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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 March 2, 2010 / 16 Adar 5770

Voyeurism Dressed As a Public Service

By Mona Charen




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's none of my business what Barack Obama's LDL cholesterol level is. And I don't have to know that he is using nicotine therapy to attempt to kick his smoking habit. But all of this and more is dutifully passed along after the president's annual physical. Want to know his resting heart rate? It's available. And we're told that President Obama has been instructed by his physicians to "eat healthier" and "moderate his alcohol intake."


What to make of this annual invasion of privacy? We've been privy to similar details about other presidents — sometimes to an excruciating degree (President Carter revealed his troubles with hemorrhoids). In part, this may be a response to President Eisenhower's 1955 heart attack. Treatment was less sophisticated then, and the president spent seven weeks in the hospital. That was discomfiting enough, but with the advent of nuclear weapons, the Cold War, and the "football," anxiety about a possibly debilitated president led to passage of the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which provided for the smooth transition of power in the event the sitting president should die or become incapacitated.


But a Cold War sensitivity to the president's health is not the whole explanation for our current fetish for private health information. After all, Bill Clinton's refusal to release his medical records didn't undermine confidence in his ability to fulfill his term. So something else is going on.


Surely, it's one part voyeurism. They dress it up as a public service but it's gossip all the same. Whenever a public figure undergoes a medical test or surgery, we get minute-by-minute updates on his condition and full-color graphics of the affected part of the poor sop's body. When former president Clinton checked into an N.Y. hospital to have a stent placed in one of his arteries, CNN and the other cable channels were ready with easels and experts to walk us through it as if each of us were a family member. It was the same when Dick Cheney suffered a recent heart attack.


Concern for even the smallest details of a person's health is the proper realm of family and close friends, don't you think? To broadcast your stent operation or upper GI series or whatever on MSNBC is undignified — or what the 18th century would probably have called too "familiar."

Letter from JWR publisher


Besides, there lurks beneath all of this professed concern another sentiment — less noble. In the case of Cheney, several news types expressed the "hope" that the former vice president was sticking to his diet and exercise regimen. When Clinton became ill, the AP reminded us of his eating habits: "Clinton's legend as a voracious and unhealthy eater was sealed in 1992, when the newly minted presidential candidate took reporters on jogs to McDonald's. He liked hamburgers, steaks, French fries — lots of them — and was a sloppy eater who could gobble an apple (core and all) in two bites and ask for more." It surfaces again and again — a bossy smugness about other people's health.


We have arrived at a cultural moment when no one would dream of waxing judgmental about your sexual life or your manners, but we feel free to place you in metaphorical stocks for offenses against health. To prove yourself, show us your HDL-to-LDL ratio!


The busybodies who ask about the health habits of prominent people must imagine that they are performing a public service of some sort. Don't we hear incessantly about the crisis of obesity and sedentary habits? But while it makes sense to encourage the society as a whole to curb its outsize appetite for red meat, fried potatoes, and sugary sodas, it's hardly fair to single out individuals for scolding. In the first place, it's none of our business. And secondly, it's completely unfair. Nature is unpredictable. Some who exercise and eat a low-fat diet nevertheless have high cholesterol levels. And the reverse is often true as well.


But finally, it comes down to this: We are mortal. We sicken and die. This is a problem that not even Barack Obama claimed to be able to solve. Ailing people need sympathy and support. But Americans have veered awfully close to treating illness as a character flaw.

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Comment on JWR contributor Mona Charen's column by clicking here.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate

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