hour days as a production assistant on a corporate safety video for an Austria-based firm while moonlighting as an Uber driver. Even with her crowded schedule, she finds time to make TikTok videos using a filter that turns her into “Bobita”—a foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed man who, by the end of the film, is spouting pro-Putin and antisemitic sentiments. She spends much of the runtime behind the wheel of her car, tracking down work accident victims for the video. As the film builds up to the taping of the video, it highlights the cold exploitativeness and simmering rage of the “new Romania”—which is not so new at all, since communist leader Nicolae Ceaușescu has been gone for decades—where even the truth about something as relatively minor as a work accident is suppressed. At one point, Anjelica tells an Austrian executive that her people’s nature is best expressed in their dangerously aggressive driving. In a typically wrenching Jude moment, after Anjelica speaks of an especially dangerous stretch of highway lined with 600 crosses commemorating people killed along it, Jude cuts away from her and, against a soundtrack of dead silence, we see more than a hundred of the crosses one by one with the names, dates, and even photos of the dead.

The opening credits note that Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World is “in conversation” with Angela Goes On, a Romanian film from 1981 about a female taxi driver. In fact, the link is quite literal: The Angela, played by the original actress, meets Anjelica, in the very same apartment depicted in the earlier film, and becomes involved in her project. Their encounter lays bare all that has changed between the Romania of 1981 and today—and all that remains the same.

Solomon Brager (director of community engagement): For anyone who isn’t familiar, zines are self-published magazines that usually come out of the do-it-yourself tradition, and are reproduced inexpensively so that they can be distributed freely or cheaply, often through trading or gifting. In 2011, I joined zine maker and librarian Jami Sailor to create one called Archiving the Underground #1, which included a collection of interviews with archivists and librarians who work thoughtfully with zines—including Milo Miller of the Queer Zine Archive Project, Jenna Freedman of the Barnard Zine Library (which hosts the NYC Feminist Zinefest, this year on April 6th), and the late feminist zine scholar Alison Piepmeier.

But the impetus for our zine came from the work of Lisa Darms of the Riot Grrrl collection at NYU’s Fales Library, and Teal Triggs, author of the book Fanzines: The DIY Revolution. We were deeply suspicious of these projects, both of which did things—locking zines away in an archive, or scanning their covers, without their insides, for an expensive coffee table book—that went against the ethos of zine culture. Now, 13 years later, the creators of the Brooklyn Museum show Copy Machine Manifestos: Artists Who Make Zines have made the same mistakes by taking zines out of their punk and fandom origins and putting them into a museum art show.

Copy Machine Manifestos is full of really cool things that are not zines: drawings by queer punk icon G. B. Jones, paintings by Joey Terrill, embroidered canvases by Jordan Nassar. But when it comes to the actual zines on display by these artists, don’t try to read them! Even though there are multiple installations that look like interactive zine libraries, they sit behind little stickers on the floor that read “Help us protect the art. Please stand back.” This makes for a good art show, but a bad zine show. One of the exhibited zinesters, Mimi Thi Nguyen, posted a picture of herself giving the finger to the vitrine holding her work. “My true feelings about seeing my zines under glass,” she wrote.

Ultimately, I don’t think you could have a good zine show in a museum, unless you made it free, got rid of the private security, put a ton of zines out with a photocopier, and let anyone make copies to take home. Instead, the show literally puts glass between the zines and the audience, and endorses the idea that zines’ value derives from how much they’ll be worth once you’ve moved on to becoming a successful artist. Suddenly the zine is a part of your early oeuvre, the artist’s “punk period.” Rather than an object by and for the community around it, the zine becomes an investment: It has provenance, it needs to be preserved.

If you make it to the exhibition before it ends next week, I hope that it makes you want to read a zine, buy a zine, trade a zine, touch a zine, shove a zine in your back pocket, and most of all, make your own zine. But in order to do that, you’ll have to leave the museum and find a photocopier.

David Klion (contributing editor): The oldest Jewish Currents readers no doubt recall the 1960s as a formative decade in their lives; the youngest probably think of it as ancient history. For a 40-year-old like me, the ’60s exist in vicarious memory: in the pop cultural references and basic political assumptions handed down from boomer parents who actually experienced them. There’s a sense of the ’60s as an era of liberal idealism gradually giving way to revolutionary left-wing fervor, both of which were then crushed by the Nixonian right—all of which comes to mind filtered through a haze of secondhand cannabis smoke, accompanied by a classic rock soundtrack I’ve been hearing since I was a baby.

Todd Gitlin’s The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage is only one vantage on the decade, and it’s not a vantage everyone will find appealing. Gitlin spent the ’60s as a key figure in Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), one of the vanguards of the New Left, but by the time he published The Sixties in 1987, he was a middle-aged, jaded liberal trying to make sense of his youth. His biases—such as his palpable contempt for the Weather Underground, and his stubborn and misguided defense of Israel against left-wing critics—are undisguised. But Gitlin, who died in 2022 at 79, was a marvelous prose stylist and a shrewd observer of cultural and political trends, and The Sixties is as kaleidoscopic and compelling a single-volume account of an era as I’ve ever read.

I finally picked up The Sixties because I’m now spending much of my time researching the history of neoconservatism for a book project. I realized that in order to understand why some Jewish intellectuals broke right in the late ’60s, I needed to better appreciate why they were so revolted by the New Left. Indeed, while the foundational neocon figures only make a handful of appearances in Gitlin’s book, the often privileged young student activists who unsettled them are present throughout. Even Irving Howe—an Old Left stalwart who founded Dissent while peers like Irving Kristol embraced reaction—nonetheless saw leading figures of the New Left (like Tom Hayden, or Gitlin himself) as brash, romantic, and troublingly unconcerned with the intellectual debates over communism that Howe and his cohort had been grappling with since the 1930s. Hayden and Gitlin, in turn, found Howe and his fellow Dissent editors to be men of words rather than action, armchair intellectuals with no real-world strategy to end the war in Vietnam or to secure civil rights for Black Americans. There are echoes of that confrontation today. Gitlin and members of his SDS cohort would eventually take over and revitalize Dissent, and today some of them are just as skeptical of antiwar and anti-Zionist leftists of my own generation as Howe was of them back in the ’60s.

I’ve often felt since the Black Lives Matter uprisings of 2020, and the subsequent right-wing backlash against them, that the millennial left is experiencing our own version of the aftermath of 1968. As we enter middle age, we are forced to reckon with our own youthful political ideals and how to reconcile them with our increasingly constrained reality. Eventually, we too may find that our sons and our daughters are beyond our command.

Before you go: Jewish Currents senior reporter Alex Kane will be joining IfNotNow’s Eva Borgwardt and Jewish Voice for Peace’s Esther Farmer for a screening and discussion of the movie Israelism at Brooklyn’s Starr Bar on March 23rd (tomorrow) at 7pm Eastern. Get your tickets here: we hope to see you there!