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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 Oct 19, 2011 / 21 Tishrei, 5772

The Anatomy of a Protest

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Gravity has its laws courtesy of Sir Isaac Newton, and protest has its authoritative field notes by Eric Hoffer.

A longshoreman and philosopher in pretty much that order, Eric Hoffer described the protesters of his time, the Hippies and Yippies of the Sixties, with such enduring insight that he might have been talking about Occupy Wall Street today.

The specific focus of protests, if any, may change with the times. But the general spirit remains remarkably the same. It's a kind of free-floating dissatisfaction with the world. Or maybe the dissatisfaction is just with the protesters' place in it.

The over-all impression remains the same: Lots of gripes, many only half-formed, and no real program except the haziest of generalities. And even those may be self-contradictory. Or as Eric Hoffer put it, "What monstrosities would walk the streets were some people's faces as unfinished as their minds."

Clarity and coherence just aren't high on these protesters' order of priorities. Indeed, such qualities may be viewed as tools of the System, a kind of suppression of their freedom, their spontaneity, their creativity, and above all their general sense of indignation at being insufficiently appreciated.

Asking the protesters to justify their ideas, or even to fully articulate them, may be seen as just another way to keep them down.

Like any other theatrical production with costumes from the East, modern protests tend to go on the road sooner or later, starting off on Broadway and then branching out to the Dubuques and Peorias for limited engagements.

The protesters don't seem interested in justifying their gripes, just expressing them. As if what they're really after is the comforting feeling of group solidarity.

To quote a protester in Little Rock who just dropped out of college, "I'm just glad we're stepping up together...." Even if it isn't clear what they're stepping up (or down) to.

What is it, exactly, that they're protesting? The answer is the same as that of Marlon Brando's character in "The Wild Ones," a movie made in 1953. He plays the leader of a gang of bikers who set out to take over a small town for no particular reason, like any other rebels without a cause. When a local asks him what he's rebelling against, all he can say is: "Whatcha got?"

He's just "mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Which is a line from "Network" (1976). When it comes to protests, the theme remains remarkably unchanged over time -- a general sense of betrayal. To sum it up: We played by the rules, we did the right thing, and we still haven't got what we want, which usually comes down to money and status -- even if those are the things the protesters are supposed to be protesting.

Listen to this dissatisfied demonstrator, a 49-year-old Harvard graduate with a master's degree from New York University who lost her job in publishing a couple of years ago: "I did everything I was supposed to do. I have two fancy degrees. I'm from a union home, raised to believe in the system. But you know what? The system doesn't work! It's too polluted with corporate money."

It's all the System's fault. Certainly not Harvard's or NYU's and most certainly not her own.

What do you suppose her two degrees were in, a sense of self-entitlement?

This is not to say that all protests are born equal. Lest we forget, this republic was born in protest, usually in the vicinity of Boston, Mass., aka The Cradle of Liberty.

How differentiate between protests that lead to liberty under law, and to more respect for human dignity and self-reliance rather than less?

Just ask the reason for the protest. Ask for specifics. By their specifics you shall know them, and whether the protest is serious or just for show.

Those colonial protesters had definite grievances -- various taxes and navigation acts that restricted their trade. They weren't protesting against some vague generality (The System, Wall Street, Corporate Money) but against this or that specific act of parliament, this or that infringement on their long-established rights, or maybe some state monopoly, like the one granted the British East India Company over the sale of tea in the colonies.

See the Declaration of Independence for the full bill of particulars. These protesters in the colonies knew just what they were rebelling against, and, when asked, didn't have to mumble, "Whatcha got?"

Maybe today's protesters will reach that point. Let's hope so. It would be a decided improvement. In the meantime, they might stay off the grass. It's the least they can do for the environment.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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