Jewish World Review Jan. 6, 2004/ 12 Teves, 5764

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

You say you want a 'resolution'!? | I fear the New Year's resolution's extinction. I blame the trial lawyers. Once upon a time, January 1witnessed untold vows for those standard physical improvements. Millions promised, after the revelry ended, to diet until they could wear their wedding clothing once again or Oprah's size 10 Calvin Kleins. Others dabbled in exercise covenants, vowing to train until they could jog without involving paramedics. Now we sit back in our heft in our sedentary recliners and command the trial lawyers to sue McDonald's. Nabisco and Oreos are next.

Victim hood breeds slackers. January resolutions seem trite in a world of self-control through prescriptions and stomach staples. The DSM manual will announce a new disorder, "Millions of Americans suffer from the anxiety of FRD (Failed Resolution Disorder)."

FRD will be a new defense, "My killing spree sprung from the pent-up rage of FRD." Then Time magazine will find some crackpot to say FRD is genetic, and we will have to find a new name for New Year's Day because couch potatoes in Yonkers and Alamogordo are offended by the suggestion of self-disciplined new beginnings. Happy Continuum!

The January resolution teeters because the masses won't give an inch toward self-improvement. What is man if not born to conquer the couch and calories? I, therefore, resolve to restore the world's resolve. Herewith, I offer 3 resolutions for the minimalist that would enrich the fabric of society. I do not strike a deal with the devil, but I am willing to navigate underworld currents for the sake of civilization's advancement, something that owes a bit to the annual resolution.

1. Pregnant women everywhere, please buy, borrow, beg or steal MATERNITY CLOTHES, and wear them. I lunge into moral relativism here because the cause warrants. No more tube tops, tank tops, or toddler T-shirts during pregnancy. No more Kate Hudson or Kelly Ripka belly o' baby staring at me from tabloids. What possesses pregnant women to don shirts that could not reach their navels under the best of the Atkins diets? Scantily-clad second- and third-trimester damsels provide far more information than we need. We get it. You're pregnant. You're proud. But, conceal those bellies.

2. Speaking of Atkins, no more. I cannot abide another book on low carbs, South Beach diets or eat-nothing-but-bacon. Go forth, eat your chunks of chicken and breadless diets and be still. Man does not live by bread alone, but he does require a slice now and then. These diets are not working. Americans have never been heavier. Join with Subway, Jared, and me and stop the low carb chatter. I'd call for a halt to the low-carb diets, but that would involve eating a normal, healthy diet, an order too tall for recovering slackers and resolution restoration.

Donate to JWR

3. Speaking of . . . language. I have not barked about idiotic idioms since the days of shifting paradigms, proactive actions, value-added values, and win-win wins. New irritating idioms have evolved and must be stopped before people begin putting air quotations about them.

No more "at the end of the day." "At the end of the day," is TV pundit language and a Democratic strategist phrase. Its translation: once we fast-forward through all the scandals and negative information, we hope no one remembers a thing about them. There were many "ends of the day" during the Clinton administration.

No more "real time." Blame Rumsfield's military for this one. Real time as opposed to fake time? As opposed to dress rehearsals? Except for Joe Klein, the reporter/analyst who believes Howard Dean can beat Bush (at the end of the day), and Al Gore who has not seen reality since inventing the Internet, we are always in real time.

While we are fixing time references, no more 24/7. The 24/7 dot-comers lost their shirts in the market crash. Being able to do anything 24 hours per day/7 days per week finds you broke and working at a Starbucks in Seattle.

No more "thinking out of the box." Arthur Andersen is no more and other accounting firms are sweating bullets and paying millions because their financial reports were outside the box. Accounting is the box. There are debits and there are credits; ne'er the twain shall meet, and especially not in the Cayman Islands, a place not even near the box.

Speaking of thinking, no more critical such. Thinking is, by definition, critical, or it is not thinking. I am willing to expend government funds for counseling and curing teachers who list "Develop critical thinking skills" on their syllabi. For college and university officials who demand such of teachers and professors, the death penalty seems fair. No more, "To be honest with you." As my friend Tim Koegel says, "What on earth does that mean? That the person speaking was lying to you up until now?" One can speak candidly or frankly for a change of pace, but switching gears to honesty gives us pause.

And just to clarify, "To be perfectly honest with you. . ." goes too. Honesty has degrees?

2004 - a time for preserving the new year's resolution. A time for reassurance that we can do it! A time for keeping those bellies inside the box. Low carbers, we need quiet, and, to be perfectly honest with you, at the end of the day, I expect 24/7 real time critical thought.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.

Marianne M. Jennings Archives


© 2004, Marianne M. Jennings