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 Aug 10, 2012 / 22 Menachem-Av, 5772

The Age of the Narcissistic Male

By Suzanne Fields

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Sex is always interesting, but mix it with politics in a presidential campaign and it becomes downright sensational. First Amendment guarantees of free speech get lost in the protest when gay couples meet to make out at Chick-fil-A. Instead of ordering the spicy chicken sandwich, these men and men and women and women spice up their relationship with rage against Dan Cathy, the born-again president of Chick-fil-A, for saying he supports "the biblical definition of the family unit."

The focus on the controversy is silly, but in our media-saturated world, it's the way things play out, with lots of loud posturing and little reflection. So much public debate and discussion is joined over gay political matters that conflicts and concerns over cultural changes in heterosexual relationships are left to the popular culture to pursue, which happens with a passion, for better and for worse.

I frequently have been struck by the sad state of affairs in (and have often written about) young women's coming of age as depicted in "Girls," the new HBO series in which romance is dramatized in the dreariest and crudest ways. This is surely the low point of sexual liberation, circa 2012. Glib remarks such as Gloria Steinem's bitter gibe that "a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" have morphed into satirical drawings of schools of female fish pedaling unicycles (probably in pursuit of male fish).

The knight in shining armor is long gone as a fairy tale. It was always fantasy, even though it captures a young girl's innocent desire to be cared for when she leaves the home of her parents. The story never followed the couple after the wedding, living happily ever after, because everybody soon learns that life is more complicated than that. Wish fulfillment stories with happy endings are fun to read, even to tell, but rarely forged from reality. They're the stuff that dreams are made of. Pleasant dreams.

Today our cultural stories offer a different tale. The latest one is based on direct observation, but it goes back to classical myth, captured wittily in a New Yorker cartoon of two young sophisticates sitting on the banks of a river in ancient Greece. As the boy stares at his reflection in the water, the girl asks pathetically, "Tell me, Narcissus, is there someone else?"

The sad state of contemporary male-female relationships is best told with a sense of humor, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily funny. The latest entrant in the popular culture to render this idea humorously is the movie "Ruby Sparks," which creates a contemporary myth of Narcissus in which the male star is a boy/man, the kind who seems so much with us these days. Calvin Weir-Fields, played convincingly by Paul Dano, is a novelist who loves himself to the point that he has to create a woman out of his imagination before he can fall in love. Fortunately, he's a novelist trying to shape a work of fiction, but the woman he creates on an old-fashioned Olympia electric typewriter becomes so real that he can relate to her only when he likes the way she acts toward him — so he designs her behavior as a postmodern Pygmalion. When he loses creative control, he loses her, and the relationship is over.

While gays concentrate on seeking monogamous relationships and, in the ouch words of Kinky Friedman, exercising "a right to be as miserable as the rest of us," young heterosexual men such as Calvin seem to be avoiding that specific trap. As a result, many women in their 40s are sad and single without children or with fatherless children. In the 1970s, 1 in 10 women passed childbearing years without having a child. Today it's 1 in 5. More than half of women younger than 30 have what we used to call an "illegitimate" child. The New York Times calls it "the new normal."

Although "Ruby Sparks" looks superficially like an old-fashioned romantic comedy with the witty dialogue of a '30s movie starring Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable, it quickly darkens to reflect an edgy sensibility. A young woman goes up against an educated and talented young man who has been psychologically wounded by a woman's assertiveness. You could say it's our Everyman, a morality tale.

"Ruby Sparks" gives us a funny narrative that offers shape, form and poignancy to the new heterosexual male in a story that lacks the vulgarity and glibness typical of Hollywood's movies and sitcoms about "relationships." Calvin, who was challenged by a real woman, prefers to imagine her literally instead of engaging in a living, breathing relationship. Underneath this fictional story is a homegrown truth: Men have become the second sex, and this is the masculine mystique. Betty Friedan might cry.

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