In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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 Sept. 1, 2006 / 1 Elul, 5766

Celebration of Sadness

By Greg Crosby

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | We are currently in the throws of two significant anniversaries, the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the five-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks. It seems to me that our society spends an awful lot of time on what I call the celebration of sadness. This is a relatively new phenomenon in our culture and one I admit I don't fully understand.

I should make it clear at the onset that I am a firm believer in keeping selective unpleasant memories alive. Rallying calls such as "Remember the Maine," "Remember the Alamo," and "Remember Pearl Harbor" were important not only for the patriotic unity it inspired at the time, but as an historical reminder of what enemies can do to us when we let out guard down. In that respect I would certainly support the idea of "Remember 9/11." Our nation must never forget that day. But why must we "Remember Katrina?"

Ever since natural disasters have been happening to humans (which is ever since there have been humans), the usual sequence of events has been: a) a period of grief, b) a period of rebuilding, and c) growth. The Chicago fire, the San Francisco earthquake, and any number of devastating brushfires in Southern California, to name just a few national disasters, all had the grief, rebuilding, and growth elements in common. But to my knowledge, yearly celebrations commemorating these tragedies never took place, as they seem to do for modern-day tragedies.

This notion of commemorating grief is more than a bit bizarre. Commemorating grief, celebrating sadness, wallowing in sorrow - whatever you choose to call it - is undoubtedly something that has sprung out of the "getting in touch with your feelings" mentality. It is that same thinking that has allowed for sorrow (once a very private thing) to be publicly (and proudly it seems) displayed. I don't think this represents a healthy cultural change.

There once was a time when we celebrated the BEGINNINGS of events, not the ends of them. We remembered the birthdays of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and other important Americans, not the day they died. All that changed with the Kennedy assassination. When I was in school everyone knew that George Washington was born on February 22nd - no one knew or cared when he died. I would argue that more people today remember the date that JFK was shot, not the day he was born.

When you remember the birthday of an important individual you are honoring his life, celebrating the "death day" of a person does the opposite. It is the good works, the accomplishments of the life of that heroic figure that should be celebrated, not the day he died. You MOURN a person at the time of his or her death, but you don't go on mourning year after year. When it is your own loved one that has died, you remember them and you honor them quietly on that day for years to come, but the outward mourning should not continue.

In the case of President Kennedy, his assassination is remembered, reviewed, and replayed year after year. We remember Kennedy not for what he did in office, but for how he was killed. The same goes for Princess Di. Elvis' birthday is commemorated, but so is his death-day. Elvis film festivals and other celebratory events are planned around both dates. Why an avid Presley fan would want to celebrate the day he died is beyond me. It's all part of the celebration of sadness.

Death commemoration is not just for the famous. I don't know if it goes on in other parts of the country as much, but in Los Angeles whenever a person is killed in an automobile accident, almost overnight you see bunches of flowers, stuffed toy animals, hand-made sympathy signs of poetry and scores of memorial candles showing up at the place on the street or near the corner where the person was killed. This is a new thing. Flowers and other items of commemoration used to be kept within the confines of the cemetery, now they are placed at the public place where the person's death actually occurred. Public sorrow is in.

And now we've graduated from the placing of candles, flowers, and teddy bears on street corners to erecting permanent memorials at the locations where major tragedies have occurred. I can certainly understand putting up discreetly placed commemorative markers and plaques for extraordinary events such as the 9/11 attack, but the massive spending of who knows how many hundreds of millions (or billion?) on mega-memorials is insane. Major memorials will be going up at the Pennsylvania crash site and the Pentagon as well as the Twin Tower location.

I'm sure there will be some sort of enormous memorial erected in New Orleans for the Katrina disaster. Will we construct memorials for every single hurricane, flood, fire, explosion, rainstorm and earthquake in the future? At that rate, eventually the whole world could be filled with nothing but elaborate memorials to tragedy.

I know it is important to remember and honor those who have died in tragic ways - we should, of course. The families of victims must, as always, mourn, remember and honor their loved ones in their own private way - anyway they wish to do so. But as a society, I just wish we would spend a bit less time wallowing in it all, it starts to feel like national self-pity when we do. What is more important than expensive mega-memorials, to my way of thinking, is to figure out how and why the disaster happened in the first place so that steps can be taken to prevent it from reoccurring.

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

JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

Greg Crosby Archives

© 2006, Greg Crosby