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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 Oct. 17, 2013/ 13 Mar-Cheshvan, 5774

A chilling lack of grown-ups

By Meghan Daum



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) It's been 30 years since the release of "The Big Chill," the ensemble drama about baby boomers pining for their lost youth while sprawled out on the floor of a vacation house and playing a lot of Motown music. If this reference eludes you, it's safe to say that you can consider yourself still young. If you remember this movie at all — especially if you remember the hype around its status as a cultural touchstone — I'm afraid you're tilting ever so slightly (or falling at a 90-degree angle) into the category "old."

I was just 13 when "The Big Chill" was released in late September 1983, so I didn't catch all of its nuances when I sneaked into the theater to see it. But I could tell one thing for sure: These people were grown-ups. They had vacation houses and serious careers and grown-up problems, like what to do about their fading ideals or dwindling fertility or lackluster marriages. I couldn't imagine I would ever be that old.

Watching the movie again recently, I felt the same way. Which would be OK except that the characters in it are younger than I am now.

I bring this up not to encourage you to revisit the power suits and relentless nostalgia of Reagan-era baby boomers (and if "The Big Chill" doesn't mess with your mind enough, you might brave the smug, shoulder-padded waters of TV's "thirtysomething") but to point out how much notions of adulthood have changed, especially according to the entertainment media. Namely, adulthood doesn't exist, or at least should be avoided at all costs.



To watch even a few hours of prime-time television, or to view even a handful of widely circulated YouTube videos, is to be reminded that 40 is not just the new 30 but, in fact, the new 18. Miley Cyrus may have launched a thousand reproachful blog posts and enriched America's vocabulary with all her twerking and jerking on the MTV Video Music Awards in August, but her equally lewd dance partner was 36-year-old Robin Thicke, whose Marvin Gaye-inspired (some would say pilfered) hit song "Blurred Lines" provided their soundtrack.

She's 20 and acting out, albeit in an unfortunate if predictable manner. But shouldn't he have known better?

Apparently not. Thicke's age (and comportment) seemed to bother far fewer people, and maybe that should be no surprise, given our culture's penchant for letting men off the hook and, moreover, its affinity for bratty grown-ups. "Breaking Bad" was heralded for its dazzling plot twists, but a significant amount of its appeal lay in its willingness to let a middle-aged family man team up with a 20-ish punk kid and effectively destroy his community with a recklessness more suited to a much younger man.

Carrie Mathison, the bipolar heroine of Showtime's "Homeland," is a brilliant intelligence officer who's 34 and lives with her father and sister. Lena Dunham, creator of HBO's "Girls," fashioned her 24-year-old heroine, who sports tattoos of children's book characters and eats cupcakes in the bathtub, into a kind of sex-positive 5-year-old.

Granted, in a lot of ways, 40 has been forced to be the new 30, 20, 18. Traditional signifiers of crossing into adulthood — like marriage and having kids and buying starter homes — tend to come later these days, thanks in part to sexual liberation and assisted reproductive technologies that free us to have kids much later than used to be imaginable, the Great Recession, and exorbitant housing costs and student loan debt that can keep us in the world of rentals and roommates well into our 30s and beyond.

That doesn't make the contrast between contemporary and old-school adulthood any less striking. But it does show how confused we've become about what's age-appropriate. Would Cyrus' antics be less shocking if she were 25, or even 22? Would we have been more appalled by Thicke 30 years ago, when men of his age were expected to be not gyrating on MTV but lying around their friends' country houses declaring that all the best music had already been made?

Almost certainly so. What's more, if Thicke were a "Big Chill" character, he'd be waxing righteous about Motown legends rather than ripping them off. And that might have saved everyone a lot of grief.

Wow, I am old.

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.

Comment by clicking here.

Meghan Daum is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times.


© 2013,the Los Angeles Times

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