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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. 7, 2007 / 26 Mar-Cheshvan 5768

‘Anti-’ doesn't sell

By Jonah Goldberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | We've all heard the stories, many true, some apocryphal, of soldiers returning home from Vietnam only to be disrespected and shunned by an ungrateful nation. How many were called war criminals or spat upon is as controversial as it is unknowable. But there's one thing we know our troops never experienced. We never filled the movie theaters during wartime with films calling them war criminals, rapists and, figuratively, spitting on them or on their mission.


Not so today.


Hollywood has been churning out anti-war movies at a blistering pace of late, with more to come. We've already had "Rendition," a tendentious, plodding assault on the war on terror, seemingly as-told-to by the ACLU, starring Reese Witherspoon, Peter Sarsgaard, Meryl Streep and Jake Gyllenhaal. There's the meandering "In the Valley of Elah," written and directed by Paul Haggis, about a family dealing with a cover-up of their soldier-son's death in an unnecessary war. "The Kingdom," more exciting than most, deals with an FBI team's attempt to investigate a terrorist attack on Americans in Saudi Arabia. Its anti-war credentials come from suggesting that the sworn lawmen (and women) investigating the slaughter of families playing softball are no better than the murderers.


Coming next month: "Lions for Lambs," starring Tom Cruise, Robert Redford and Meryl Streep — which gives every indication of being a theatrical version of a loaded question from Helen Thomas at a White House briefing — and "Redacted," a fake documentary directed by Brian De Palma, in which U.S. troops are depicted as dehumanized rapists. Next spring comes "Stop Loss," starring Ryan Phillippe, the supposedly heroic soldier who refuses to fight. And there are a whole slew of anti-war books being adapted for the screen as well.


To be sure, many of these films don't attack the troops directly. Some are thoughtful in their critiques, others less so. Regardless, this is still uncharted territory. "These movies certainly are more willing to be critical of the military and misconduct of individual soldiers. Certainly no such feature was made like these during . . . the Vietnam War," Charles Ferguson, a political scientist and creator of the anti-Iraq war documentary, "No End In Sight," recently told The Philadelphia Inquirer. But here's the interesting part: So far, these movies are tanking. "Rendition" opened on 2,250 screens, with three Oscar winners in the cast, and it was beaten its opening weekend by a re-release of the 14-year-old "A Nightmare Before Christmas." "Elah" was a bigger bomb than those used in the "shock and awe" campaign. "The Kingdom" earned less than $50 million, and surely only did that well because it was marketed as an action movie rather than an anti-war one. Jeanine Basinger, a film historian at Wesleyan University, speculates that "these films are coming forward during the progress of a war and questioning it sooner may mean that the general public is rejecting what our leaders are telling us ... and want to know more about the war."


This is an odd, yet unsurprising, interpretation in an age when "The Daily Show" is a primary news source.


The public doesn't get to decide what movies are made. As President Bush might say, Hollywood is the "decider." The public determines which movies are successful. Perhaps the studios of yesteryear knew something today's moguls don't. Maybe Americans don't like to see America and her troops run down, even during an unpopular war.


When Peter Berg tested "The Kingdom" on Americans, he was horrified when the audience cheered when the FBI killed the terrorists at the end. "Am I experiencing American bloodlust?" the director agonized. Berg's contemptuous reaction toward American audiences may point to a few of the reasons these movies are faring poorly at American box offices.


First, economics. Hollywood cares less and less about what Americans think of their products because as domestic movie attendance has declined, Hollywood shifted its aim to foreign markets. In America, filmmakers are at pains to insist their anti-war fare isn't anti-American. No such distinctions need be made when these films open at Cannes, Venice and Toronto. Denouncing the war isn't only good marketing in Europe, it's the fastest route to critical acclaim.


Second, Americans may not be as passionately opposed to the war as the polls have led Hollywood to believe. Left-wing bloggers, hyper-rich Democratic donors and anti-war activists hate the war with biblical fury. But many average Americans are depressed by the war because, until recently, it was going so badly. The polls don't capture this distinction very well.


This illuminates an underdiscussed dynamic of our times. Americans are both anti-war and anti-anti-war. Polls show they are disgusted with Republicans and Democrats. Hollywood and the left generally have misread this political discontent thinking there's a mandate for their trite Vietnam-era nostalgia for mass protest and Joan Baez speechifying. But few Americans are eager to spend their money to listen to the Jane Fonda set say, "I told you so!" for two hours. Especially not when we've heard it all before. (Indeed, "Redacted" is essentially a remake of his Vietnam movie "Casualties of War.")


By confusing the public's war-weariness with their own carefully cultivated rage they've badly overreached. Rage may be a good box office draw; exhaustion isn't. The late film critic Pauline Kael is reported to have said that Nixon couldn't have won because she didn't know anybody who voted for him. Similarly, maybe everyone Paul Haggis knows shares his hatred for the war, but he just doesn't know enough people to make a hit.

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