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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 Oct. 8, 2013/ 4 Mar-Cheshvan, 5774

America's Cultural Chasm

By Mona Charen




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Denouncing the dysfunction in Washington has become a cliche. For a change of pace, let's decry the putrefaction in American popular culture. (There are bright spots, but those will have to await another column.)

Miley Cyrus is America's id. She is all desire — for fame, for attention, for money - without any mediating influences like conscience, character, prudence or taste. America celebrates her. She gets some criticism, but she can laugh it off, because she knows she's cool. Do you doubt her importance? She hosted Saturday Night Live this week — the apotheosis of hip.

Reviewing her performance on SNL, USA Today declared that Cyrus had "steered clear of controversy". Seems low standards are contagious. Riffing about her VMA act, Cyrus boasted that she heard from "angry mothers" and "turned on fathers." Nice. During the show, she and the SNL cast performed an incredibly raunchy version of one of her songs (but I repeat myself) keyed to the government shutdown. Cyrus gyrated and faux-masturbated as Michelle Bachmann, while Taram Killam was featured as a very gay, pierced, underwear-clad John Boehner who humped whatever was nearby.

Ah, nothing like good fun for Saturday Night Live and America's tongue-lolling sweetheart. We all need to loosen up, don't we? It's just a joke. SNL portrays Barack Obama in similar ways all the time, right?

The hippest show on TV illustrates the cultural chasm that separates liberals and conservatives. Liberals laugh as conservative politicians are depicted in porn-style videos. But if a rodeo clown dons an Obama mask, it's a month-long scandal. (The rodeo organizers apologized to Obama.)

Even if SNL were to turn the tables and lampoon Democrats in similar fashion, conservatives would be repelled by the vulgarity, not amused.

There's another scandal in this story. Saturday Night Live apparently got good ratings for Cyrus' appearance. Doubtless that's the only standard they honor. But let's consider what they are approving by having her host the show.



As I wrote after the VMA display, Cyrus is not just aping her sisters Madonna, Lady Gaga and Beyonce in attempting to use raunch as an attention magnet. Cyrus's unique contribution to our cultural sludge is to mainstream kiddie porn. Cyrus' status as a former Disney star and her use of teddy bear imagery in a lewd dance amounts to sanctioning child porn. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Cyrus explained: "I know what I'm doing. I know I'm shocking you. When I'm dressed in that teddy bear thing, I think that's funny. I was saying yesterday, I had this obsession about this character that's like an adult baby. Like if you see a baby do something like that it's so warped and weird, but there's something creepily hot about it. So when I'm in that teddy bear suit, I'm like a creepy, sexy baby."

Cyrus had said that her inspiration for her new music video "Wrecking Ball," in which she does her trademark naked licking and straddling while also excreting auto-tuned wails of some sort, was the Irish singer Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares to You."

O'Connor, a leftist of particular vehemence who once tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II and refused to perform if the U.S. national anthem were played at one of her concerts, is nonetheless critical of Cyrus' gambit. She published an open letter to Cyrus warning that "I am extremely concerned ... that those around you have led you to believe ... that it is any way 'cool' to be naked and licking sledgehammers."

O'Connor continues, "None of the men ogling you give a s—- about you either. Many's the woman mistook lust for love. ... You ought to be protected as a precious young lady by anyone in your employ and anyone around you, including you. ... We don't encourage our daughters to walk around naked because it makes them prey for animals. ... No one who cares about you could support your being pimped."

O'Connor's words were tough, but the message was one of support for Cyrus's dignity as a woman and an artist.

Cyrus responded on Twitter by reposting a series of pained messages O'Connor had tweeted while suffering a nervous breakdown several years ago and searching for a psychiatrist. With casual cruelty, Cyrus tweeted: "Before Amanda Bynes ... there was ..." She then offered that she had no time to respond to the open letter because she was preparing for her star turn on SNL.

That's the sort of person Saturday Night Live, the arbiter of American pop culture coolness, celebrates and honors.

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