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 June 1, 2009 / 9 Sivan 5769

Pity the ‘reality’ fools? Not me

By Mitch Albom

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Are you keeping up with this Jon and Kate thing?" my colleague asked.

No, I said.

"Everyone's talking about it. It's huge!"

I don't doubt that. But "huge" is not the same as important.

"It's a reality show!"

That's particularly true of reality shows.

"It's unbelievable!"

No. Sadly. It's very believable. Reality TV has now done what we once feared robots would do. It has created its own world, with its own rules, and is now infecting the very society that created it.

Take Jon and Kate Gosselin, a Pennsylvania couple who tried fertility treatments, had twins, tried again, and had sextuplets. They soon become the center of a TV reality show that followed their harried lives. That show, "Jon & Kate Plus 8" is now in its fifth season, and is bigger than ever.

"Huge!" as my colleague says.

However, it is huge because the couple is fighting, the husband is suspected of having an affair, the wife is suspected of wanting to have one, and — gasp! — who knows? Maybe they'll split up! There's so much tension!

"This is certainly not what I envisioned I was signing up for," Kate recently told an audience during an appearance in Muskegon, Mich. "When I see magazines in stores it's really difficult. It amazes me there is an industry that follows you around and writes stories about you."

Now, forget for a moment, the sheer audacity of a woman whose family gets paid, reportedly, $75,000 per episode to let cameras follow her around all day to act surprised that gossip magazines follow her around as well.

What did she think? They were making home movies? The fact that she, her husband, and pretty much anyone else on a reality show morphs from "normal" looking people to better-coiffed, better-dressed, better-made-up looking people quickly tells you they are all for being followed around. It is, in fact, their job to be followed around.

But I can't accept, spend time or engage in conversation with people who want to debate whether Kate or Jon is the wronged party. Or whether they feel sorry for all those kids, who sometimes use the words "p-people" to describe paparazzi. (Personally, I would have those children removed from the home out of concern that five years in front of TV cameras is reckless endangerment to their well-being.)

But I can't give the subject real time, because it's not a real subject. These are not real problems. Signing up for a TV show, then complaining that the cameras are ruining your life is not a real situation. It's like dressing up as Cinderella and then complaining that everyone wants you to try on slippers.

Take the case of Susan Boyle, the dowdy volunteer church worker who wowed the judges during auditions of "Britain's Got Talent." Recent reports had her cursing at photographers who wouldn't leave her alone. She even reportedly threatened to quit the show.

Now, whether she did or didn't isn't, to me, a real subject. Like everyone else on a reality TV show, at no moment did someone put a gun to her head and say, "You must be on this." She did so willingly, even excitedly. What happens as a result takes place in a bizarre world, where you only have famous people's problems because you signed onto to trying to be famous. You are, whether you realize it or not, getting what you wanted.

The same can't be said of laid-off auto workers, young widowed mothers, abandoned children and unable-to-find-a-job graduates. No one is making reality shows about them. Unless they want to go to an island, eat bugs or have multiple births.

So you'll excuse me if the reality of the real world renders the reality of the reality world pathetic. The old expression was "penny for your thoughts." Now its dollars for your privacy. But you couldn't give me a million bucks to make my daily life a conversation about the problems of publicity vampires like Jon and Kate.

I don't care how "huge" it gets.

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