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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 April 10, 2013/ 30 Nissan, 5773

Monumental mistakes

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The surest reflection of the present is its view of the past. History turns out to be the most contemporary of the plastic arts. For we're always remaking it in our own image. Which may explain the great wave of mediocrity now sweeping over Washington in the form of new public monuments.

Put all new additions together and you have a Picasso-like portrait of the disjointed, sentimental, unsatisfying spirit of the times. Or rather spiritlessness. For these structures lack exactly what any great memorial should have: A unifying vision. Like the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, or the towering Washington Monument.

These new monuments are all products of today's revolt against the classical, which is now cast aside as irrelevant, useless, the residue of a dead past. As if the past were not what the present is made of. These new invocations of our history turn out to be ... ahistorical.

Critics of classical architecture may assume that it is revered only because it has been around so long; they forget why it has lasted -- because it embodies ideal geometric forms: the pyramid, the circle, the square. Call them platonic forms, a concept that would be instantly understood if anybody read Plato any more.

The simple pillar, the over-arching dome, the columned temple ... they have more than just the passage of time to recommend them; they were right from the first. And remain so.

Remember those funhouse mirrors that amused you -- and maybe frightened you too -- when you were a little kid? The superstitious fear they invoked? Why, if you stared at them long enough, you might start to look like that!

The feeling is related to the childhood legend that if you put on some awful face to amuse or frighten others, your own features would be frozen in a permanent grimace. In the case of awful public monuments, the fear is all too real. Impressionable young minds could be shaped forever by images that are misbegotten from the first and then perpetuated generation after generation.

The worst of this new crop of monuments in Washington has got to be the super-sized image of Martin Luther King, which does indeed have a single theme. And it is awful: He was great, we are small. Not just small but tiny. Visitors are reduced to pygmies come to pay tribute to some great mute idol, its eyes only slits, its mouth immobile, its arms folded, its expression forbidding. The monument's sculptor reversed Martin Luther King's metaphor: He took a stone of hope and turned it into a mountain of despair.

It is hard to think of any way in which this image of Baal is true to the man or his message. The great preacher, the master orator, is reduced to a wordless monolith. The designers did add some of Dr. King's words here and there as a kind of afterthought, but they couldn't even get all those right.

The spirit of the classical, its sensitivity both to its own time and to eternity, can still be captured, even heightened in modern public art. See the Vietnam Memorial by a 21-year-old architecture student at Yale named Maya Lin, whose design demonstrated a classical sensibility, a perfectly attuned sense of place, a respect for the terrain, and a Periclean reverence for the war dead. Not to mention her understanding that the democratic ethos is the most individualistic of all, name by name.

The natural serenity of her design could not be marred even after it was potchkied up by some statuary here and there. Such is the power of public art that is art.

The best news in the paper the other day may have been the congressional revolt against the proposed Eisenhower Memorial, which is really more a nondescript little park than a tribute to a man who is only now being recognized as one of our great presidents.

Ike long had been recognized as one of our greatest -- and least dramatic -- generals. Maybe that's what kept so many of us from seeing his greatness for so long; he recoiled at the aura of Great Man that lesser leaders cultivate. He was just Ike to millions of Americans -- in war and peace.

Ike's proposed memorial in Washington (at last!) is much like the one dedicated to another great president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, for it, too, consists of a series of disjointed scenes rather than one unifying vision. It is the antithesis of the classical. And it too is wrong in every way:

This memorial to the supreme commander of the Crusade in Europe is depicted as a simple Kansas farm boy, as if Supreme Commanders rise to the top by being simple-minded. The man who brought peace and unity to a country disheartened and divided by a deadlocked war on a still dangerous Asian peninsula is to be remembered as ... what? It's not clear. There are too many images presented for any one to be worth remembering.

A president who guided the country to prosperity by sticking to the oldest of copybook maxims (like balanced budgets) is to be memorialized by an extravagant memorial that says little or nothing except that it would cost a lot. And already has.

In the end, the design for the Eisenhower Memorial is not a tribute to the Ike we knew or want future generations to know, but to its designer, a globe-trotting entrepreneur who specializes in memorializing mainly himself -- the atrocious Frank Gehry, whose work has disfigured the landscape from Seattle to Bilbao.

Mr. Gehry's trademark forms do not follow function but betray it -- unless the function is to reduce public art to his own corporate brand. But there's no denying that this most celebrated architect of our age has caught and, worse, shaped the spirit of his times. Or maybe the absence of any clear spirit. Call it the Age of Uncertainty. His guiding muse seems to be Chaos, accompanied as always by her handmaidens Anarchy and Irony.

No wonder Hillary Clinton, on winding down her quite literal tour(s) as secretary of state, called for "a new architecture for this new world, more Frank Gehry than formal Greek...." As she explained: "Some of his work at first might appear haphazard, but in fact, it's highly intentional and sophisticated. Where once a few strong columns could hold up the weight of the world, today we need a dynamic mix of materials and structures."

Yes, and all arranged, in the style of Mr. Gehry's more funhouse designs, as if collapsing. No wonder, too, that Ms. Clinton would cap her stewardship of American foreign policy -- which became an ever more haphazard, unaccountable, unfocused, and uncertain blob under her "leadership" -- by presiding over that bloody debacle at Benghazi.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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