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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 Jan. 24, 2011 / 19 Shevat, 5771

Disarm the language police

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As a longtime champion of greater civility in public discourse and one who has led the charge for dialed-back rhetoric, may I respectfully take most of it back?

OMG, as we mutter quietly to ourselves. Heaven forbid we should say something offensive or slightly provocative, or, gasp, use a metaphor that slips the grasp of the mentally challenged.

The purse-lipped gossip formerly known as the little ol' lady next door has become the superego of the vox populi. We may be at risk of being bored to death by our better angels.

In the contest for popular outrage the past few days, we have several possible targets. Wait, scratch that. We don't "target" people anymore. We trace them with hearts and dot our I's with smiley faces.

Most infamous, of course, is the hysteria around Sarah Palin's political map, wherein she, or someone in her den of mama grizzlies, placed cross hairs over congressional districts held by Democrats or other undesirable incumbents. One, alas, was over Tucson, where Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was gunned down.

That terrible event, perpetrated by a random killer whose political leanings are unclear but whose mental instability is not in doubt, thus has been connected to Palin. This history is well-known so there's no need to rehash, but the debate about words and consequences shouldn't end there.

Palin reacted as she always does when criticized - "I am not going to sit down. I'm not going to shut up," which we know to be literally true - but she is surely justified in rejecting blame for a crime committed by a stranger, who, as far as anyone knows, has no affinity for Palin or any other human.

Her unrelated instructions to her minions - "Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!" - sound utterly appalling in light of what happened, but everyone knows Palin wasn't urging violence. She's an outdoorsy kind of gal who has made shtick out of her oneness with nature. When she uses the language of hunting and shooting, she isn't speaking code to killers. She's dog whistling to Ted Nugent and other Second Amendment comrades.

You want real trouble in free speechery? Suggest that someone is Hitler-esque or a Nazi, as Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen recently did. Cohen was trying to make the case that, in his view, Republicans have created untruths about health-care reform that have become credible through repetition. Inartfully, he paraphrased a quotation often attributed to Joseph Goebbels: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

Cohen should have remembered the famous quip that a lie travels halfway around the world while truth is still putting on its boots. A feather is better than a cudgel if you want to change people's minds as opposed to rearranging their skulls.

For my two cents, anyone who invokes Hitler or Nazis should be disqualified from public debate for muddled thinking and lack of originality. But the outrage that inevitably follows any utterance that displeases anyone's ear these days has become disproportionate to the offense. This is partly a function of our Twitter-driven culture and the incessant replay of every fleeting thought - not to mention the ravenous appetite of the media beast - but it's also partly owing to a creeping tide of speech monitoring and sensitivity-on-command that deserves our attention.

Every now and then a public person is going to say or do something regrettable. I am beyond certain that our most beloved leaders were imperfect and must have said something inexact, without proper forethought or prescience. Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Roosevelt, among other notables, would be deeply grateful that they avoided these hyper-observant times.

Clearly, leaders are held to a higher standard and should be guardians of the light. Or, as the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy recently put it with passionate precision: "We are guardians of ze words!"

But human beings are not built for perfection or for constant scrutiny. We need time alone in our caves to reflect and imagine. We also need to be able to express our thoughts without fear of instant condemnation, granted time to reshuffle and regret, time to say, hey, I was wrong about that. Perhaps most of all, we need space to think more and talk less.

While we ponder that concept, at least we should hoard our outrage for the truly outrageous and our disdain for the truly hateful.

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