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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 Sept. 21, 2005 / 17 Elul, 5765

Monumental disgust

By James Lileks


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | How best to memorialize the victims of Katrina? Some would love a statue of President Bush in a dunce cap, strumming a guitar, with a quote on the plinth from Howard Dean: "He doesn't care about people." But an actual statue is out of the question, since we don't do literal-minded monuments much anymore. You could have the modern memorial, abstract and sorrowful — 800 small buses arranged in a pool, with the words "Never Again" in stone. The original design called for "It Will Never Happen Again" to be carved, but the stones bearing "It" and "Will" were stolen and "Happen" got cut because the memorial committee set aside funds for 498 no-show patronage jobs.

Or you could wait for New Orleans to return on its own, and let the sound of Bourbon Street — sweet jazz, boozy laughter, rubes chundering in the alley — stand as the true memorial to Big Easy's spirit. Given the state of modern civic memorials, that might be best.

Decades ago you could expect a statue of the mayor directing generic city workers to patch the levee, with the word COURAGE chiseled below. Nonsense, perhaps, but it played to our better natures and gave you something to look up to besides the pigeons on the statue's head. But now?

Now our memorials are muted things whose passive beauty often seems at odds with the events they describe. Such a problem arises from the ill-named Crescent of Embrace, a memorial designed to commemorate the heroes of Flight 93.

In this crescent — a red one, in the mockups — many see the symbol of Islam, which was not exactly represented by its best ambassadors on Sept. 11, 2001. Even the design committee noted the Islamic implications of the word "crescent," but went with it anyway — perhaps to show that they were Citizens of the World, ecumenical in their sorrow, and surely not Islamophobic. (Islam is peachy! Unless it's in the Iraqi constitution.)

Grant them that. But you suspect they would never approve the Cross of Understanding, even if the designers intended the shape to represent the airplane that crashed. That would make the wrong people happy and the wrong people mad.

"So you object to New Orleans being the Crescent City?" you say. "Better rename it Jesustown USA right away, you wingnuts!"

Sigh. Look, we don't need giant statues of the guys ramming the drink cart into the door. But pedantic though such a monument might be, future generations would infer the plot. All you get from a Crescent of Embrace is a sorrowful sigh of all-encompassing grief and absolution, as if the lives of all who died on that spot were equal in tragedy. They were not.

Perhaps we might have gaps in the crescent to symbolize the terrorrists? Something that singles them out and excludes them. Or is that just playing into the he-said-shahid-said blame game?

The monument goes along with other sins of commission — the tortured, everybody's-a-sinner museum proposed for the Ground Zero site, the tentative, Euro-styled Trade Center replacement that avoids any notes of bravado or American style, the palpable relief at the major networks that four years had passed and they didn't have to waste valuable advertising time on Sunday night with some bummer recollections of, you know, that.

It's not a red state-blue state issue. There are plenty of liberals who have no time for weepy self-criticism sessions and heal-the-planet memorials.

It is, to use a tiresome sobriquet, a matter of elites vs. the rest of the country — specifically, the artistic sentiment of the elites, which has become so disconnected from the rest of the populace they cannot imagine what else to do but slather the land with abstractions and wind chimes. A statue? Of the people who died? Why, you might as well put a NASCAR track on the site.

Not a bad idea. The endless track represents futility and inability to think of new global conflict-avoidance paradigms. The air will be thick with the exhaust — of shame.

You want a grant for that? Apply to the Heinz Foundation. It helped fund the Crescent, after all.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2005, James Lileks

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