There’s a Woody Allen movie called ANYTHING GOES which expresses the Jewish fear of being accepted into and co-opted by the white mainstream. On the one hand, Jews very much want to fit in and be considered part of mainstream America. But, Jews fear losing the edge, flavor, pungency–the wit and will to assert themselves.
Allen’s generation probably had to put up with lot more ‘antisemitism’. This could be blunt, as in a big dumb Polack at school saying ‘Jews killed Jesus’ and bullying Eugene Schwartz. Or, it could be subtle, as in WASP law firms kindly smiling at a Jewish applicant but turning him down. So, Jews lived in two worlds. In the white world and in their own world. They had to be scrappy, fierce, 3 or 4 steps ahead on the chessboard of social competition. Many older Jews have this very Jewishy willingness to fight–both the right and left. Michael Savage,the late Bob Novak(though later a convert to Catholicism), and Mark Levin are fierce as badgers. So are Alan Dershowitz, Noam Chomsky, and etc.
They all grew up with a huge chip on their shoulders. This may one of the reasons why neocons beat the Paleocons. Neocons knew how to fight, not just frontally but by culturally/intellectually/financially routing the enemy. White bread George Will is a prominent conservative but more of a follower than a leader. When neocons ordered him to be a good goyboy and attack Buchanan, Will did just that. Newt Gingrich was a more creative conservative than most, but he grew up in a troubled home–and so did Bill Clinton. Crisis from childhood sharpened the wits of these men and prepared them for great challenges. They never thought in terms of, “I graduate from college, find lifetime employment, and never worry for the rest of my life.”
Jews have one advantage over waspy types: Obsessivness. Whether this is due to a personality trait, higher intelligence, cultural factors(legacy of Talmudic studies), or social anxiety, it is a reality among Jews. So, even if Jews become very much part of the white mainstream, their obsessiveness stoke the fire of creativity. Many of these obsessions are silly or useless, such as researching and gathering old baseball data, poring through Star Trek novels for meaning, or watching/analyzing every obscure movie from the 1930s. Much of Jewish intellectual obsessions are esoteric or apparently trivial in the eyes of most people: subtextual reading of toilet instruction manuals as a means of patriarchal domination in 19th century Vienna. Colleges are full of that stuff. But, obsessive people are using their brains, always turning over new stones, always on attack mode, always competitive. Even if 99% of their thoughts, ideas, theories, and ‘discoveries’ may indeed be ludicrous, they do dominate intellectual discourse both at the top and margins(two areas from which cultural changes take place, eventually to shape the middle as well–serious ideas/culture often came from the intellectual elite, pop music and everyday lingo from the underclass or underground), and occasion, do make a crucial breakthrough.
Whether it’s chess, rock or movie criticism, archiving lost material, the art scene, scientific ideas, social theory, interest in other cultures, sports writing, Jews tend to be more obsessive than non-Jews. And whereas most people are interested in the LATEST STUFF and tend to be amnesiac, Jews have a strong sense of political, social, and cultural history–for the purpose of understanding, revising, or rehashing(look at Hollywood recycling of all the old stuff).
Jews tell us our own history because they study it. I’ll bet a greater percentage of Jews than white gentiles know about the culture created by white gentiles. Jews are more likely to read up on US history, Shakespeare, and listen to classical music than your average white conservative whose idea of culture is country music or Hollywood Westerns(produced mostly by Jews, btw). Same is true of blacks. Jews are more likely to know about Jazz and blues than most blacks today who care about the LATEST HIPPEST stuff.