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December 2, 2014

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 June 1, 2012/ 11 Sivan, 5772

Our Elegant-less Society

By Greg Crosby



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Remember elegance? Or do you? It's been decades really since anyone or anything in our society might be considered "elegant." Elegant, glamorous, suave, and sophisticated have all left the building. Elegance. Even the word itself sounds elegant. There are actually two meanings for the word elegance. One meaning has to do with scientific exactness and precision, such as an elegant solution. There are plenty of things in today's world which would fit that definition. But that's not the meaning we're concerned with here.

The other definition of elegance, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, means refinement, grace, and beauty in movement, appearance or manners. Using that definition I challenge you to name a person, place or thing in today's society that fits that description. It's not easy but you might actually be able to come up with a throwback old fashioned restaurant or hotel, and maybe a piece of expensive jewelry or china. But what about a person? Where are the Grace Kellys, the Cary Grants, the Audrey Hepburns and Fred Astaires of today?

Notice all the names I listed were movie stars, but celebrities were not the only elegant people, they were only the most visible. Once upon a time elegance was something that many people in all walks of life strived for. There were ladies and gentlemen. People dressed for dinner, they took pride in their appearance and tried to look as elegant as they could. Not every woman was Audrey Hepburn, not every man was Fred Astaire, but they tried their damndest. The bar was high.

Beyond appearance, there was an elegance of attitude that went along with it. When you got dressed up, you acted better. Your manners were better, you spoke nicer, you stood and sat straighter, and you walked a bit more gracefully. It all went together as a package, that's what was so wonderful about it. And other people saw you and treated you better; you elicit more respect and attention when you have an elegant way about you.

All aspects of life were finer. Dinning was a part of living elegantly, hence the term, "fine dinning." Music wasn't an assault, it was beautiful. Compare Cole Porter, Gershwin, and Rogers and Hart with anything written in the last twenty years. Shopping was a joy where sales clerks actually knew the products they were selling and did whatever they could to serve their customers. "Service" was a normal component in daily life whether it was in a store, a restaurant, a gas station, or a movie theater.

The elegance of individuals back then translated to elegance in other forms. Restaurants, hotels, shops, department stores, even office buildings took on a more refined, elegant look. Places had to reflect what people looked and acted like and they did, just as they do now. Years ago people were elegant and the places they went to matched them. Today people look and act sloppy, they are loud and brash and the places they frequent are the same way. Restaurants are bright, loud, noisy and unrefined, same with stores and all other public places. Music (or what passes for music) also matches today's people, as does all the other arts.

Baseball players look like hoboes. Actors look like street people. And try to find a salesclerk in a store who believes in the old saw, "the customer is always right," and really knows the merchandise. The elegance of good manners is gone, people don't say "your welcome" anymore, it's "no problem." Courtesy has gone the way of hats, gloves, and stockings. Consideration of others is no longer a normal part of everyone's daily life; it must be legislated if it exists at all.

Keeping one's affairs private has become as outmoded as going into the buggy whip business. Everyone wants to share everything with everyone else in the world. The irony is no one really cares about anyone else's cat photos or vacation destinations. Still they are posted for the entire universe to see on Facebook. "Here are my friends and me in this totally cool bar at the airport lounge in Sydney. Oh man, we were soooo wasted! LOL"

I suppose we might still come up with a few truly elegant people in life. Prince William and his bride Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, would qualify I think. Author and journalist, Tom Wolfe, has always prided himself for dressing elegantly. And my wife Jane is about as elegant a lady as you're likely to find anywhere.

We can't control what our society is; we have no say in the fashion, music, and mores of our times. What we can do, however, is attempt a bit of personal elegance in our own lives. We can start with taking more pride in our appearance; try to dress things up a bit. Go for the glamour, the refinement, the class. Never mind what others look like, go ahead and "put on the Ritz," as Fred Astaire did. After that, the rest will fall into place.

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.


JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2008, Greg Crosby

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