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 Nov. 2, 2006 / 11 Mar-Cheshvan, 5767

Keeping up with the Joneses

By Suzanne Fields

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's not easy to wear a label. Too many issues crisscross the lines between liberal and conservative. As in most big families, we're squabbling with each other and challenging Papa Bush and fighting with Mommy Pelosi. Their advisers and consultants are fuming about how to "turn out the base," but it's not clear anymore just what "the base" means.

Peggy Noonan, the scribe for the Reagan Revolution, questions the meaning of the term everyone is talking about. "Nobody sees himself as the base," she observes in The Wall Street Journal. "They see themselves as individuals. And they're not dumb. . . . They know when you're trying to manipulate them."

Camille Paglia, the maverick of arts and letters who describes herself as a Democrat but not a Bush hater, pinpoints the flaw in what the pollsters call her "cohort." She blames the culture of dumbness wrought by liberal professors on campus and encouraged in real life.

"My generation of baby-boom Democrats hasn't done much thinking about international issues except in terms of postmodernist fragmentation or fuzzy, smiley-face multiculturalism," she tells Salon magazine. "We desperately need better candidates." She's particularly hard on baby boomer Bill Clinton, "a compulsive blabbermouth who is compromising his own dignity as a former president. . . . Why is Clinton undermining the authority of the president when national security is so sensitive?" It's too late for Hillary to dump him, but if she were to become president we'd really be in trouble, saddled with a dangerous co-presidency.

If the boomers don't understand the rules of the world where they live, the generation of voters in college today knows even less. The Intercollegiate Studies Institute recently tested 14,000 freshmen and seniors at 50 colleges with 60 questions on American history, government, market economies and U.S. foreign policy. The average "civic literacy" score for seniors was 53.2 percent, for freshman 54.7 percent. Failing grades all.

The longer a student attends class, the dumber he gets. Students at the elite schools fared worse than students at some church and land-grant schools. The Ivy League school whose students ranked highest were those at Princeton, at No. 18. Harvard's students were 25th. The lowest scores were posted at such bastions of higher learning as Cornell, University of California at Berkeley and Johns Hopkins. Go figure, as some unhappy parents will no doubt do.

But there's a voting cohort between Generation Xers and boomers that bears watching. They're the not-so-young Generation Jones. If they're not "the lost generation," they're invisible to most of our culture commentators. The Joneses, who were born between 1954 and 1965, are usually included in the boomer cohort, but Jonathan Pontell, a pop culture consultant who coined the name, says that's a mistake. He thinks the Jonesers may be crucial in next week's congressional elections.

"Coming of age politically in the late 1970s and early 1980s," he says, "Jonesers were the much discussed 'ReaganYouth,' and are the most conservative U.S. generation by a considerable margin." He credits Jonesers, particularly the women, with tipping the election for George W. in the swing states two years ago when they comprised approximately a quarter of the electorate.

They are disproportionately represented among theme voters, such as NASCAR enthusiasts, Office Park Dads and Soccer-Security-Mortgage Moms. They cluster around issues of "moral values," and were polled as pulling away from conservative candidates after the Foley scandal. Now the latest polls show that they have conspicuously returned to the Republican base (apologies to Peggy Noonan).

What makes them different from the boomers is that during their formative years, while their older brothers and sisters were indulging the hedonistic pleasures of Woodstock, they were at home watching the Brady Bunch and supping on mashed potatoes with both parents at the dinner table. They were not traumatized by the Kennedy assassination, but terrified by Jimmy Carter's Iranian hostage crisis. They weren't interested in kicking Richard Nixon around, but were grateful to Ronald Reagan for restoring America's strength in the world.

All labels, generational or otherwise, are handy for pollsters but ultimately misleading. We're more likely to identify with those who share the nostalgia for our youth, especially the connections of music, whether Frank Sinatra, Elvis, the Beatles, Jim Morrison or Madonna. Pop icons don't always tell you much about voter preferences, but Bob Dylan famously observed that "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." Next week we're likely to learn which candidates kept up with the Joneses.

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.

Comment on JWR contributor Suzanne Fields' column by clicking here.


Suzanne Fields Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields