In this issue

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 August 13, 2013/ 7 Elul, 5773

Bros filling the void --- with 'My Little Pony'

By John Kass

John Kass

JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) The last thing I want to do is enrage thousands of young men across America who like to dress up in purple pony costumes.

But I didn't know about the Bronies.

"Don't you know about Bronies?" asked a friend. "It seems like every time I talk to you, you give up a little piece of your soul. You really want to know about Bronies?"

OK, yeah, go on, tell me about Bronies.

That was a profoundly stupid thing to say. And the second I said it, I could feel the fear creeping up my neck. Then he told me about Bronies.

Later, when I regained consciousness, he told me again.

Bros. Ponies. Bronies.

Bronies are young men and not-so-young men who are devoted to the "My Little Pony" lifestyle associated with the tiny toy pony dolls once exclusive to little girls. I am not on drugs. This is really happening. Lord have mercy.

Bronies are inspired by the "My Little Pony" cartoon series that has legions of fans. The stories are simple. The cute little ponies with the big eyes and great pony hair trot out of their castle and have adventures and fight evil and care for their friends.

The ponies have names like "Twilight Sparkle," "Princess Celestia" and "Applejack."

Even the hipster Mecca AV Club, an online alternative entertainment site, gives the series glowing reviews.

"In its own way," wrote Todd VanDerWerf "it reminds me of a movie like 'Singing in the Rain,' in that both properties aim to overwhelm any cynicism directed at them via sheer and utter joyfulness."

So these are the competing vibes of today:

Reality tempered by despair, peculiar to those with mortgages and with kids to educate in a terrible economy ruled by political leaders who mock the people through the false sincerity of the teleprompter.

And the ostentatiously perky optimism of the Bronies, who gain strength through cartoons and simply refuse to take that turn to Negativity Town.

Bronies hold conventions. Many dress up in pony gear, which includes the long flowing manes, unicorn accoutrement and hooves.

"People who log on to this show have been looking for something to fill this void," self-described Brony Calder Putnam, 20, a math and computer science major at State University of New York, said in an interview Thursday.

"All TV now is just . . . goes from one dark, cynical anti-hero to another dark, cynical anti-hero. And all that's different is the outfit."

The ponies, however, offer "that simplicity that I think draws a lot of people," he added.

He's correct about the darkness in the comic book world. It's violent, and the heroes are troubled, obsessive, overwhelmed by inner demons. You may see this for yourself this weekend in Rosemont at the Wizard World convention.

And no, I won't attend.

Putnam made it clear he's not embarrassed by being identified as a Brony. And he loves the show.

"I've had friends who watched it hoping to make fun of it, and they end up really liking it. It's really a bunch of people who like this show," he said, adding in Brony fashion that it's the morals that matter.

"This show has actually made me want to actively try and be a better person, and I've heard a lot of the same comments from other Bronies, that the show really made them want to improve their life or it has gotten them through really hard times."

Who can argue with that?

Oh, how about every young woman of child-bearing age that I talked to about the Bronies.

Would you ever date a Brony?

"Absolutely not," said Morgan, in her early 20s. "A Brony? That would be a definite red flag."

Michelle, who is married, couldn't understand the appeal of little ponies to young men.

"I consider it a very bizarre thing to be proud of," she said. "And it just doesn't seem very masculine to me. … I think you can do Harry Potter. But Bronies … that's taking it a bit too far."

If I were a cynical newspaperman, I might mock the Bronies as evidence of a decaying culture. The Bronies could be the harbinger of a darker truth: that as a people we'll die off much sooner than even al-Qaida could dream.

If only the kind and sensitive Bronies had conventions for ulterior, hormonal motives. If they wanted to dress up in pony costumes, get high and take the pony girls (Pegasisters) to bed, who would complain?

Then it would be easier for many of us to understand. And Howard Stern wouldn't mock them.

Other generations of young men have used appeals to kindness and sensitivity to get girls into bed. And some may still have those old Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan albums lying around the house.

I could be wrong, but it doesn't appear to me that the Brony ethos is about sex. It may be about something else, something profoundly more troubling.

Future anthropologists might view them this way: young Americans ignorant of Aristotle and his list of virtues, perhaps cut off from organized religion, yet clearly seeking something more.

Bronies are trying to create a moral universe out of a cartoon and Hasbro toys.

"I was just living day to day," says a young man in the trailer for the documentary "Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony." "I didn't really have anything to look forward to. As soon as ponies came into my life, I was like, wow, I didn't want the day to end."

Grow up, little Bronies. Grow up.

It's not easy. But it happens to everybody, even Bronies.

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

John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Comments by clicking here.


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