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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan 7, 2013/ 25 Teves, 5773

Reality TV, how deep can it sink?

By John Kass

John Kass


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) I can't believe I'm actually going to type the words "reality TV has hit a new low."

But it has, with "All My Babies' Mamas."

If you aren't already depressed about American culture and the entertainment pimps who produce such garbage, check out the saga of the rapper and his 10 former girlfriends and 11 children.

I'm not going to do it. So you'll have to.

It's scheduled to debut on the Oxygen cable channel this spring. Already there's an online petition blasting the producers for creating what amounts to a "minstrel show" — as one blogger called it — stereotypically demeaning African-Americans, especially black women.

I understand why the petitioners are angry. But the show doesn't demean only black women. It demeans us all.

It stars Atlanta rapper Shawty Lo, whose real name is Carlos Walker. In a publicity still, he poses with his co-stars, all 10 of his babies' mothers, who live with him in a fancy mansion in the Atlanta suburbs. His skinny new girlfriend is as old as his eldest child.

Yes, it's predictable. The women scheme and have catfights for our amusement. And after watching the trailer, I hoped for one thing: That Bill Cosby would show up on the set, unannounced, with an ax handle and start swinging.

"This bold new series shows every second of the drama-filled lives surrounding a unique 'modern' family unit, as they navigate their financially and emotionally connected lives," said a recent news release. "As the household grows, sometimes so does the dysfunction, leaving the man of the house to split his affection multiple ways while trying to create order ... sharing your man with several opinionated women is bound to create issues."

Here's an issue. There were more than 500 homicide victims in Chicago last year, most of them minorities. Black and Latino children are gunned down in America's streets every day by other black and Latino kids. Many of the shooters and the victims are raised by single mothers or grandmothers. The pathology isn't merely demeaning, it's deadly. And America is being invited to laugh at it.

"I had a lot of girls," says rapper Shawty. "They was in love and, I probably was too. And it just happened."

It just happened, Mr. Shawty.

The temptation is to engage in some show of racial politics and slam the program for its depiction of African-Americans. So I'll play along, too, for a bit, and say that Mr. Shawty should change his name.

To Stepin' Fetchit.

That name belonged to a character created by a black man years ago, a man who had to play to stereotype, as did so many other black artists. His character was often terribly frightened of ghosts, and his eyes got big and his knees buckled, before another stereotype, Charlie Chan, told him not to be so scared.

Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry, who created the character, felt he had no other choice. Yet his Stepin' Fetchit became a touchstone in the civil rights era, ridiculed because it promoted a negative image. The problem is that "All My Babies' Mamas" isn't fiction. What's dangerous is that there are bits of reality in it, depressing bits, particularly the out-of-wedlock parts.

The producers of this show, Liz Gateley and Tony DiSanto, are white. They've done the eminently forgettable "Paris Hilton's My New BFF." But a much better reality show would have Liz and Tony in meetings with network executives, pitching reality TV shows based on stereotypes.

America would love to see this Hollywood reality, and hear how Liz and Tony's families are so proud of them. Somehow, though, I don't think that show will make it into production.

It's easy to decry "All My Babies' Mamas" as racism. But what of Italian-Americans lampooned on "Jersey Shore," and the ridiculed country folk in "Buckwild" about the West Virginians? They're white. And what of the Beverly Hills wives showing off their bling, locked in surgically enhanced sexual combat, so ridiculous, so sad. None of these botoxed cougars have bore Mr. Shawty's babies, yet.

What does the chunky blond girl called Honey Boo Boo — who is sold these days as some kind of new Shirley Temple — tell us about our culture? To get her energy level up, the 6-year-old Boo Boo's parents give her a combination of Mountain Dew and Red Bull. They call it "go-go juice." That's not the Good Ship Lollipop. That's child abuse.

So what's the next big reality TV hit? They should call it "The Geek."

