In this issue
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 March 5, 2007 / 15 Adar, 5767

Inside the mind-set of fame junkies

By Tom Purcell

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I'm going to wear a blond wig, a leisure suit and sing a Barry Manilow tune. If that doesn't get me onto "American Idol," Simon Cowell can eat his own head.

Ah, yes, you sum up America's fascination with fame and celebrity. Both are explored in "Fame Junkies," an interesting new book by Jake Halpern.

"Fame Junkies"?

Did you know that more people watch "American Idol" than all three major network evening news shows combined?

It's no wonder. Things haven't been the same since Rather left the air.

Did you know that according to a study by Harvard University and the Kaiser Family Foundation that 31 percent of teens are convinced they'll be famous? They believe they're entitled to fame —that it will solve all their problems.

It'll solve my problems. That waitress at the diner will finally go out with me.

Halpern interviewed 653 middle-school students in Rochester, N.Y. When he asked them if they'd rather be a personal assistant to a celebrity or a corporate CEO, an Ivy League president, a Navy SEAL or a U.S. senator, 43.4 percent of girls chose "celebrity assistant."

I'd rather do chores for a celebrity than be a senator. Though I have to admit rubbing cream on Rosie O'Donnell's bunions would get old.

When given the option of becoming famous, beautiful, stronger or smarter, boys chose fame almost as often as intelligence. Girls chose fame even more often.

That isn't a fair question. Fame has nothing to do with intelligence. Isn't that made clear every time most Hollywood actors open their yaps?

Our longing for fame is a recent phenomenon. Consider: In 1963, according to Gallup, Americans most admired Lyndon Johnson, Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King Jr. In 2005, Bono and Donald Trump topped the list.

Hey, common sense: You're fired!

Halpern told me that two types of kids long for fame most: the spoiled ones whose parents taught them they were the center of the universe, and kids who were neglected by their parents.

Talk about under-appreciated. My mother used to hang a Budweiser around my neck so the old man would read to me.

The longing also correlates to the self-esteem movement of the 1970s. By praising everything children did, adults unwittingly created teens and young adults who can't take criticism and who demand the praise they think fame will bring.

Ah, the good old days. We weren't permitted to "compete" when we played kickball, and everybody got a trophy!

Perhaps there are other causes. Today we have broken families, dual-income homes in which parents work insane hours, and millions of kids who live in large metro areas isolated from their extended families. Combine all of it with an explosion of cable channels and the Internet, which enable our 24-hour celebrity obsession, and you get one toxic, fame-junky cocktail.

I'll bet that's a tasty drink with a little bourbon!

Freud had a term for what is going on: wishful thinking. Too many people are seeing themselves as they'd like to be in their fantasy world, rather than as they really are. You have to wonder what happens when people who crave fame fail to achieve it —or when people who achieve it realize it doesn't solve their problems and creates even more.

Why don't you ask Britney Spears?

It makes me realize how lucky I was to grow up as I did. We had only three television channels —no celebrity shows were on. And I was part of a big family. We had to learn how to share and laugh and be considerate. Narcissism would have gotten us grounded for months.

Look, as interesting as this discussion is, you still haven't answered my question. You think the blond wig, leisure suit and Barry Manilow tune will get me to the big time?

Why not. It worked for Barry Manilow.

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© 2007, Tom Purcell