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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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 May 13, 2014 / 13 Iyar, 5774

The hot pursuit of trash and trivia

By Wesley Pruden




JewishWorldReview.com | Memories can last forever. Americans of a certain age remember where they were when they heard the news that John F. Kennedy was dead, slain by an assassin. Most people remember watching Neil Armstrong take man's first steps on the moon, and remember who they were with. The toppling of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, a date that lives in infamy with Dec. 7, 1941, is etched in the memory of everyone with a television set.

So where were you when you heard that Michael Sam had finally been drafted in the seventh round of the annual player draft of the National Football League? Mark it well. Time magazine says history will look back on it "as the moment professional sports changed forever." Breaking the sodomy barrier "wasn't just a football decision, it was history in the making."

Mr. Sam, who is finishing his education at the University of Missouri, knows a lot more than how to sack a quarterback. He knows how to suck the last few kilobytes out of his 15 minutes of fame. For three days the hype hucksters kept the world - or at least themselves - agog with the question of the age: Will they or won't they draft the man who would be "the first openly gay player in the NFL"? The morning after "they" finally did, Mr. Sam got a bonus minute of celebrity, complaining that making him wait until the seventh-round selection was cruel and unusual punishment. "I should have gone in the third or fourth round."

But once professional sports was changed forever, or at least until the world moved into the next cycle of what passes for news, the passionate pursuit of trash and trivia resumed briskly to other epochal events. The "investigative reporters" (not so long ago a newspaper reporter was an "investigator" by definition) have decamped to Twitter, where they distill the results of arduous and expensive investigations to 140 characters. This works out to about 10 to 15 words, which you might think is not very many, but any more than that would exhaust the attention span of many Internet readers. "News" has to become gossip merely to survive. It's the way, as Michael Sam demonstrated, to extend "the life of the narrative."

This has killed the traditional edited gossip column in Washington. Diana McLellan set the standard many news cycles ago with the "Ear," first in the old Washington Star and then in The Washington Post and finally in The Washington Times. Wit as well as humor, that exceedingly rare combination, made it the morning's first read for hundreds of thousands of readers.

But not everyone can fish successfully deep in the shallows, and make a feast of the catch. "Gossip hasn't gone away," says Patrick Gavin, once a gossipmeister himself, in The Washington Post. "It's gone mainstream." Indeed, with the death of the crusty old city editor who wouldn't let a reporter get by with much, irresponsible gossip has drifted into serious news. The Internet, with its proliferation of "news" sites, spawns more reporters than sources, more writers than readers, all desperate for clicks and "hits."

Now that it's too late to do anything about it, there's a dawning recognition in the media that everything is out of control, drowning in hype and hysteria for having killed privacy in America. Monica Lewinsky's confessional in Vanity Fair, just in time to launch Hillary's second presidential balloon, has prompted a search for villains among, in Tina Brown's recollection, "the whole buzzing swarm" of "gossip-industry flesh flies, feasting on the entrails." She blames the Drudge Report and Fox News, happily oblivious of her own reign as the destructive "queen of buzz," blowing millions and millions of dollars in an attempt to patch up a cadaver at Newsweek magazine. Despite applying of a pound of rouge and a sack of plaster, she never could get it to walk again.

Miss Brown and her like-minded liberal and left colleagues are despondent not that the media is banging out of control, but that it got out of their control. The conservatives get to shout now as loud as the liberals. "The ascendant media that looked down on [Matt Drudge] has been pretty much destroyed," she writes in the Daily Beast. She grumbles that no one would have believed that the Graham family would no longer own The Washington Post, that the two "mighty" newsmagazines would be reduced to a shadow and a corpse and "the juggernaut CNN" would be chasing Fox News.

Now that hype and hysteria has become the lingua franca of the age, Michael Sam, like everyone else in the tower of babble, speaks it fluently. You just put your lips together and blow.

Wesley Pruden Archives

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© 2014 Wesley Pruden

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