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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 May 13, 2005 / 4 Iyar, 5765

Replacing duty and honor with ‘South Park’

By Diana West


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I do while perusing the morning Internet is read the military obituaries in the British press, mainly The Daily Telegraph.

Invariably, these write-ups mark the passing of a veteran of World War II in the kind of scope and detail, as critic James Bowman has noted, rarely found in an American paper. Sometimes, I feel compelled to save them in a file. Last summer, there was Wing Commander David Penman, 85, one of five Lancaster bombers pilots (out of 12 who started on the mission) to return in 1942 from a daring, low-flying, daylight raid on a German engine plant; the year before that, there was Capt. Philip "Pip" Gardner, the Victoria Cross-winning tank commander captured at the fall of Tobruk. His death at age 88 left only 15 (now 14) surviving VC-holders. Just this week, there was 84-year-old Petty Officer Norman Walton, who, after the cruiser Neptune was sunk in a minefield off Libya in 1941, endured three days in the water and two on a raft to become the sole survivor out of 765 crewmembers. A boxer of some success after the war, Petty Officer Walton thwarted two muggers with a left hook and a head-butt at age 82.

But there is more to these tales than derring-do. There is usually a line, maybe two, that offers the modern-day reader an almost shocking glimpse of a mode of behavior based on virtues unconstrained by the strictures of modern-day hipness, smarts and irony. For example, in his account of the final moments of the Neptune, Petty Officer Walton described clinging to the side of a raft in cold, heavy seas thick with oil. "We saw the ship capsize and sink, and gave her a cheer as she went down."

Was it a huzzah, maybe? Hip, hip, hooray? In their struggle for survival, these doomed sailors could still muster a salute that would save not their lives, but their gallantry. Only I can see it now: Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show," ripping this beau geste into ironic little bits.

Then there was Lt. Col. Duncan Campbell, 91, who was awarded two Military Crosses in 1940 in the East Africa Campaign. Walking ahead of the two infantry companies he was leading on a strong Italian position, the Telegraph reported, "he ensured that his C.O. did not lose sight of him in the rough terrain by singing the theme song from the film 'Sanders of the River' at the top of his voice amid the crack of rifle bullets and the noise of shell explosions." (I gather "Sanders of the River" is a cinematic ode to Empire along the lines of the 1939 version of "The Four Feathers.") It's almost difficult to read about such dazzling bravery without also imagining a Monty Python-esque parody popping up like a jack-in-the-box to deconstruct it between the lines. But such was life before the "Desperate Housewife" and the "South Park" conservative, a time when the cultural mainstream — the all-enveloping mass media — treated duty and honor like dependable anchors rather than balls-and-chains.

That was a good half-century or so ago. In the interim, the sensibility these men expressed as deeds in their youth has died a death for which there was no obituary. A flood of affluence, the Baby Boom, the forces of political correctness and celebrity worship have seen to that. Which is not at all to say that their virtues no longer exist.

The bravery and sacrifice and commitment of our armed forces, most obviously, prove otherwise. But I think it's fair to say that such virtues exist despite the mainstream culture rather than because of it.

This, in itself, is a testament to the innate resilience of something very good. But word is that the future of the very conservatism that has always prized such virtues lies in the hands of "South Park Conservatives," after the book by the same name by Brian C. Anderson. Very basically, the theory posits that the rank vulgarity institutionalized by the cartoon "South Park," which degrades and desacralizes absolutely everything, will inspire young conservatives to smash the stultifying tyranny of political correctness. If you're picking sides, P.C. vs. South Park offers about as much choice as the Iran-Iraq War — which, remember, after eight years of carnage, left both sides still afloat.

Such stalemate on the cultural high seas is probably where we are, and certainly where we're heading. But I wonder who will give a cheer when we sink?

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JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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