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In this issue
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 Dec. 1, 2008 / 4 Kislev 5769

Obama's pop culture drama

By Clarence Page

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Email this article | Washington and Wall Street are not the only power centers that are wondering what kind of change President-elect Barack Obama is going to bring. Hollywood moguls are sitting on the edge of their seats in suspense like a teen-aged boy at a sequel to "American Pie."

The entertainment industry is trying to figure out what impact Obama is going to have on popular culture, particularly the big-budget movies that moviegoers around the planet will want to see in a year or two.

"Discussions in our development meetings include the zeitgeist and how it's changed in that last two weeks," Kevin Feige, president of production at Marvel Studios, producers of "Iron Man," told Entertainment Weekly. "Things are being adjusted."

Good luck with that, guys. Presidents do leave big cultural footprints, usually in unpredictable ways. John F. Kennedy brought a glamorous "Camelot" era to stodgy Washington. Lyndon B. Johnson inspired youthful rebellion, mostly against Johnson.

The Depression-era story of "Bonnie and Clyde" surprised many in 1967 by capturing a more devoted youth audience than the hippie-theme movies did. So did the straight-laced but nihilistic "The Graduate."

Richard Nixon's era of Watergate and the "southern strategy" similarly is remembered for the moral relativism of "The Godfather" and the loveable bigot Archie Bunker of "All in the Family."

The Ronald Reagan '80s gave us the military hits "Top Gun" and "Rambo" and revived 1950s-style family comedy with "The Cosby Show." And, let us not forget Oliver Stone's 1987 "Wall Street," with its cynical-yet-timely catch phrase, "Greed is good."

What impact could Obama have? Your guess is as good as mine, but since I've got the column, here's my advice to the movie folks:

Don't try a movie about his life. At least, not yet. We've already seen it played out on TV and YouTube. Hollywood's fantasy factory is no match for the real-life thriller that "No Drama" Obama's quest already has given us.

Look past his politics to the themes that make his story appealing. "A stranger comes to town" is one of the oldest plot hooks in the world. The more Obama's opponents asked, "Who is Barack Obama?" the more they sounded like the befuddled Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid asking, "Who are those guys?" as a posse relentlessly stayed on their tails. The more they asked, the more we viewers wanted to know.

Think of David vs. Goliath. Yes, you can! Audiences love to root for David.

Tomorrow's inspiring, family-friendly themes are yesterday's corny themes repackaged. Some of us remember how John F. Kennedy devastated the men's hat industry by refusing to wear one. Obama's button-down style could inspire a dapper Cosby-style traditionalism, only hipper.

He scored enough cool points to be named one of Ebony's "25 Coolest Brothers of All Time." Yet he did not mind spending a little of that coolness capital during an interview on MTV, of all places, when he announced: "Brothers should pull up their pants. A lot of people may not want to see your underwear. I'm one of them."

Thank you, Mr. President-elect. We parents across America salute you.

Remember, Americans share more than a flag in common. We share a desire for opportunities and achievement. That's why the campaign ad works in which Obama describes his grandfather taking him on his shoulders — "and waving a little American flag" — to see some of the astronauts. "Americans," said grandpa, "We can do anything when we put our minds to it." Sure, the spot could have sounded irredeemably corny. But in the context of Obama's life and the obvious obstacles he was overcoming, irony evaporated.

Which brings up a dilemma that comedians have faced: For the first time since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Obama's victory has revived talk of the alleged death of irony. He's revived so many old-fashioned, tear-jerking good feelings about this country's value to the world that it's hard for comedians to make fun of him without sounding downright unpatriotic. That won't last. Political honeymoons never do. But until that honeymoon passes, Hollywood would do well to savor this moment. For now, Obama has tapped a spirit of national pride, unity and respect for racial and cultural diversity that a lot of us Americans wish could last forever.

Put that on a screen. I'd buy a ticket to see it.

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