Home
In this issue
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 Nov. 11, 2009 / 24 Mar-Cheshvan 5770

Questions

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Why would anyone write "it goes without saying" if it really did? As in: "It goes without saying that Afghans have had enough of violence." --Steve Coll in The New Yorker magazine's "The Talk of the Town" column, October 26, 2009. If it goes without saying, why say it?

And why do I still subscribe to The New Yorker? Invincible hope? It's certainly not expectation. It's because the cartoons are still the best. It's because the covers can still intrigue.

It's because The New Yorker is still a kind of social barometer, accurately reflecting the current state of the culture: pathetic, juvenile, with-it and fraudulent in the main. Yet on occasion a stunning surprise will burst out of the usual clouds of fadtalk.

Now and then there's a piece so good in the magazine you wouldn't want to miss it. I can't think of one offhand, or even after some thought, but surely one will appear. We live in hope, or maybe just blind faith. More often there's an article so bad you wouldn't want to miss it. You stare at it in disbelief, the way you can't help but look at a car wreck by the side of the road.

The literary crash is usually the work of Malcolm Gladwell. Like his strange take on "To Kill a Mockingbird" and the Southern ethos in general. You have to be a Yankee, or maybe just a Canadian, to combine so much ignorance with so much arrogance. Much like Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, Brother Gladwell can simplify anything and make it sound like an amazing insight. For about 45 seconds. Less if you've come to know to know his shtick.

Why do I still still glance at every issue of The New Yorker? Force of habit? Maybe just to see how the mighty have fallen, and wonder at what Harold Ross' little magazine has come to. Or what William Shawn would have had to say about its decline but never fall. There were real editors in those days of yore.

Or maybe I flip through the pages out of duty, because checking out the current New Yorker is … tradition! Reader loyalty is a wondrous thing. I depend on it myself.

Why does The New Yorker still intrigue? The ads, for one thing. They're a sure guide to what passes for life among the monied. Pitches for psychiatric hospitals alternate with those for overpriced geegaws. Those for the mental clinics seem to talk the way people on the Upper East Side do -- in sporadic italics: "Unparalleled psychiatric evaluation and treatment. Unsurpassed discretion and service." (sic)

My favorite ad? "BOOKSBYTHEFOOT.COM/ Dozens of styles for Interior Designers and Book Lovers, starting at $6.99 per linear foot." At last, a use for all the books that keep piling up at my house: interior decoration.

What keeps hope alive for little magazines like The New Yorker? Or little magazines unlike The New Yorker? Such as my favorite, The New Criterion, this era's version of Partisan Review for the culturally conservative, who scarcely comprise a mass market. And who take a perverse pride in being a small minority.

Yet there was a time when books celebrating the idea of a cultural elite were best-sellers -- Jose Ortega y Gasset's "The Revolt of the Masses," for example, which had nothing much good to say about the masses. Or Richard Weaver's "Ideas Have Consequences." They became mass phenomena. Only in America?

Well, only in the America of the past, the America of the Reader's Digest, the earnest America of visiting lecturers appearing at the municipal auditorium as part of some cultural uplift series. I miss middlebrow culture; it took ideas and their propagation seriously.

Why thumb through The New Yorker when it has fallen to such low estate? Maybe because of a vague hope that somewhere between the covers there'll be the kind of lapidary short story so perfect, so elegant, so without any purpose but beauty and pain, that it will bring back a time when you first read Updike or Nabokov or Cheever or Iris Murdoch or J. D. Salinger or V. S. Naipaul or Alice Munro in its pages, and couldn't get over it. And still haven't. Memory is loyalty.

Paul Greenberg Archives

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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.

© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles