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 Nov 10, 2011 / 13 Mar-Cheshvan, 5772

Fake celebrities ignite real controversy

By Barry Koltnow

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I have watched only one full episode of "Dancing with the Stars" in its 13 seasons, but I picked the right episode to watch.

If I hadn't watched it, I might have questioned my initial reaction to the dance show, which was that it was misnamed. I wondered aloud about calling it "Dancing with the Stars," and suggested renaming it "Dancing with the Vaguely Familiar."

I stayed away for about 12 seasons, but accidentally watched last week's episode. There must have been a baseball rain-out.

Apparently, I have incredible instincts for controversy because last week's episode was rife with controversy.

Even if you don't watch this lame show, you probably have heard about the professional dancer who openly criticized the oldest judge on the panel.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy, a name that rolls off the tongue like Brad Pitt, rudely ripped judge Len Goodman after the latter chided the dancer for his choreography. Chmerkovskiy is partnered with American soccer goalie Hope "Two Great Hands But Two Left Feet" Solo.

The professional dancer took exception to Goodman's criticism, suggesting that the judge retire after nearly 50 years in the business, and then whined about being judged by the judges (you heard me). In a backstage interview, he made matters worse by boasting that he (Maksim) should be treated better by the judges because he is the star of the show and solely responsible for its success. I should mention that he came on the show in its second season, and has never won the competition. Last year, he was paired with Kirstie Alley.

His self-serving statement was met with shock and dismay by the judges and other people associated with the show. To his credit, Maksim wouldn't back down on his criticism of the judge, although his agent/manager/publicist/hairdresser/plumber got him to back off a bit on his "king of the world" speech. The Ukrainian dancer said he was misunderstood, and didn't mean to imply that he was the sole star of the show.

I don't believe him. I believe that we heard exactly what he thinks of his part in making the show a success.

But I don't blame him. I blame you. And I blame me. We are both responsible for creating this Frankenstein monster

We were responsible the day we - the public and the entertainment media - allowed somebody at the network to call this TV show "Dancing with the Stars."

Somebody should have stood up and said, "There are no stars on this show," but that would have flown in the face of our obsession with all things celebrity. We are so desperate for anything labeled "celebrity" that we are willing to invent celebrities when none are to be found.

Call me old-fashioned, but I remember a time when a celebrity was someone who did something to become famous. They may have been a bad actor or a bad singer or a bad baseball player, but at least they were a legitimate member of the celebrity community.

Reality television is responsible for much of this elevation of pseudo-celebrities to full-celebrity status, but it's a chicken-and-egg situation. Can we blame reality television for inventing Kim Kardashian, or was Kim Kardashian invented because we needed to fill those time slots?

Long before the Kardashaians or Chmerkovskiys came along, celebrities have enjoyed a certain sense of entitlement granted by an adoring public.

That is understandable since we don't have a royal family of our own. We naturally bestow royal status on special members of our society. No, not teachers, nurses and soldiers, but rather singers, actors and astronauts. We can't help ourselves.

But as the celebrity-based media expanded, its celebrity base needed to expand, and in a relatively short amount of time, we have more celebrities than ever. There are no longer clear distinctions between classes of celebrities - Snooki and "The Situation" occupy the same rarified space as Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp. Fourth-place finishers on "American Idol" elicit the same reactions from fans as Bruce Springsteen and Tony Bennett. Kendra Wilkinson probably has more followers than Hugh Hefner.

In this TV-hyped battle between Maksim and Len on "Dancing with the Stars," we have a microcosm of everything that is wrong with our celebrity obsession.

On one side, we have the egomaniacal performer, who thinks he is more than the sum of his parts. Then again, who can fault him because he is mobbed by fans wherever he goes, and the media clamors to hear every word he utters.

On the flip side is the dance judge, who I assume worked in obscurity for decades until everything went topsy-turvy, and judges on television grew to be as familiar as judges on the U.S. Supreme Court. Thank you, Simon Cowell, for that.

There isn't much I can do about this phenomenon, except to continue to show no interest in the pseudo-celebrities being spawned on these shows.

We'll talk again in another 13 seasons.

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 on Barry Koltnow's column by clicking here.


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