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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

David Mamet's Tragic Vision

By Lou Marano




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | David Mamet's understanding of drama unlocked secrets unrelated to the theater.

During a lifetime of creative achievement, the acclaimed playwright, screenwriter, and film director had seen how an audience could surrender part of its rationality for two hours in order to enjoy an illusion. But as he began reading and thinking about politics, he was horrified to learn how people also could surrender themselves into a mob. This epiphany was one factor in moving him from the political left to conservatism, a transition he expounds upon in his new book, "The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture." (Purchase the book, [you will want to] at a 40% discount by clicking HERE)

Mamet's insights as a dramatist illuminate another puzzle. Why have Israel's efforts at public diplomacy been so ineffective?

Mamet explains how mob psychology nullifies any presentation of the facts in Israel's endeavors to defend itself in the court of public opinion.

"Love of the Victim is an attempt at a non-deist recreation of religious feeling," Mamet writes. News organizations sell the Middle East conflict as entertainment, and "there is something of the sadomasochistic" in the Left's love of the Palestinians, whom audiences are conditioned to see in the role of Woman in Jeopardy (e.g., "The Rape of Jenin").

The price of admission to the extravaganza is indictment of the State of Israel, which is condemned and scorned regardless of the facts of history, the exercise of reason, or the recognition of cultural affinity. In the West's abandonment of Israel, Mamet charges, the audience does not care that Palestinian claims are insoluble, exaggerated, unjust, or skewed. To care would require audience members to do something, which would end their enjoyable position as viewers.


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"Just as in the movies we would resent the fellow in the next seat explaining the effects," Mamet writes, "so actual information about the Middle East conflict is considered an intrusion and a distraction from the spectacle. One has made one's choice (bought one's tickets) and would like to be left in peace to enjoy the show."

So it doesn't matter if Israel factually proves that Jenin wasn't "raped" in 2002 and that Israel allowed its young soldiers to be killed in the twisted alleyways of that Samarian town rather than level the terror nests with artillery or airpower. The insights of Mamet the master entertainer, the communicator par excellence, reinforces this reviewer's belief that in the end it's not about facts, or even about right or wrong, but rather about emotional engagement. It's about who you love and who you don't. It's about whose side you're on.

"The Liberal West would like the citizens of Israel to take the only course which would bring about the end of the disturbing 'cycle of violence' which they hear of in the Liberal press. That course is abandoning their homes and country, leaving, with their lives, if possible, but leaving in any case.

"Is this desire anti-Semitism?" Mamet asks rhetorically.

"You bet your life it is."

Leon Uris and Paul Newman are dead, and disdain for Israel has become a condition for herd membership on the Left. Understandably, Mamet will have no part of this.

After six decades of believing himself a liberal, Mamet was struck by the discrepancy between his professed beliefs and his behavior. He thought Left but lived Right. A catalyst for Mamet's transformation was his rabbi in Los Angeles, Mordecai Finley, "a centrist" who introduced him to the works of conservative writers.

Connecting with his Jewish roots, Mamet avers: "The Bible is an acknowledgement of human individuality."

Mamet inverts accepted dogma by linking tradition with individualism and "progressivism" with the mindless conformity of the herd. How so? Mamet perceives that the wisdom tradition of the West, based on the Bible, asserts not the perfection, but rather the imperfectability of mankind. There are no solutions -- only tradeoffs. This is the tragic, constrained, view of life, which the Left, in its hubristic and futile attempts to create Heaven on Earth, rejects.

"Most legislation aimed at eliminating unhappiness and discontent has resulted in misery," Mamet observes.

American peace and plenty -- Mamet writes -- has come not from altruism, nor from compassion, nor from empathy, but rather from "adherence to those practicable, rational rules for human interaction set out in the Bible." And underlying these rules and precepts for moral human interaction are the concepts of individual accountability and free will.

Mamet won the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for his play "Glengarry Glen Ross," about real estate salesmen desperate to "close the deal" with wary buyers. Mamet knows that flattery of the "mark," the sucker, is the first step in any confidence game. Mamet explains how flattery and self-flattery are keys to understanding how people become and remain "progressives."

As in any confidence game, he writes, the Liberal "is flattered that he, in contradistinction to his benighted countrymates, has been chosen to advance the policies and the doctrines of Liberalism." In endorsing them, he is one of the Elite, "one of those empowered to eradicate those historical evils entailed upon humanity because of the unfortunate delay of his advent."

Here Mamet cites the slogan of the Obama campaign in 2008: "We are the people we have been waiting for."

The Liberal is the "champion of the Good, chosen because someone (the Candidate) has finally recognized his excellence." And how could the Confidence man, who was that perceptive, not be as honorable as he is insightful?

There's only one snag. Mamet points out that the doctrines, policies and programs presented for the Liberal's endorsement are senseless and destructive. What to do? Nothing. To expose the obvious would mean expulsion from the herd of enlightened and morally superior ungulates. The apostate would be fated to roam alone on the savannah, where lurk leopards and lion prides (not to mention troops of vulgar baboons). It's a prospect too terrifying to contemplate.

This is why the Left abhors evaluating the consequences of its Good Ideas. Social programs are immune from review, the government bureau's first and only obligation is to grow, and skeptics must be shamed, silenced, or excoriated as evil. The end of this process, Mamet asserts, is dictatorship.

Conservative reasoning, Mamet writes, asks the following questions: "What actually is the desired result of any proposed course of action? What is the likelihood of its success, and at what cost?" To which one might add: How has this or that Good Idea been working out so far? But Liberals, when pressed, are likely to attribute program failure to "underfunding" and insufficient time.

The Liberal stands pat, Mamet writes. He who never talks to anyone outside his own group accuses the Conservative of being brainwashed.

The result of all this, Mamet believes, is the destruction of our culture. "Once government is the only business, the final opportunities for failure to be corrected will disappear."

Mamet writes that those who would reduce Judaism to a dedication to "social justice" shy away from the reality that the administration of justice means inflicting pain upon one party for the benefit of another. The state cannot deal equally with all claims for support. It must choose, so the successful claimant embraces powerlessness and dependency. Further, the state smiles upon the party whose claim aggrandizes the jurisdiction of the bureaucracy. Others will lose and be punished. "Identity politics reduce the world to victims and oppressors," Mamet writes. … "To fix the game for money is called corruption, to fix the game from sentiment is called Liberalism."

Mamet's detractors on the Left try to discredit his conversion to conservatism by attributing to the dramatist motives his antagonists consider base - namely, he's made a few bucks, and he's dedicated to the well-being of Israel. But even if these motives are operative (and only Mamet can say if they are and to what extent), so what? Why shouldn't he support a political philosophy that honors the conservation and reinvestment of personal resources, honestly attained? And it's those who equivocate (or worse) about Israel who need to justify themselves, not Mamet.

"The Secret Knowledge" is a comprehensive political and personal reassessment by a major literary figure. A review such as this can only scratch the book's surface. It's a must read for anyone interested in the intersection of religion, politics, and culture. ( Purchase the book, at a 40% discount by clicking "HERE)

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© 2011, Lou Marano