Home
In this issue
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 April 12, 2007 / 24 Nissan, 5767

The rites of Spring

By Paul Greenberg


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | April is the cruelest month, mixing memory and desire. Or so T. S. Eliot opined. How did he know, not being a Cubs fan?


Perhaps that poet and expatriate forsook baseball altogether, like optimism and all else American, when he settled in London and became more English than the English. What a pity. With his talent for the elegiac, Thomas Stearns Eliot would have made a fine baseball writer instead of only a pretentious poet.


You have to be a Cubs fan to know tragedy season after unrelenting season. Only a few short years ago, I could have used the Red Sox as the personification of the tragic art. But then the Bosox had to go and win a World Series championship in 2004, their first since 1918.


What a shock. It was like seeing a Shakespearean tragedy redone as a musical comedy in which King Lear, Macbeth, and Hamlet all join in a fantastic, free-wheeling, high-kicking Busby Berkeley finale before rushing off to live happily ever after. It's just not natural.


Before the Red Sox did the unthinkable, and broke their 86-year record of hope denied, T. S. Eliot's dour mix of lamentation and cynicism would have equipped him perfectly for a seat in the press box at Fenway, staring at the insurmountable Green Monster, contemplating the glory that was Carlton Fisk, the grandeur that was Ted Williams.


I can see ol' T. S. there now, peering at that field of dreams through his round spectacles and over-educated sensibilities, and writing about the hollow men, the stuffed men. Namely, the Red Sox infield standing there helplessly as a routine grounder somehow gets past the pitcher, shortstop, second baseman, and out into center field, where it rolls to an unimpeded stop — not with a bang but a whimper.


But if the Red Sox can win a World Series, there is no longer any hope for tragedy, at least outside Wrigley Field. Can anyone imagine the late A. Bartlett Giamatti — scholar, dean, president of the National League, and just plain fan — writing his tragic ode to the game ("The Green Fields of the Mind") after the Red Sox had won their world championship? It would have been like mourning at a wedding.


Happily, his beloved Bosox continued their losing streak during his lifetime; Bart Giamatti did not have to endure joy. His eloquence remained unmarred by anything so vulgar as victory.


Even now the opening words of Professor Giamatti's essay steel the soul against coming disappointment, preparing us in this vibrant spring for the bitterness sure to come in inevitable autumn:


"It breaks your heart, it is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone."


No wonder a natural tragedian like Mr. Eliot, who sang of decadence as others sing of arms and the man, became an expatriate, leaving the literature of baseball to Zen masters like Yogi Berra and Casey Stengel, who turned the English language any way but loose.


T. S., thou shouldst be with us now, for the fading national pastime calls for someone who can celebrate crumbling stadiums and their replacement by fashionable retro parks that look old but don't feel old — see Camden Yards in Baltimore.


These fashionable new ballparks bring to mind one of those perfectly planned communities — like Seaside, Florida — that are designed to invoke the turn of another century, only equipped with all the modern conveniences. Think of the Coliseum in Rome with skyboxes, the pyramids equipped with escalators, Stonehenge outlined in neon….


The only element lacking in these faux-antique ballparks is the one that cannot be manufactured, fabricated, sprayed on or appliquéd: the indelible touch that only time can give a place, a person, a piece of wisdom.


This new, fashionable faux past holds scant appeal for some of us. Me, I'd trade Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" any time for the work of a real composer like Red Smith when he was covering sports for the old New York Herald-Tribune, the original writer's newspaper. Now there was an artist. His poetry, unlike Mr. Eliot's, didn't need any footnotes. Only an occasional box score.


Happily, the sense of time past and glories evaded will in time come to these slick new parks, too. As sure as the sun rises and hasteneth to the place where it is arose. Baseball stadiums are mortal, too, which explains why the new ones have all the perfect, unconscious hauteur of youth, and the old are so venerated, especially if they come with assorted crotchets and crannies carved by time, like wrinkles on a face. Think of Fenway in Boston or Candlestick in San Francisco, where the Giants used to play in fog, chill and mist on a technically summer's day.


The new does have its charms, like bright hope when compared to dismal experience. It would be a sin to reject it only because it is new — instead of welcoming, enjoying, and celebrating it this perfect April, when all is promise. Play ball!

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.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

Paul Greenberg Archives

© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles