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December 2, 2014

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 Sept. 5, 2006 / 12 Elul, 5766

A ride in the divorcemobile

By Suzanne Fields


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Detroit will try anything, even melancholia, to sell cars, even to women. Our automakers are finally into quality, having learned their lesson from the Japanese, the Germans and the Koreans, and now build tougher and more reliable cars. Changing perceptions is more difficult. Detroit is betting that sadness, sorrow, woe and gloom, along with a female version of macho, can tease customers back into the showrooms. Interesting work, if you can get it.


General Motors huffs and puffs to remain the No. 1 automaker in the world, so far managing to stay just ahead of Toyota. The company that Henry Ford built is trying to stay out of bankruptcy by closing plants, and may sell off its prestigious foreign badges, including the elegant Jaguar, the politically correct Volvo and Land Rover, the scourge of elephants, rhinos and hippopotami.


Hard times will make a monkey eat red pepper, as the wisest man I ever knew (Daddy, of course) was fond of saying, and Labor Day, once a joyous occasion in Detroit, is this year just another day to fret. In a remarkable bit of pushing the advertising envelope, a television commercial for the new Ford Freestyle, an SUV that was left out in the rain to shrink to about half the size of the behemoths that have taken over the narrow streets in nearly every city, a mom and a dad start out for a day at the beach with a back seat full of happy, smiling kids.


The car moves across desert and plain, through Norman Rockwell country, down hill and past dale, and home again after a good time is had by all. Then the Ford stops, Dad gets out, pulling his little duffel bag with him, and looks gratefully at his wife. She's in the driver's seat, of course. "Thanks for inviting me along," he says, and to the kids, adds: "I'll see you next week." The wife gives him a wan but relieved smile, the little family dog barks a sad little bark, and Mom and the kids drive away in what critics are calling "the Divorcemobile."


"This is perhaps the weirdest commercial I've covered," observes Seth Stevenson, an automobile writer, in Slate, the online magazine. "It is a freakish mash-up, blending a classically boring car ad with a bizarre stab at social commentary. I can't for the life of me see what Ford hopes to achieve here."


Maybe it's to make divorced wives and children of divorce feel better, to make them feel included in the warm and cuddly fantasy world of television commercials. Nothing wrong with that. Or maybe it's to make women feel more in control, even when they aren't. The man in the Ford commercial is a bit of a wimp — "wet," as the British say — and some critics say he looks gay, or at least metrosexual. The wife doesn't look particularly sad that she's not taking him home with her. Neither do the kids.


It's not just Ford. In a commercial for Hummer, the monster SUV that's more Abrams tank than something fit for the road, two moms are minding their children at a playground swing. One of the other kids shoves her child off the swing, and the mother of the shoving kid just shrugs. That does it. The mom of the shovee races off to buy a Hummer, and we're to conclude that she may not necessarily intend to run over the next kid who shoves her child off a swing, but now she's got the moving sheet metal to take her half of the highway of life out of the middle of the road.


Ford and Hummer and the rest of Detroit are trying to survive in the era of $3 a gallon gasoline, and they're stuck with cars the size of trucks. Sympathy for the plight of American automakers is not what it used to be. Republicans in Michigan are miffed that George W. Bush and his friends in Congress are saying that Detroit has brought its woes on itself, and should focus, like the Japanese and the Koreans, on building more "relevant" vehicles. Michigan Republicans think they have a shot at electing a governor this year and in 2008 turning the state from blue to red for the first time in 18 years. Indifference by their friends in Washington stings.


Television commercials reflect reality far more accurately than prime-time comedies and PBS documentaries, and divorce and broken homes are our reality, shorn of stigma but not sadness. So are wrecks on the highway, flat tires in the rain and angst around Granny's deathbed. Is that the next stop on the road to the showroom?

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 JWR contributor Suzanne Fields' column by clicking here.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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