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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. 15, 2007 / 5 Kislev 5768

Must-flee TV

By Cal Thomas


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | .There are events in most of our lives that offer opportunities for us to change our ways. The strike by television writers affords one such opportunity.


By its very nature, television is mostly illusion. During the golden age of television (that would be the '50s and '60s), real audiences laughed (or didn't laugh) at comedy shows, which were mostly live. If you weren't funny, you didn't get laughs. But most shows were genuinely funny and devoid of bad language. The FCC had more influence then and there were only three television networks. Today, a laugh track laughs for you, whether or not anything is funny and most "comedy" is full of sexual innuendo. On cable, there is no innuendo. The f-word is used like a bludgeon.


Female "scientists" on the crime shows display enough cleavage that if the commercial were for Victoria's Secret, viewers wouldn't notice the transition. Such fantasies don't resemble any female scientist I know, nor would a professional woman dress like a hooker for the office. It's not much better in the news division, especially on cable, where female anchors and reporters resemble Barbie doll cutouts. They mostly look alike: big hair; big lips; big well, you get the idea. The Website Radar (www.radaronline.com) recently had a quiz that asked people to distinguish between a list of female anchors and porn stars. I scored seven out of 10 correct. That's because I recognized the anchors, not the porn stars, though the two are increasingly difficult to tell apart.


Entertainment scripts are formulaic: plenty of murders, bad language, sex, explosions and gallons of blood and gore. Even when they're not "re-runs," the plots are mostly re-runs. So is the news. On broadcast TV, Bush is evil, the Iraq war is wrong, higher taxes and bigger government are good, Democrats are righteous and Republicans are sinners. On cable — depending on the channel — Republicans are good and Democrats are bad, or the reverse. Guests scream at each other and question the other's patriotism. There are stories about missing women, murdered women, missing children, and various lowlifes who, were it not for TV, would be wallowing in deserved obscurity.


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Rather than watch re-runs (new or old), now would be a good time to consider turning off the TV and returning to those thrilling days of yesteryear, before the Lone Ranger, even before TV. That's when families scheduled dinner together and talked about the day's events and developments in the world. Useful information was passed from adult to child and back.


Before TV, more people read books. They also read newspapers and there were more of them to read. Readers talked with others about what they had read. Good stories by good writers transported readers to other worlds, giving them vicarious experiences that made them feel good, offering hope and laughter.


Recently on PBS, I stumbled upon the 22-year-old made-for-television film, "Anne of Green Gables." It was one of the most pleasant TV experiences I have had in a long time. It is a redemptive and lovely film, wonderfully written, beautifully shot and splendidly cast. It left me with a good feeling, in contrast to much of what is on most TV stations, which usually makes one with any taste, education or class want to take a bath. "Anne" was an oasis in a "vast wasteland," to recall what FCC Commissioner Newton Minow said about television 46 years ago.


Television was once viewed as a welcome guest in the home. Programmers were to behave as any guest, not soiling the carpet or breaking furniture, controlling their children and demonstrating sensibilities that would not offend their hosts. No more. Today's television programs behave like uninvited guests who stay too long, eat all the food, drink too much and throw up on the new rug.


Most people could live without TV if they tried. The Writers Guild strike gives them that chance. Take a walk with your daughter. Have a conversation with your wife, your husband. Eat dinner together as a family without the distraction of the television set. Read a book and immerse yourself in fictional characters or real history. Instead of being spoon-fed irrelevancies and meaningless chatter, exercise your mind. You will quickly form new, more pleasant habits that will leave you with better feelings than does TV's corrupt fare from which more of us should flee.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


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Cal Thomas Archives

JWR contributor Cal Thomas is co-author with Bob Beckel, a liberal Democratic Party strategist, of "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America". Comment by clicking here.

© 2006, Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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