It won't be about techno-nerds. "The Geek" will rely on the earlier usage of the word, with illiterate poor living on a dilapidated carnival set. Each week, the host will dress like a carny barker and cry out the contestants' names.

Then the players will bite the heads off live rats and so win fame and prizes.

That's what geeks did at the circus. They bit the heads off of live creatures. And Americans rushed forward with their dimes to see others so debased. It made them feel better about their own lives.

That's what reality TV is: Land of the Geeks.

And those of us who watch are invited, again and again, to bathe in our own lowest common denominator.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Comments by clicking here.



Previously:



11/08/12 Thanks, voters, for caring enough to argue
11/05/12 It's Romney by a head
11/01/12 Sandy swoops in to save Obama. Should it be allowed to?
10/18/12 The other side of the emergency room curtain
10/15/12 Droopy Chia candidates get a do-over
10/04/12 :Schoolchildren's stomachs rumble; drama queens grumble
10/01/12 : Chia Obama vs. Chia Romney: May the best greenfro win
09/25/12 : With bitter campaign in full swing, you need to watch some movies
08/02/12 : Toasting culture's absurdities
04/24/12: Why do you have to sell your privacy to win?
10/13/11: Stupid things men say to pregnant women
09/26/11: Desk zero: ‘Contagion’ lurks just outside office bathroom
09/08/11: Light up your lottery tickets, pass the Hopium
08/31/11: It was only a paper moon , but a legendary hoax
05/27/11: For 2012, it's Obama vs. the smoothies
05/05/11: Is it time to de-friend Pakistan?
04/12/11: China stretches the bounds of decency with cow-human-breast milk
03/23/11: No you're not in control; get over it
02/28/11: Chicago wanted a strongman, and it got one
01/26/11: Oh, c'mon, c'mon, Rahm-bo a victim? That's a stretch
12/13/10: WikiLeaks and Assange pretend there are no consequences
12/09/10: Trendy toys don't stand up to playthings of yore
10/11/10: Obama and his pals need some scarce Hopium for the next election
09/14/10: Obama gets a little bossy with tacit endorsement of Emanuel
08/18/10: Dead Meat walking, but heat to be applied again
07/28/10: No verdict, but Blagojevich trial still has its winners, losers
07/26/10: Obama's fall guy in Shirley Sherrod case is Vilsack the Pooh
07/21/10: Loathing of Steinbrenner softens after his death
07/19/10: Summertime, and the race cards are easy
06/28/10: Does Congress have the guts to fix what court gutted? Honestly, no
12/17/09: Belt-tightening presidential aspirant leaves room for Spam
09/27/09: ACORN can teach the GOP a thing or 2
09/03/09: Blago as author gets it wrong yet again 06/22/09: Obama's latest political play should shock no one
06/17/09: Presidential satire takes Hopium break
06/11/09: E-Verify works, so, of course, let's not use it
06/09/09: First Lady Macbeth's the man, so in your face, Eminem
06/02/09: Judge Sotomayor would think me most unwise
05/12/09: Parents, enjoy this time, in all its creepiness
03/18/09: Stem cell policy shift brings a sinking feeling
03/09/09: Name That Blago Book contest names its winner
03/05/09: Contest: Name Blagojevich's book
02/16/09: Dems undercut aid for U.S. workers
01/20/09: Let the carving begin on Tombstone's tomb
01/12/09: Obama serves Reid taste of Chicago Way
01/02/09: Jesters don't pick up the race card in a nationally televised news conference and slam it into the face of every Dem in the Senate, a palm heel strike to the tip of the nose, leaving all of them watery-eyed, their lips stinging
12/24/08: Governor waxes poetic, but Combine rolls on
12/23/08: Got corruption? Get Jesse Junior G-Man
12/18/08: Will ‘feditis’ spread to Obama and Daley?
12/15/08: Man behind curtain is wizard of Rod, Rahm

© 2012, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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