In this issue
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 28, 2010 / 14 Iyar 5770

Freedom of . . . sketch

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Once you've gone viral, there's no turning back.

That's the hard lesson for a Seattle cartoonist who sketched some doodles and unwittingly launched a movement.

Molly Norris, a reluctant phenomenon, wants to return to her quiet artist's life, the one she lived largely unnoticed until she drew the Prophet Muhammad — as a spool of thread, a box of pasta, a cup of coffee, a domino, a cherry and a doggie purse.

Take your pick. Since depictions of Muhammad aren't allowed under some (but not all) interpretations of Islam, no one knows what he looks like. And, bummer alert, anyone who tries to capture his likeness is subject to punishment by death.

The text on Norris's cartoon, a poster calling for a national "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" on May 20, reads: "Will the REAL likeness of the prophet Mohammed please stand up?!"

Clever girl, but perhaps too clever?

Her idea, which Norris insists was intended only to serve as a stand-alone cartoon — not a movement! — has spawned a Facebook page that boasted more than 8,500 members by Tuesday afternoon. Apparently, lots and lots of people want to see this thing through.

Not Norris, who was merely trying to express solidarity with Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the "South Park" creators threatened by a radical Muslim group (or 12 guys and a Web site) offended by a recent episode not depicting Muhammad. Actually, the cartoon Muhammad was wearing a bear costume.

Horrors. (One can't even muster the requisite outrage to install exclamation points.) But seriously?


One Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee (a.k.a. Zachary Chesser of Virginia) posted a warning on the Revolution Muslim Web site suggesting that Parker and Stone might wind up the way murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh did. Van Gogh's offense was making a film about Islam's abuse of women.

Letter from JWR publisher

In response to the threat, the bosses at Comedy Central knelt before the altar of — no joke — political correctness and censored a subsequent episode, bleeping all mentions of Muhammad, as well as a short segment about fear and censorship.

Who could have guessed that the clash of civilizations would be fought by cartoon characters?

Enter Norris, who had the simple idea that this was silliness and deserved further poking. And then things really got out of control. Norris wants out and has begun to distance herself from the fray, which has taken on a life of its own.

A cartoon on Norris's Web site shows her wearing a peace-sign T-shirt, seated at her drawing board in a swirl of balloon thoughts: "I am a cartoonist. I never 'launched' a day to draw Mohammed." "Good thing I am married to a SUMO WRESTLER!" "This was always about the freedom to draw what we want in the U.S.A." And perhaps most to the point:

"I have hit some kind of gigantic nerve."

Indeed you have, Ms. Molly. But there's a reason you hit a nerve, and it bears further discussion. Gigantic nerves are repositories of truth. Once you've tapped one, exploding electric currents ricochet across the landscape of the human psyche. A light goes on in a Seattle studio, and suddenly the nation is illuminated by a bright idea.

The truth is that Americans love their free speech and have had enough of those who think they can dictate the limits of that fundamental right. Americans also love humor and the irreverence that underpins the joke.

You might say irreverence is our national religion. It keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously and from killing one another over differences of opinion. Cartoons get under our skin in special ways, driving past our defenses and aiming right for the heart of our self-importance. That's why we respond so emotionally.

Barring the occasional offensive punch line, humor is a mostly pleasant test of our allegiance to founding principles. Think of it this way: The degree to which one can tolerate ribbing about one's most deeply held convictions is the degree to which a society can remain free. We honor that notion through our laws and our sense of humor. We may not all laugh at the same things, but most understand that it ain't personal.

Norris's cartoon was a fine idea, but she should be relieved of further duty or responsibility. As for the rest of you characters: Draw to any heart's discontent. It's a free country.

For now.

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