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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 August 29, 2011 / 29 Menachem-Av, 5771

Socialist Realism on the Mall

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Martin Luther King Jr., now has his Washington memorial just where it should be: on the National Mall.

But that's about all that's good about it. Because everything else about it raises misgivings. The deepest misgivings.

To judge by the photographs, any resemblance between this monolith and Martin Luther King is purely coincidental. It fails even to hint, let alone capture, the essence of the man -- his Southern, his American, his Christian core.

The arms of the figure are folded, its pose unnatural, its features severe, with its closed lips, its eyes deadened. Most unconvincing of all are those arms folded across the chest, instead of outstretched as if to save. Everything about the great image seems strained, nothing about it natural. It is not at all like the black Southern Baptist preacher we remember -- imploring, loving, prophetic, calling for the justice, justice that thou shalt pursue.

What a contrast with Daniel Chester French's enduring Lincoln in that president's Memorial -- so sorrowful, so feeling, so compassionate, so sad-eyed, so wise. Made wise by suffering. For unearned suffering, said Martin Luther King Jr., is redemptive.

You can see the truth of that assertion, that belief, that truth in the furrowed features of French's Lincoln, who never so looked the part of Father Abraham. It would not surprise if those stone eyes were to weep for his country, dismembered before those eyes, reunited in a terrible war and a new birth of freedom.

Sorrowful as that Lincoln is, it elevates. Like true tragedy. But the new King Memorial depresses. As a failure to understand always does. This monument does not have the feel of tragedy but of travesty. It does neither Martin Luther King Jr. nor the history he made justice. It fails to capture the man who carved a stone of hope out of the mountain of despair. There is nothing here of the living man whose words illuminated the American Dream for his generation and, God willing, many more.

Maybe what makes this stone-faced figure so wrong, so monumentally wrong, are those folded arms. As if this prophet were resisting change rather than urging it. This pharaonic image (30 feet high) looks down at the multitudes rather than speaking to us one-to-one as Dr. King did, "black and white together," in the words of the old civil-rights anthem.

This towering figure emerges from the stone silent, its jaws clenched, its mouth sealed rather than full of praise for the Lord. The people walking by are dwarfed, not raised. It is hard to imagine Dr. King's unceasing biblical allusions issuing forth from this great graven image --

We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

And when this happens, . . . we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last!

But the quotations chosen for the memorial seem one big mass and mess of what Dr. King called "pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities" in his immortal Letter From a Birmingham Jail.

Most of the phrases around the statue seem to have been chosen solely on the basis of their universal triteness. Who in the world picked these platitudes out of the treasure that is Martin Luther King's rich legacy of words? Some tone-deaf editor who leaves every vapid generality in a speech while crossing out any sign of real insight or daring truth?

Did Joe Biden have anything to do with this? Anybody who made some of the comments he did on his recent visit to mainland China, which amounted to one long kowtow to its Communist masters, would be perfectly capable of misunderstanding Dr, King and his times, too. The vice-president of the United States of America expressed the greatest sympathy for Communist China's rulers, their coercive one-child policy and anti-life decrees in general, little for its people, and even less for its courageous political dissenters and bravely practicing Christians. He dared not even call them by name. He had come not to challenge injustice but to praise it.

In the end, what is to be said of this monumental mistake on the National Mall, standing there in the company of Lincoln and Jefferson? It is in its way perfectly indicative of today's popular culture -- grandiose without being eloquent. It is the very opposite of the elegant, of the simple, of the true greatness of Martin Luther King Jr. and his dream. The killers of the dream have done their work again.

This much the new memorial on the mall makes clear: It takes more than a chisel to make a great piece of sculpture; it takes understanding. It comes as no surprise to learn that the sculptor who did this thing is a veteran of the Maoist school of memorabilia in Communist China, having been commissioned to produce some 150 public monuments in the People's Republic (which is neither), including more than a few to Chairman Mao himself.

Who is this Svengali who can take a living, breathing dreamer and all his dreams, and reduce them to unfeeling stone?

Socialist Realism, thy name is Lei Yixin. And what you clearly don't understand about Martin Luther King Jr., or about America and the American Dream for that matter, is a lot.

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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