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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 7, 2014 / 5 Adar II, 5774

Oscars' Fantasy on the Left Coast

By Suzanne Fields




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Academy Awards are the left coast's great cultural event of the year, more important to the stars than a Hillary Clinton fundraiser. Like them or not, movies drive the culture, reflecting and reacting to what's going on around us. They require our awareness. They can't be dismissed simply because they're the stuff of fantasy.

Fantasy is in vogue on the right coast, too. The Washington Post, once one of the president's most cheerful enablers, observes in an editorial that, "President Obama's foreign policy is based on fantasy." He seeks the happy endings of Hollywood's movies, where wishes come true not because they make practical sense, but because believing in them makes them so. Unfortunately, as he's learning now, we live in Kansas, not Oz. If Russia's invasion of neighboring Ukraine is "a 19th century act in the 21st century," as Secretary of State John Kerry describes it," it's not a costume drama or historical romance.

The president imagines he's a Hollywood star. He dresses, talks and acts like one, taking his dramatic persona and fashion styles from the actors. He, no doubt, thinks the popular television series "West Wing" is reality, and he prefers that to real life, where life is tough and 3 out of 3 people die. Mr. Obama's fondness for heroic rhetoric — in crises in Egypt, Iran, Syria and now Ukraine and Crimea — is backed by nothing more than more rhetoric. Alas, Vladimir Putin knows very well that he's not a player in a Tinsel Town melodrama. He's the villain, and those are real soldiers he's moving into Ukraine and Crimea.

Jared Leto, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, picked up the president's theme of fantasy, appealing to "all the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight in places like Ukraine and Venezuela." He seemed to think that those about to be invaded and have their freedoms taken away were thinking only of the Academy Awards — and of whose dress showed the most bosom. It was a charming appeal to pleasant dreams in the midst of a nightmare. Whimsy, maybe, but not reality.

The emphasis this year was on "niceness," in sharp contrast to the familiar attack mode in Washington. Snarkiness was out (for everyone but Liza Minnelli, accused of being a drag-queen imitation of herself). Hollywood didn't want to imitate the push-pull polarities that plague the relationship between Congress and the president. But the audience could appreciate Kevin Spacey, who in the character of Frank Underwood, the evil politician he plays on the television show "House of Cards," expressing his sinister delight in being out of Washington for the weekend. Touche.



Conservatives don't much like Hollywood because they're not welcome there. Hollywood mocks the old values dear to conservatives, whether political or social. If the president lives in Fantasy Land and stays out of touch, sometimes critics who imagine themselves sophisticated are, too. Matthew Brody of The New Yorker simply couldn't bear Matthew McConaughey's "weirdly confessional speech" with a "taste of old-time religion," thanking God for his success and spontaneously enjoying his dead father's imagined celebratory romp in heaven. One reader asked whether the critic had ever known even one person of faith, and whether believers should "silence their expressions of gratefulness to their Creator." That's hardly necessary, since thanking G0D, once commonplace, is now unique at the Oscars.

The Academy Awards rewards good actors, whose acceptance speeches, while usually narcissistic, sometimes address cultural realities. This year, the awards confirmed that we're not only a nation of diversity, but also one that can reward hard work and talent. Lupita Nyong'o, best supporting actress, grew up in Mexico and Kenya, and eloquently acknowledged that dreams may not necessarily come true, as in a fairy tale, but dreams are valid and worth striving for in an imperfect world. Her dream was built on the story of the pain of the slave woman whose life she depicted. Like many Americans before her, she built success on the tragic endurance and sustained courage of those who came before.

Sometimes life really does imitate art. The Barry Goldwater Institute, a think tank devoted to free market and libertarian values, is pushing bipartisan legislation in the states to solve a problem highlighted in the movie "Dallas Buyers Club." Legislation called "The Right to Try" would enable the terminally ill to bypass the bureaucratic red tape of the Federal Drug Administration to gain access to promising drugs that have passed the first phase of human trials, but are unavailable to the dying. This would be deemed "compassionate use." Hollywood can sometimes inspire serious ideas. The Lord works in mysterious way, and that's no fantasy.

Suzanne Fields Archives

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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