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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 Oct. 7, 2009/ 19 Tishrei 5770

Incremental Insidiousness

By Arnold Ahlert




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Sometimes a confluence of seemingly unrelated events inspires interesting thoughts. Last week Roman Polanski was held by police in Switzerland, and my local cable company broadcast the film "A Clockwork Orange." How are they related?


"A Clockwork Orange" was released in 1971. Being a science fiction fan, and having read the novel by Anthony Burgess, I went to see it as soon as I could. I was not disappointed. Director Stanley Kubrick did a masterful job of re-creating Burgess's vision of a futuristic, dystopian English society, beset by drug-fueled youth enchanted with "ultra-violence."


I bring this up because I remember the original feeling of shock the movie elicited in me thirty eight years ago. This glimpse of the "future" was so dark, and so violent. I remember thinking to myself that, as creative as Mr. Burgess's world was, modern, "enlightened" society could never approach that level of mindless violence and moral depravity.


That was then. Watching the movie again last week, I realized that much of the violence and moral depravity contained in the movie had not only been realized, but that most people were no longer the least bit shocked by it. I wonder if today's younger generations would even realize the movie was meant to shock.


Which brings me to Roman Polanski. Apparently for scores of our entertainment elite, the drugging, raping and sodomizing of a 13-year-old child by a 44-year-old man is also no longer shocking. Their rationale is epitomized by Whoopie Goldberg's now infamous quote about how Mr. Polanski's crime "wasn't rape-rape," implying that there's some sort of sliding scale of acceptability regarding forcible sex with a child.


There is an old wives' tale about how to boil a frog. If one tries to put a frog in a pot of boiling water, the frog with leap out immediately. But if one puts the frog in cold water and heats it slowly, the frog will remain in the pot until it's boiled to death.


Our culture has seemingly become a giant pot of slowly heated water, bubbling away our common sense and common decency. An ultra-violent, dystopian society no longer seems abnormal--and for some, the rape of a child can be morally "offset" by a successful artistic career.


Perhaps mankind's fatal flaw is that virtually anything can be made to seem reasonable if it is dispensed in small enough doses, spread out over time. And perhaps, as shock evolves into acceptance, our last line of defense becomes apathy.


We lose our capacity to be outraged.


There was a time--in my lifetime--when no decent human being would have dared defend Roman Polanski. But we have boiled away decency, one degree at a time. I have no doubt the cadre of celebrities defending Polanski consider themselves to be decent people. It is how they arrive at that conclusion that is the ultimate mystery. We all rationalize some measure of evil (the term "white lie" comes to mind), but when Hollywood petition-signers believe a man who raped a child and avoided justice for thirty years is a victim, the world is upside down.


Or is it? Maybe every civilization has a built-in shelf life in which vice eventually overwhelms virtue. History is littered with the corpses of once-great civilizations whose descents into terminal decline were precipitated by a slide from freedom into license, from virtue into unrestrained vice.


It is somewhat reassuring that the majority of Americans still consider what Polanski did to be an evil thing. It is ironic that the same majority is completely unsurprised that celebrity elitists don't. It is that lack of surprise which indicates an unsettling trend. We are resigned to the fact that there are many people, perhaps too many, who believe we should just "move on" and leave Roman Polanski alone.


Move on? Towards what?

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

Comment on JWR Contributor Arnold Ahlert's column, by clicking here.



Previously:


10/05/09:
MIA: Common Sense and Common Decency
09/30/09: Iran: Bad Options and Unpreparedness
09/21/09: Crying Racism: the Last Refuge of Scoundrels
09/11/09: 9/11 Cannot Be Sanitized
09/08/09: ‘Truthers’ and Consequences
09/01/09: A ‘Paper Trail’ Challenge for the Mainstream Media
08/31/09: Drowning in Amorality
08/26/09: The Republican Recovery Program

© 2009, Arnold Ahlert

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