In this issue
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. 14, 2006 / 21 Elul, 5766

An oasis to celebrate

By Suzanne Fields

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Anniversaries are artificial landmarks, but they focus the mind on the details of the remembrance of things past, details otherwise lost to the amnesia of the present. Whether it's a birthday, a wedding anniversary or marking the fifth year since a landmark event like September 11, we're forced to evaluate ourselves in relation to how things have changed.

The anniversary of 9/11 leads to comparisons, a search through history for clues about how to deal with landmark events of our own experience. The New Criterion, a magazine that consistently separates the tares from the wheat of what's new, measuring current writers, artists and ideas against the standards of the past, dares to draw on the unfashionable to measure the fashions of our day. Rudyard Kipling and Evelyn Waugh, for example.

In its 25th anniversary issue, the magazine resurrects Waugh quoting Kipling with words that resound with prescient urgency. "Kipling believed civilization to be something laboriously achieved, which was only precariously defended," Waugh wrote. "He wanted to see the defenses fully manned and he hated the liberals because he thought them gullible and feeble, believing in the easy perfectibility of man and ready to abandon the work of centuries for sentimental qualms."

Waugh's observations written three decades earlier in 1938 mark crucial and dangerous parallels in 2006: "Barbarism is never finally defeated; given propitious circumstances, men and women who seem quite orderly will commit every conceivable atrocity. The danger does not come merely from habitual hooligans; we are all potential recruits for anarchy. Unremitting effort is needed to keep men living together at peace; there is only a margin of energy left over for experiment however beneficent."

A 25th anniversary for a small magazine dedicated to arts and ideas is a big moment in a cultural landscape ravaged by dumbed-down relativism and celebrity hijinks. With a small circulation of only 6,000 subscribers, the New Criterion is an oasis in the chaos of criticism that has afflicted the intellectual (so called) establishment since postmodernism became fashionable. It sees the task of preserving culture as yet another battle in the war for survival. The magazine and its editors are conservative in the sense that they want to conserve what's best in the written word, the artistic image, music, dance and theater. It's a reprise of the ancient attempt to understand the finest aspirations of humankind.

Such a magazine can be pompous and esoteric, intellectually arrogant and self-assured when it declaims what it likes (and doesn't like), but this one holds the line on making essential cultural judgments. These are true to Matthew Arnold's definition of the function of criticism, which is "to learn and propagate the best which has been known and thought in the world." Or as Goethe might put it: "To act is so easy; to think is so hard."

We must be vigilant in confronting the newest ideas just because they are untried and untested against evil and stupidity, the lowest of the common denominators of culture. We can't always see the enemy lurking in the ideologies that take over the minds of those who should know better. What the criticism in the New Criterion makes clear is that there is no absolute demarcation between political standards and aesthetic discipline. Sloppy thinking infects both the arts and governance, and high IQs and SAT scores are no guarantee against mediocrity and mendacity.

The cultural heroes of the intellectual left of recent years included Ho Chi Minh, Che Guevara and Chairman Mao, whose faces still adorn T-shirts on college campuses. Intellectual luminaries of the Cold War years, including Jean Paul Sartre, Bertolt Brecht, Simone de Beauvoir and Bertrand Russell, socialists all, don't seem quite so luminous today.

"Humankind cannot bear very much reality," wrote T.S. Eliot on founding the first Criterion magazine in 1922, the model and inspiration for the New Criterion, founded in 1982 by Hilton Kramer, who was then chief art critic of The New York Times, and music critic Samuel Lipman. The magazine was founded to confront the dangers inherent in the current academic debates, where issues of race, gender and class dominate aesthetic judgment.

The insidious assault on ideas that emanated from the leftward intellectual turns in the '60s marked the birth of the New Criterion, and this leftward intellectual turn continues as a target for essays: "In everything from the writing of textbooks to the reviewing of trade books, from the introduction of kitsch into the museums to the decline of literacy in the schools to the corruption of scholarly research, the effect on the life of culture has been on-going and catastrophic." The New Criterion has exposed the worst of times, but rescued and identified what's best in the creative culture. An anniversary to celebrate.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields