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 April 27, 2009 / 3 Iyar 5769

Mainstreaming the taboo comes with a horrible price

By Kathryn Lopez

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Access to porn is probably in your e-mail account's inbox right now. You're probably used to just manually erasing it as spam or setting up automated filters to block it out, but you know it's out there in a big way. What are you going to do?

The Hoover Institution's Mary Eberstadt calls it the new tobacco. The heights to which porn has been accepted in the mainstream represents "widespread tolerance, tinged with resignation about the notion that things could ever be otherwise." We've taken a "full turn" in the last century in regard to tobacco and porn. "Yesterday, smoking was considered unremarkable in a moral sense, whereas pornography was widely considered disgusting and wrong — including even by people who consumed it. Today, as a general rule, just the reverse is true. Now it is pornography that is widely (though not universally) said to be value-free, whereas smoking is widely considered disgusting and wrong — including even by many smokers."

In making the comparison, Eberstadt observes that many people say "consumers have a 'right' to pornography — possibly even a constitutional right. … Given the social and political circumstances arrayed in its favor, what would be the point of objecting?"

As horrific as it sounds, the fact is, she's right. It is, sadly, no surprise that porn is the most searched for and most profitable product on the Internet. But unless it violates the sensitivities of even the most desensitized (child porn, simulated rape, things you rather me not write here), pornography is too widespread for many to bother to do anything but shrug or, even, to try to play along.

As with tobacco, this is not going to change overnight. But, as with tobacco, a change in perception wouldn't be bad for our health.

Even those who smoke don't pretend there's nothing harmful about smoking now. But it wasn't long ago that tobacco companies brought their experts in to make the case that tobacco "addiction" may just be learned behavior. Chillingly, in her piece in the latest issue of "Policy Review," Eberstadt reminds readers that a Philip Morris executive once asked "What do you think smokers would do if they didn't smoke? You get some pleasure from it, and you also get some other beneficial things, such as stress relief. Nobody knows what you'd turn to if you didn't smoke. Maybe you'd beat your wife. Maybe you'd drive cars fast. Who knows what the hell you'd do."

And so I should shrug because there's not widespread rape in American offices?

People seem to get that there is a problem, perhaps looking for someone to solve the problem that might be in their own home for them or otherwise hope it will go away. For her 2005 book "Pornified: How Pornography Is Damaging Our Lives, Our Relationships and Our Families," Pamela Paul commissioned a Harris poll and found that "Despite widespread denial and the pervasiveness of outdated rationalizations, many Americans have a problem with the rampant spread of pornography." She found that liberal or conservative, people were not widely opposed to the government doing something. "42 percent of Americans said the government should regulate Internet pornography specifically so that children cannot access X-rated material online and 13 percent said the government should regulate pornography in a way similar to cigarettes — with warning labels and restrictions to minimize harm."

The question about the government is revealing. Pornographers can dismiss this, but corporations know there is harm done by porn, even if it's just to productivity. According to one 2007 survey, 65 percent of corporations use porn-detecting software. Divorce lawyers, clergy and therapists can tell you the damaging role it's playing in the married and unmarried lives of American couples.

The question about government is also, of course, alarming — to anyone who cares about freedom and the future of the Internet. Furthermore, as it affects our children and our families, it is a cultural copout of a solution.

I've been flashing back to something Traci Lords once said: "I have to thank Ed Meese for saving my life." At 18, her career as a porn star ended in a federal raid.

How many Traci Lords are on a computer near you today? And who, besides Traci, is it harming? It's a question a society that in its rhetoric and culture says it cares about women and children and lives and love needs to grapple with. If Eberstadt's comparison is right, it's coming. The shrugs will cease. I, for one, though, would hope the turnaround comes not largely because government has made it highly inconvenient but because we have decided we want something better.

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