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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 Sept. 25, 2012/ 9 Tishrei, 5773

With bitter campaign in full swing, you need to watch some movies

By John Kass

John Kass


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What are the three most important films for American voters to watch as we prepare for Election Day in November?

Is your choice "The Great McGinty"? That's an almost ancient but wickedly clever Preston Sturges film about a drunken bum picked out of the gutter by what could be a dead ringer for the Chicago political machine, who goes on to become governor.

Or perhaps "Network," just for the cynicism of TV types who shape our politics, and that shrieking refrain, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore," which is now repeated, endlessly, on cable news from commentators on the left and the right.

Certainly, I have my own favorites, and we'll get to them, but I'd also like to see yours. We're a visual nation now, what with our new iPhone 5s and our snappy YouTube politics and TV talk show hosts who define the great debate. So it's only natural to ask about political films to get us into the proper frame of mind for what will be a bitter election.

What about books, you say?

"I can't read. ... I like to watch TV," said Chauncey Gardiner, the naive simpleton and empty vessel who walked on water and was poised, the last time I saw him, to become president of the United States.

But if you insist on my book recommendations in a column about must-see political films, I can only suggest two books for this election:

"The Road to Serfdom" by F.A. Hayek, and if the title isn't self-explanatory, then it's already too late.

I'd also offer another, smaller document, but it fell out of favor years ago. Once considered the most important read for Americans, these days it's never discussed. Especially not at book clubs where the wine label is the most compelling read and everybody wants to know what stupid things the husbands did last week.

The second choice is more like a pamphlet, and it's called the Constitution, cobbled together by dead old males of European heritage who believed in antiquated concepts like individual liberty and freedom. Is it available on Kindle?

There are three films that every American must see in preparation to vote on Nov. 6. And what are these?

"Idiocracy," a 2006 film directed by Mike Judge, starring Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph.

The premise? Wilson plays Joe, a slacker, and Rudolph plays Rita, a hooker. They're recruited by the Army to be frozen and thawed in the future. But the future they awaken to is a scary place.

All the smart people delayed childbirth, but all the dumb people didn't wait, and the result was an America populated by imbeciles. Their favorite TV show is "Ow, my (testicles)!" Their favorite movie was named, well, let's just call it "Buttocks" and it ran for 90 minutes, and that's all it was, 90 minutes of watching buttocks.

Narrator: "Things looked bleak for Joe, but they looked even worse for mankind. As Joe and Rita lay dormant, the years passed and mankind became stupider at a frightening rate. Some had high hopes that genetic engineering would correct this trend in evolution. But sadly, the greatest minds and resources were focused on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections."

When Joe wakes up, he can't help but speak in complete sentences, and the future Americans view this with suspicion and fear. Socialized medicine is a nightmare, and the people are starving because they insist on watering their crops with a Gatorade-like drink called Brawndo, because electrolytes are "what plants crave."

There is a happy ending. Joe is rescued by the president (a former porn star) and later becomes president himself to save his people. At the end, Joe has a very nice speech:

"There was a time in this country, a long time ago, when ... people wrote books and movies, movies that had stories so you cared whose (buttock) it was and why it was farting, and I believe that time can come again."

Another must-see film is "Ridicule" (1996), directed by Patrice Leconte. Yes, it is subtitled, but deliciously witty and malevolent.

The plot: In prerevolutionary France, a young nobleman named Gregoire hopes to help his people by draining the swamps to eliminate the mosquitoes that spread disease. He travels to the court at Versailles. Once there, he soon learns that malicious wit is the prime currency, sort of like snarky tweets of today, only better.

Gregoire's new friend is the Marquis de Bellegarde, who has a lovely daughter.

Bellegarde (as he's powdering Gregoire's face): "Serious topics are deplored. Avoid them."

Gregoire: "I'll restrain myself."

Bellegarde: "Be witty, sharp and malicious and you'll succeed. No puns. At Versailles we call puns 'the death of the wit.' ... One last thing: Never laugh at your own jokes."

Bellegarde teaches him the prime directive: That wit opens every door.

In that time, verbal malevolence was highly prized, and small snippets of easily repeated thought outweighed context and complex arguments. It was the put-down that counted. Of course, a few years later, the peasants lopped off the aristocrats' witty heads. And I'm sure nothing like that would ever happen again.

Naturally, I've saved "Being There" (1979) for last. Another generation of children has grown up, and if they haven't seen it, they should. The novel was written by Jerzy Kosinski. He also wrote the screenplay for the film directed by Hal Ashby. Peter Sellers stars as a simpleton gardener known as Chauncey Gardiner who has an amazing, almost magical effect on people.

All he knows comes from TV shows, but when he repeats lines from what was once called the "boob tube," everyone around him hears deep and abiding wisdom.

Send me your favorites. We don't have much time. The election is only weeks away.

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:



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

© 2011, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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