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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 May 12, 2012/ 20 Iyar, 5772

Our cars, ourselves

By George Will



JewishWorldReview.com | “You have a Prius. . . . You probably compost, sort all your recycling, and have a reusable shopping bag for your short drive to Whole Foods. You are the best! So, do we really need the Obama sticker?”

— The Portland Mercury, 2008

Prius, which is Latin for “to go before” or “lead the way,” is the perfect name for the car whose owners are confident they are leading the way for the benighted. “Prius preening,” an almost erotic pleasure, is, however, a perishable delight because the status derived from enlightened exclusivity evaporates if hoi polloi crash the party.

The connection between cars and self-image is as American as the anti-Prius, the F-150 pickup truck. This connection is the subject of the entertaining and instructive book “Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars” by Paul Ingrassia, a journalist knowledgeable about the automobile industry. (Buy it at a 34% discount by clicking here or order in KINDLE edition at a 50% discount by clicking here) He thinks the hinge of our history was the 1920s, when General Motors’ LaSalle was introduced as a conspicuous-consumption alternative to Henry Ford’s pedestrian, so to speak, Model T. Since then, Ingrassia says, American culture has been a tug of war “between the practical and the pretentious, the frugal versus the flamboyant, haute cuisine versus hot wings.”



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The Model T, born in 1908, was priced at $850. By 1924, it was offered only in black but cost just $260 and had America on the move. Three years later — the year Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs and Charles Lindbergh flew the Atlantic — the LaSalle, a Cadillac sibling, announced Detroit’s determination to join Hollywood as a manufacturer of visual entertainment, but working in chrome rather than celluloid. The phrase “It’s a Duesie” became an American encomium in tribute to the Duesenberg, which sold for upward of $20,000, or $245,000 in today’s dollars.

In 1953, after almost 25 years of Depression and war, the Korean armistice signaled the restoration of the pleasure principle, as did the December appearance of two first editions — of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy magazine and Chevrolet’s Corvette. That car’s designer, Zora Arkus-Duntov — English was his fourth language — explained: “In our age where the average person is a cog wheel who gets pushed in the subways, elevators, department stores, cafeterias . . . the ownership of a different car provides the means to ascertain his individuality to himself and everybody around.” Ere long, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s Corvette license plate read “RES IPSA,” lawyer’s Latin for “It speaks for itself.” And loudly.

The 1950s brought tail fins (justified as safety devices — “directional stabilizers”) on land yachts such as the 21-foot-long 1959 Cadillac. A small-is-beautiful reaction came in the form of a car originally named the Kraft durch Freude Wagen (“Strength through Joy Car”), a clunky name no one criticized, because it was bestowed by the Volkswagen’s progenitor, Adolf Hitler, the unlikely father of the emblematic vehicle of 1960s hippies, the VW Microbus. (Steve Jobs sold his for startup capital for his business.)

Thanks to Ralph Nader, Chevrolet’s small Corvair begat a growth industry — lawsuits — and a president. (The Corvair made Nader famous, and 35 years later his 97,000 Florida votes gave George W. Bush the presidency.) Baby boomers had babies so they had to buy minivans, but got revenge against responsibilities by buying “the ultimate driving machine.” This is from a 1989 Los Angeles Times restaurant review: “There they are, the men with carefully wrinkled $800 sports jackets . . . the BMW cowboys . . . they’re all here, grazing among the arugula.”

Boomers, says Ingrassia, “had to buy to live, just as sharks had to swim to breathe.” They bought stuff that screamed: “Cognoscenti!” Dove bars — the ultimate ice cream bar? — not Eskimo Pies. Anchor Steam, not Budweiser. Starbucks, not Dunkin’ Donuts. And Perrier, when gas cost less than designer water. In 1978, an early reaction against all this made Ford’s F-150 pickup what it still is, America’s best-selling vehicle.

In 2003, Toyota previewed its second-generation Prius at Whole Foods supermarkets and an international yoga convention. And in the cartoon town of South Park, Priuses became so popular the town developed a huge cloud of “smug.”

Prius, vehicle of the vanguard of the intelligentsia, does not have the most obnoxious name ever given an automobile. In 1927, Studebaker, which anticipated the Prius mentality, named one of its models the Dictator. The car supposedly dictated standards that the unwashed would someday emulate. In the mid-1930s, Studebaker canceled the name.



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George Will's latest book is "With a Happy Eye but: America and the World, 1997-2002" to purchase a copy, click here. Comment on this column by clicking here.

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