In this issue

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 May 8, 2006 / 10 Iyar, 5766

Man of our dreams

By Meghan Daum

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Sigmund Freud was born 150 years ago Saturday. So, how do you and your mother feel about that?

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Did you feel a strange electrical charge between your id, ego and superegoSaturday? Interpreting the previous night's dreams with a little more gusto? Is the toaster looking especially fetching right about now, causing you to wonder if your polymorphous perversity extends to kitchen appliances?

Fear not. There's an explanation for all this subliminal activity. Saturday was the 150th birthday of Sigmund Freud, the sex-obsessed, Oedipal-complexed "father of psychoanalysis." Don't bother sending a card now, your unconscious mind already did that for you (and wouldn't you like to know what it wrote?).

Sure, certain feminists have always hated Freud for viewing women as deformed males. And, granted, he may have come up with the whole oral fixation concept as a way of rationalizing his 25-cigar-a-day habit, to which he remained committed even after having his malignant jaw removed ("rationalizing," by the way, is a Freudian concept, as is the line "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar" — though perhaps not when you eventually die of cancer).

But there can be no denying that when it comes to the way modern Westerners perceive ourselves, Freud was and is a very big deal.

If not for the contributions of the Shrinkus ex Machina, we would have been deprived of many of the ideas of Kafka and Proust, a great deal of the comedy of Woody Allen and possibly the entire career of Madonna. Freud, after all, is responsible for the modern concept of ego. Without ego, baby boomers would be identifiable only by their passports, and the state of California might not be here at all. Most disturbing, "Like a Virgin" would never have been written.

If you don't believe me, imagine a day without Freud. It would be like a day without immigrants, except with even more hassles because we would have no primal excuse for road rage, no occasion to blame our parents for our failed relationships and no chance to curse the anxieties brought on by our genitals.

We wouldn't even be able to conduct a conversation. Imagine fretting about work or dissecting a relationship without talking about defense mechanisms or repression.

How could we get out of bed in the morning without taking comfort in the fact that hitting the snooze button four times was simply a function of the id, and that those recurring dreams about freight trains have to do with our sexual prowess rather than freight trains? Moreover, how could we justify gum chewing? Instead of being orally fixated, we'd have to admit we're just rude.

ALL THIS MEANS that a century and a half after his birth, Freud may be in the peculiar position of being both absurdly popular and not altogether recognizable. His legacy has become a manifestation of the very psychodynamics he defined: We often bandy his terms about without even realizing where they come from.

How else to explain the ubiquity of the term "anal," which is imparted by sneering teenagers as well as fastidious owners of muscle cars, many of whom wouldn't know Freud from Dr. Phil? How else to understand our obsession with Freudian slips, the pointing out of which has become tantamount to excusing ourselves after we sneeze?

In this sense, Freud is everywhere. He's in Hollywood story meetings where executives and writers gnash their teeth over "what drives the character." He's in courtrooms as attorneys search for criminal motives. He is, above all, in romantic relationships, where he looms over candlelit tables like a ghoulish chaperon.

No first date is complete without a subtle inquiry into the co-dater's relationship with the opposite-sex parent. No potential partner can be evaluated without considering the magnitude of his Oedipal complex (order of mother on speed dial), her penis envy (size of paycheck) and, most important, both parties' capacities for denial (willingness to overlook poor table manners, bad grammar or affinity for Celine Dion — at least temporarily).

All this might sound like little more than the mundane detritus of contemporary life; the lazy, nonspecific vernacular that allows us to believe we're being self-reflective when we're actually just speaking in cliches. But it's also Freud's legacy in action, the side of the couch to which most of us now tend to gravitate. Traditional Freudian analysis (the kind that involves daily orations about childhood trauma with little input from the doctor, except a hefty bill), has been eclipsed by more user-friendly counsel (the kind where your therapist reminds you about the Barney's Warehouse sale).

We'd do well to raise a glass — or a cigar — to Dr. Freud. Without him, we wouldn't be in denial, we'd be in denial of our denial.

And that would require some serious therapy.

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

Meghan Daum is an essayist and novelist in Los Angeles. Comment by clicking here.

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02/20/06 Zillowing hits you where you live
01/16/06 Throwing the book at reality
12/05/05 In-your-face journalism
9/12/05 May Bob Denver, like, rest in peace

© 2006, Los Angeles Times Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate