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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 July 22, 2005 /15 Tammuz, 5765

Renaissance Man

By Gene Weingarten


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I recently spent a day at the National Gallery of Art, appreciating culture by being dragged around by my wife. That place definitely has culture up the wazoo. Moreover, to a trained and sophisticated observer such as myself, art can be a valuable source of information about the History of Civilization.

For example:

The skies used to be full of little fat kids with wings. They were everywhere. You could not walk a few hundred feet without bonking into someone with a winged fat kid hovering over him. Perhaps the weenie environmentalists who hound our president about the inadvertent extinction of some species of flatworm during the construction of an essential dam or highway or gulag should instead devote their energies to explaining the disappearance of this adorable life form.

Judging from statuary, women used to shave the hair off every single part of their bodies. Plus, shaving technology must have been pretty primitive, because they apparently often accidentally cut off their heads and/or arms.

The world used to be much windier. Robes and togas never just hung off the body — they were always billowing out dramatically in all directions. (Note to weenie environmentalists: Might this explain the extinction of the flying fat kids? Is there some way you can link both to global warming?)

Medieval torture was not as bad as you'd think. However heinous it looked, the torturers were always considerate enough to cover the victim's private parts, for his comfort. On a related note, fig leaves apparently once grew with Velcro backing.

Some people used to walk around with glowing doughnuts above their heads. This was true even of some babies, which probably presented a unique challenge in childbirth. Maybe this explains why old-time women had hips the size and commodiousness of beanbag chairs.

Behinds, in general, were plump and comfy. This is apparently because people used to sit on stone or marble benches. Through art, one can reliably trace the evolution of the 20th-century behind to the advent of furniture upholstery. (Sadly, for some reason the 21st-century behind is regressing; we simply have to get to the bottom of this.)

Grapes used to be plentiful, because everyone was always walking around carrying them. Also, people were terrified of being constipated. I know this because, judging from the contents of most table settings, fruit was always served in gigantic, cascading mounds.

When people died, they were apparently allowed to just sit around and rot. Why else would human skulls have been in such plentiful generous supply? Whenever you wanted to sit down and look out a window and contemplate life, there was always a skull around to symbolize the transient nature of existence.

There was apparently once some place named "Flem." It produced a lot of great painters. Mostly, they drew pictures of Flemish men wearing hats at jaunty, saucy angles, and Flemish women naked. Flem seems like it was a pretty cool place; we should find out what happened to it.

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Many members of European royalty had fleas, causing skin irritations that they unwisely tended to bite at. I infer this because they always had to wear those big white discs around their necks, like my dog.

Women used to do a lot of reclining while wearing diaphanous nightgowns. If my wife did that much reclining in diaphanous nightgowns, I would never get to work. You know how French men are sissies? Well, they always were!

It really doesn't matter what we do on Earth, because in the future everything we do will be forgotten. I judge this based on the titles of numerous paintings commemorating events and individuals that at the time were enormously familiar and important. They all read like this: "After his flogging, Eucalyptus the Easily Amused grieves at the sepulcher of Deirdre of the Holy Conniption, three days before the Deluge of Weasels."

And last, any piece of art can be explained in a single sentence contained on a plaque, using this template: "This piece represents ideals of _________ fused with _______ and informed by ." To fill in the blanks, select some random combination of the following words and phrases:

classical, objectivism, nihilism, expressionistic, impressionistic, modernism, Byzantine, post-, pre-, neo-, Baroque, Gothic, traditional and spatial. You think I am joking.

That is because you do not understand art.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Gene Weingarten writes the Below the Beltway humor column for The Washington Post. To comment, please click here.


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