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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 April 24, 2013/ 14 Iyar, 5773

The times we live in

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The president of the United States, being a gentleman and a man, paid a compliment to California's attorney general -- Kamala Harris -- when both of them appeared at a Democratic fundraiser in that state. Indeed, he paid her several compliments when he addressed the crowd.

"You have to be careful," he began, "to first of all say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you'd want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake." That's when the president got into trouble. For he added this salute: "She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country."

Uh-oh. Not done. Not now. Not anymore and not in the presence of those who take offense at the drop of a compliment paid to the opposite sex. Not only is chivalry dead, but those guilty of committing it are expected to apologize for it. Which the president promptly did. That was the word from his press secretary, Jay Carney, the next day:

"The president did speak with Attorney General Harris last night after he came back from his trip," Mr. Carney told a press briefing the next morning. "He called her to apologize for the distraction created by his comments."

Now we have a president who can't even apologize -- needlessly -- without shifting the blame elsewhere. In this case, from his own comment to the "distraction" it created. This is not being gracious, it's being shifty. Why not just say "I'm sorry," and have done with it? If he must say anything at all.

There was a better time when a gentleman made a point of complimenting a lady on her appearance. And the plainer the lady, the more incumbent on him to do so. The late great H.L. Mencken, aka the Sage of Baltimore, was Southerner enough to request that the gesture be made in his memory: "If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl."

A wink scarcely counts as a courtesy -- besides being vulgar, it can be so easily misconstrued -- but Mr. Mencken's intentions were honorable enough. What a pity that in this charmless age his request would be considered gauche. And sure to attract the attention of the Language Police, who are always on the prowl for any sign of political incorrectness. ("Turn yourself in to the nearest chapter of NOW, Mr. President. The charge is sexism in the first degree.")

Gallantry, once considered incumbent on a gentleman, is not just a dying art, but may have died. Date of death, circa 1963. Attending physician, Betty Friedan, the well-heeled housewife and freelancer who published "The Feminine Mystique" that year and struck it richer. By now even using the word "feminine" as a compliment instead of a diagnosis can get a man in trouble, like doffing his hat for a lady. If gentlemen even wear hats any more.

Try holding the door open for a lady with a chivalrous nod, and the response anywhere outside the South might be a suspicious or at least amused look. ("How quaint.") And even in these blessed latitudes, at least in more urban locales, that custom may be fading. Maybe the trouble started when we lost the distinction between lady and woman, gentleman and man.

Now the president of the United States has let himself be bullied into an apology for daring to extend the kind of compliment that once upon a time would have been considered a gracious gesture. It still should be.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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