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 July 12, 2009 / 20 Tamuz 5769

The Lost Boy in Neverland

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The sad tale of Michael Jackson will be retold a few thousand times more as autopsy reports and estate details emerge.

Meanwhile, the presumed verdict is that Jackson died of prescription drugs. On CNN's "The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer" on Thursday, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, said that Jackson's death was a wake-up call to the country about prescription drugs.

Maybe. Maybe not. We all know that abusing prescription drugs — taking them for purposes other than prescribed — is bad for our health. Potentially deadly, in fact.

Regardless, people choose to abuse drugs (or smoke cigarettes or drink booze) for a variety of reasons. But drugs aren't really what killed Jackson, are they? They may have led to the stopping of his heart, but Jackson's death spiral began decades ago.

You could see it in his face.

Michael Jackson's identity crisis wasn't subtle. There could hardly be a more vivid physical manifestation of a human being's chaotic psyche than Jackson's ever-changing visage. Imagine trying so hard to become whole — however one imagines one's complete self — that you subjected your face to multiple transfigurations until you are hardly recognizable as the person you once were.

Fame and the spiritual poverty of lost childhood are what killed Michael Jackson.

It seemed inappropriate to air these thoughts before the memorial service. It's still too soon — and probably irrelevant — to focus on Jackson's attraction to other people's children. New York Rep. Peter King's declaration following Jackson's death that the pop star was a "lowlife" and a "pervert" not only offended many Americans, it served no useful purpose. An online poll conducted by HCD Research, using the MediaCurves.com Web site, found that 60 percent of participants felt that King went too far and that 57 percent didn't agree with his statements.

Otherwise, King's blunt-instrument analysis fell far short of insight into the truly tragic dimension of Jackson's life. Like the face Jackson tried to fashion around some ideal image, his search for that lost part of himself found expression in his Neverland Ranch.

For a man whose musical genius was unconstrained by gravity, Jackson's personal search bordered on the banal. Peter Pan?

The lost boy in Jackson seemed to grow younger with age. And though interviews through the years suggested that he understood what ailed him, he wasn't able to approach a grown-up remedy. Perhaps having all the money you could ever dream of — and the worship of millions — meant not ever having to grow up. But a man who isn't an adult is doomed to pain — and Jackson's was excruciating to witness.

Rather than receive the therapy he so desperately needed, he projected his needs onto real children and apparently sought to repair himself through them. His sometimes odd relationships with children — including his defense of sleeping with little boys — will always be a postscript on any appraisals of his immense talent.

Whether Jackson's good works — not just his artistry but his charity — outweighed his peculiarities will be measured elsewhere. Meanwhile, his life — more than his death — is a wake-up call, but not about prescription drug abuse.

Whatever killed Michael Jackson was merely an instrument of self-destruction. The real disease was his own racked soul that pivoted between a drive to push himself to preternatural levels and an almost fetal recoil from the demands of adoration.

The message I suspect even Jackson would hope we get is that children need a childhood, not fame. They need two loving parents, not material things.

Jackson's life is a testament to genius, yes, but also to a culture best characterized by misplaced priorities. The loss of innocence and our obsession with fame and celebrity are the real plagues, for which drug abuse and other pathologies are but symptoms.

By all accounts, Jackson was painfully empathic toward children's suffering and, apparently, sought his own relief in their company. Unfortunately, there was no shortage of peers. Millions of lost boys and girls are wandering in the neverland of instant gratification unbuffered by responsible adults. Most won't meet such dramatic ends. Few can afford to indulge their inner child for long or to subsidize the extreme expressions that Jackson underwrote.

But the afflictions of loneliness and delayed maturity born of inadequate nurturing are the same for many. Until we cure those, prescription drug abuse is the least of our problems.

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