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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 Dec. 16, 2004 / 4 Teves, 5765

Is McCulture spurring radical Islam ...

By Suzanne Fields


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or is pop-culture the antidote to terrorism?


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When Sarah Jessica Parker, the star of the HBO hit "Sex and the City," loomed large in a scanty sequined dress on a billboard overlooking Jerusalem in behalf of Lux soap, a lot of prospective consumers complained. This was no way for a lady to look, especially to Orthodox Jews. The bare arms and back — not to speak of bare thighs — were quickly covered in a more modest couturier design.


Unilever, the giant consumer goods corporation, got the message. To save face — and money — a spokesman said that it was the climate that dictated the change of dress. Warm weather had suddenly turned cold and the leading lady had to be protected from the big chill. Of course.


Capitalism has great regard for cultural traditions when it's likely to suppress sales. Unlike Bob Dylan, a businessman needs a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. When10 percent of your market is made up of fervently-Orthodox Jews, modesty is important.


Israelis, not unlike the natives of other Middle Eastern cultures, hold divided feelings over the importation of American pop culture and its icons. Along the road to Jerusalem, for example, songs of the king of rock 'n' roll spill out of the Elvis Presley Diner into a parking lot where a 13-foot statue of the king draws in customers eager to be photographed standing next to it. Occasionally, a real live human "Arab Elvis" greets visitors.


Not everyone in Israel approves of Elvis or his music, but he's relatively benign compared to some other pop culture exported to the birthplace of the three great religions. Israel, after all, is an open and democratic society, accustomed to the good and the not so good that come with public exposure to a secular world. Israelis can usually take it or leave it. Muslims see things differently.


In "Jihad vs. McWorld," Benjamin Barber blames the United States for the export of low-culture packages — including pop music, videos, movies and fast food, suggesting that they contribute to the "holy struggle" of them-against-us, even abetting terrorism. The Islamists, he says, feel they're being "colonized" by the secular materialists and polluted by imported cultural trash.

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Such simplistic analysis overlooks the way our popular culture can work in mysterious ways beneath the vulgar appeal to the senses. In a lecture at the American Enterprise Institute, Charles Paul Freund, senior editor of Reason magazine, describes how our popular culture in its different guises is a conduit for liberal values, driving dynamic competition in strange and unlikely places.


When McDonald's opened a restaurant in Istanbul, an ethnologist set out to document how hamburger franchises would damage traditional Turkish cuisine. Instead she discovered that the lowly American burger spurred a renaissance of traditional dishes in the Turkish marketplace.


Even more important, American popular culture can work to encourage young men and women to have confidence in their own potential despite obstacles thrown up by their political systems. Until recently, political satire was rare in the Arab world because it distracted from pan-Arab aims, but today, Freund says, "corruption, hypocrisy and even legitimacy of the Arab political leadership are regularly under attack in a variety of comedy programs."


One weekly television program on an Emirates-based network is something of a knockoff of "Saturday Night Live." A Syrian television comic, described as a fusion of Woody Allen and Groucho Marx, satirizes the Baathist Party, the Syrian public's complicity in its own problems and the cynical Arab exploitation of Palestinian refugees. "Superstar," based on "American Idol," draws contestants from several Arab countries with the audience determining the winner. This year a Libyan beat out a Palestinian in the final round. He didn't have to sing "I hate Israel," popular in certain Middle Eastern circles, to win.


Authoritarian systems wield powerful tools of oppression through censorship, but popular culture has a way of circulating from the bottom up, appealing to intuitive drives and personal dreams that can keep dictators off guard. The mullahs have to compete with Rupert Murdoch's Fox television hits. The Taliban, for all of its ferocious hostility to popular culture, still couldn't control young men from getting Leonardo DiCaprio haircuts in Kabul.


Freund argues that even vulgar music videos can appeal to an independent spirit, loosening the moorings of dictatorial power and the sheep-like conformity of groupthink. This enrages some and pleases others, but a singer who wants to be a superstar won't wear a bomb around his waist. American popular culture is the culture of life, vulgar as it can be, and not death. Original American creativity can inspire others to dream for something better in this world — even better than soap. .

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