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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 July 12, 2005 / 5 Taamuz, 5765

Spielberg's anti-war ‘War of the Worlds’

By Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If there is a theme to Steven Spielberg's new alien-invasion movie, "War of the Worlds," it is not that the human spirit has the courage that justifies human survival. Or that American know-how and grit can defeat invaders, even when the situation seems impossible. No, it is more like: If aliens invade, don't fight back. Run.

No need for self-defense. Mother Nature will take care of the non- indigenous occupiers.

While set in the Northeast, Spielberg's alien war seems very much like what would happen if aliens invaded Hollywood. There would be no praying, no talk of G-d, no homeowners defending their homes, no posses defending their communities, no 90210 teens enlisting to defend their country.

In Spielberg's world, as the invaders appeared, movie moguls would be finding a quick way out of town, while extolling their children to run faster. (Those aerobics classes should be good for something.)

Consider the rare civilians who have guns in the movie: Tom Cruise's character, Ray Ferrier, has a gun.

There is also a rifle-toting ex-paramedic played by Tim Robbins. Even though he, unlike the countless other civilians who are butchered while trying to evade the alien killing machines, chooses to do battle, he is revealed as "a bug-eyed maniac," says Chronicle reviewer Mick LaSalle, or "a fruitcake who fancies himself a member of the 'resistance,' " says the Washington Post's Michael O'Sullivan. You know he's a nut because he has a gun, a big gun. Mentally unstable, he, of course, invites his own demise.

"War of the Worlds" also has to be one of the few alien-invasion movies in which civilian guns only are fired at humans, not the space invaders. Compare "War of the Worlds" to the 1996 sci-fi flick, "Independence Day." Yes, most civilians run from attacking forces in that movie. But their flight doesn't convey the every-man-for-himself feel of the Spielberg exodus. People rescued each other. They supported military efforts as they fled and were mindful of the need to seek a place for a final stand.

For his sorry part, Ferrier doesn't try to help anyone else on the road in "War." He actually impedes the departure of a ferry so he can scramble on.

In "Independence Day," civilians show an appreciation for military efforts, however futile and fatal the initial forays were.

Humans are angry in "Independence Day." They are afraid in "War."

"Independence Day" focuses on the demise of iconic buildings and monuments. "War" doesn't bother to evoke anger or patriotism movie-goers might experience watching cherished buildings implode.

When a caravan of young soldiers drives past the fleeing Ferrier family, the viewer knows the soldiers are all doomed. If Ferrier is grateful for the young soldiers' sacrifice, he certainly doesn't show it. If you ever wondered what kind of men would pay a poor man $300 to take their place in the Union Army during the Civil War, take a long look at Ferrier. He would rather die running, and he is willing to kill to do so.

Imagine, when every human will die unless people figure out how to beat this invading force, the idea of fighting back is absent from all of the main characters — save Ray's teenage son, Robbie, credit the impetuousness of youth.

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It's true that in the original H. G. Wells' story, Mother Nature kills off the aliens (they fail to develop a resistance to bacteria). But director Spielberg is not always true to the H. G. Wells story line.

His aliens aren't Martians; they first appear rising from underground.

So Spielberg could have written in a macrobiotic demise that at least followed heroic efforts to repel the invaders. Instead, he focused on valiant efforts to run away, rewarded, as the narrator explains, by nature and occupiers' failure to develop an immunity to germs.

And how do moviegoers learn that the aliens are near death? As Ferrier noticed, birds that once fled the alien's tripods (walking tanks) now had begun to perch on them. Mother Earth saves the day.

Too bad Spielberg forgot to show butterflies cavorting among the killing machines. That would have been a nice touch.

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© 2005, Creators Syndicate

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