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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 Nov. 27, 2006 / 6 Kislev 5767

Slurs merit ire, not laws

By Clarence Page


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Until his racist rant at a Los Angeles comedy club threw his faltering standup comedy career onto a bonfire of insanity, Michael Richards was best known to millions as The Guy Who Used to Play Cosmo Kramer on "Seinfeld," which was one of the most popular shows in TV history. Now he's known as the mixed-up weirdo who gave Americans something besides sports and the mid-term elections to talk about over Thanksgiving dinners.


By now you know the story: A raging Richards was caught on somebody's video camera spewing the N-bomb and making obscene references to lynching in response to some black alleged hecklers in his audience on a recent Friday at Hollywood's Laugh Factory.


When the remorseful Richards later apologized ("I'm very, very sorry") on CBS' "Late Night with David Letterman," even he seemed to disbelieve his own denials of racism. "I'm not a racist, that's what so insane about this," he said in a rambling satellite interview. "And yet it is said. It comes through, it fires out of me and even now in the passion that's here as I confront myself." His passive voice ("…It is said.…") sounded as unconvincing as President Ronald Reagan's saying, "mistakes were made" to disassociate himself from the Iran-Contra fiasco. Richards sound like a man trying desperately to disconnect himself from something for which he and only he stands accountable.


His apology to "Afro-Americans," a term not much heard since the 1960s, revealed a man oddly out of touch with cultural currents, especially for an aspiring standup comedian. Yet, if being out of touch on race were a crime, the world would not have enough jails to hold all of the offenders.


With that in mind, one hopes that Richards will not be alone in using this incident as a learning experience, although I'm not expecting miracles. The progress we have made from the era of lynchings to the era of racial bridge-builders like Bill Cosby, Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey fools too many people into thinking our racial divide has been closed — until an ugly surprise like Richards' toxic tirade erupts.


Instead of a learning experience, celebrities caught in such eruptions tend to do what Richards has done: They hire a spin doctor.


Richards has hired Howard Rubinstein, a big-time crisis manager aptly described by The Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes as "The go-to guy for celebrities who have really stepped in it." Rubinstein, in turn, helped arrange apologetic phone calls by Richards to the go-to guys for big-time black rage, the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.


Rev. Jackson has been talking to members of Congress about prohibiting the use of hate language in mass media, according to CBS-owned WBBM-TV in Chicago. If so, let us hope those talks don't get far. It's easy to agree with Jackson that hate speech divides society and can lead to violence, but if we let Congress decide which speech is hateful and what isn't, a lot of comedy clubs would be put out of business.


And that's not all. Everything offends somebody. Imagine the repercussions for TV shows like BET's "Comic View" or HBO's "Def Comedy Jam" that feature black standup comedians. I've heard from readers, for example, who are offended when black standup comics on TV poke fun at whites, Hispanics or Asians in their audiences. From the black cultural point of view, such a good-natured call-out can defuse racial tensions. But, to some white folks and others viewing at home, it's hate speech.


The same caution should greet the looming legal actions that two alleged black male targets of Richards' wrath might take. They've hired celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, the go-to woman for newsmakers with an actionable gripe. In a CNN appearance with her clients, Allred said they deserve compensation for the emotional pain they suffered. If so, I shudder to think where that could end. Current hate-crime laws add penalties to assault and other serious crimes if the offender's speech indicates they were motivated by hate. But, if abusive speech is grounds for a lawsuit without physical damage, the biggest laughs will be coming from lawyers.


Meanwhile, Richards is living with his own punishment, properly condemned by the court of public opinion. Even his hip and edgy comrades in comedy are acknowledging that there still are lines of decency that none of us should cross.


Among the offended is the real Kenny Kramer, on whom Richard's character was based. "Use some of that 'Seinfeld' money to buy yourself an act!," he advised. Right. Try some anger-management therapy, too.

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.

Comment on Clarence Page's column by clicking here.

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