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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 Feb. 1, 2010 / 18 Shevat 5770

Abortion's reality show

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | At first glance, bump-the-show sounds like a reasonable response to "Bump," the show — a new, faux-reality Web-based docudrama featuring actors trying to decide whether to have an abortion.

Think Jerry Springer meets Oprah meets "American Idol" meets Dr. Oz meets . . . America's conscience. For the decision to abort or not to abort is up to you, dear audience.

Has the shark just jumped the shark?

The idea for the "show," which launches Monday, was inspired, of all things, by Barack Obama's commencement address at Notre Dame University last year. When the president said he wanted "to find ways to communicate about a workable solution to the problem of unintended pregnancies," executive producer Dominic Iocco conceived "Bump."

He and co-executive producer Christopher Riley want to see whether stories can succeed where four decades of rhetoric and politics have failed. They fashioned their experiment in a way that would be most appealing to the wired, reality-show generation.

Beginning Feb. 1, episodes will appear each week on Mondays and Thursdays, both on the Web site (BumptheShow.com) and on YouTube, and spectators are invited to comment. A pilot, which appeared on the eve of the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, already had drawn 147 comments by Friday, ranging from criticism of the acting and the doctor's make-up to heartfelt accounts of personal experiences with abortion.

Comments are being carefully monitored to ensure civility, Iocco told me in a telephone interview. The fear is that the conversation could devolve into the usual rants. He worries that once foot soldiers on each side of the debate get wind of "Bump," they'll mobilize their troops and try to firebomb the theater, as it were. A few of the most vitriolic posts already have been removed.

There are so many unappealing facets wrapped into this one package, it's difficult to identify the core offense. That's not so much the fault of the producers — who get some credit for seeking creative ways to advance rational debate — as it is a function of the culture. Media critic Marshall McLuhan was surely right when he declared that the medium is the message and that our media eventually form us. Thus, we find ourselves sitting before computers, inputting opinions about whether fictional characters should terminate a developing human life.

Letter from JWR publisher


Although the idea is to humanize the debate, none of the characters is especially sympathetic. Each of the three women ostensibly selected from a "pool" of 300 is pregnant under varying circumstances with which viewers are expected to relate. To be clear, no one is really pregnant. The actors are all young and white, despite the fact that blacks have abortions at five times the rate of whites. The doctor, however, is African American — a man who combines the reassuring manner of Marcus Welby with the ethereal wisdom of Bagger Vance.

Katie, who is married, is the most appealing by virtue of what seems to be a genuine moral conflict. "Once I make it, I can't go back," she says. Her dilemma is further complicated by the fact that her pregnancy is more recent than her husband's departure for Iraq.

Denise is a ditzy child-woman who loves red candies and picks all the red Starbursts from the bowl at the doctor's office. Already the mother of two, she is also a victim of domestic violence. A "whatever" kind of gal, she's mostly interested in the financial help promised by the show.

Finally, the loathsome Hailey and her icky boyfriend, Jason, just want to get on the reality show. They're the party crashers at the abortion clinic. Yippee.

We're not supposed to judge anyone, of course, but to feel their pain and offer thoughts. Regardless of one's position on abortion, one thought is inescapable: The babies deserve better. Perhaps there will be an adoption sequel?

At this point, the stories are only partly sketched and will be fleshed out based on what Internet denizens proffer. In the end, self-selecting strangers will become as a thousand Caesars, offering a thumbs up or down on the unborn. That some might struggle with their decision on behalf of the voiceless is some consolation. Otherwise, even in the faux world of a not-quite reality show, presenting such a profoundly personal and literally life-altering conflict as interactive entertainment is disturbing and slightly creepy.

Perhaps, ultimately, this is the moral of the story. You can't get there from here.

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.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

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