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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 Jan. 27, 2005 / 17 Shevat, 5765

Keeping Those Preconceptions Shiny and New

By James Lileks


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Every week there's a news story that energizes the hard-core faithful, and it usually follows the same trajectory. First: proof of boundless perfidy on the other side. Stage two: muted reaction to a clarification, followed by stage three: "Yes, BUT!"

The last part insists the story is somehow true on a metaphysical level, and thus accurate. A famous minister may not have called Sponge Bob a g-dless proselytizing sodomite, but he probably doesn't like gays, so the story's sort of true. It's a means of keeping your preconceptions as shiny and new as the day you formed them.

This week's Fresh Screaming Outrage regards the decision of the University of Oregon to remove a "Support the Troops" magnet from a campus truck.

Imagine the scene! Hundreds of angry students rocking the truck, shouting DEATH TO AMERICA, no? Burning flags, the driver chased off campus by giant papier-mâché puppets of President Bush with blood dripping from his mouth, etc. Campus administrators, in this easily conjured scenario, caved quickly because they felt in their hearts that it would be wrong to let any expression of patriotism sully the Elysian fields of academia. Perfidy, you think. Just what you've come to expect.

Tempting, but alas, the truth is a little less thrilling. Now we have step two, the muted reaction to the clarification. Facts: One guy had the magnet on a state-owned truck. No riot. One person complained. One.

There are two ways an organization can respond:

A) "We will convene a committee to prepare a policy on the matter, as well as solicit an opinion from the philosophy and art departments on whether a metal magnet shaped like a fabric ribbon is inherently surreal and thus exempt from standing policy. The commission will also address whether left and right turn signals endorse Western notions of rigid dichotomies, and should be replaced with Chinese ideograms depicting the magnetic poles. The commission will also accept comments in an open forum which will inevitably be hijacked by that smelly grad student who has a thing about boycotting grapes; what is he, 50? So moved."

B) You're offended, you say? Well, life must be one continuous scrape of the ol' emery board on your gums, eh? Get a life. I hear they're expecting a big shipment sometime today. NEXT!

You can guess which one a university would choose. Nearly any modern organization curls up in a ball the moment someone pronounces himself offended — as though everyone has the right to coast through life without snagging his sleeve on a contrary idea.

In this case, the University of Oregon released a statement saying it supported the troops — honest, it did — but state vehicles were no place for personal messages. Hard to argue, really. If anything, a university should have "How's My Driving?" with the phone number displayed in some complex algebraic equation. And nothing more.

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Yes, BUT. It seems a bit disingenuous for the university to insist it scrupulously avoids mingling public money and private opinion. From art departments to visiting lecturers, universities provide a fecund and humid hothouse for personal opinion, and one can safely say that most would make William F. Buckley cock an eyebrow in distaste.

Universities regard themselves as the guarantors of free thought, keepers of the flame of civilization, but they are often remote from the societies they purport to serve, crimped by PC orthodoxies, and disinclined to understand the culture that sustains them. Town vs. Gown. Nothing new. But at least in the old days the distinctions were less severe — Beethoven vs. Elvis, Picasso vs. Rockwell. Not Chomsky vs. Bush or Smart vs. Evil.

In the end, though, these overreactions teach us important lessons, just like an episode of Barney. You can be a Christian without being an anti-SpongeBob "homophobe." You can be a Democrat at a university and support the troops.

Next week's flame war topic: a high school biology teacher asks his class to consider the philosophical implications of the Big Bang.

Or, as the e-mail in your box will put it: Jesus-freak wingnut tells class the world was created in six days. To the barricades!

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in uplifting articles. Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2005, James Lileks