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 June 29, 2007 / 13 Tamuz, 5767

Rage Boy vs. Civilization

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Internet recently has introduced the world to two memorable individuals — mostly recognizable by their mouths — who vividly illustrate the striking cultural difference between East and West.

One is best known as "Rage Boy,'' featured on several blogs and popularized by Christopher Hitchens in a recent column. Rage Boy is a Kashmiri protester — one of those perennials who show up for marches, funeral processions, wherever there's a crowd and, more importantly, a camera.

In every captured image, he is, well, enraged. Bearded and bug-eyed, he shouts protests against, oh, whatever: Salman Rushdie's knighthood, Pope Benedict XVI's remarks about Islam, Danish cartoons that hurt Muslim feelings. Another day, another outrage.

Now a familiar icon, thanks to blogs such as thenoseonyourface.com and snappedshot.com, Rage Boy's oral fixations and dental architecture are recognized by millions.

As are those of the other gentleman, though for distinctly different reasons. Paul Potts is the humble cell phone salesman from southern Wales who recently won "Britain's Got Talent,'' a television talent-search show like "American Idol,'' by singing "Nessun Dorma,'' an aria from Puccini's "Turandot.''

It was stunning to watch and hear, not least because of the audience's and judges' surprise when the tenor opened his mouth — a mouth notably in need of dental correction. That, against one's wish to be polite, is what one notices right off. Then this painfully shy fellow begins to sing and is transformed from ugly duckling to swan.

That's a metaphor only, for Potts isn't ugly. In fact, he's beautiful when he sings, but he is otherwise a quintessentially regular guy who wouldn't catch anyone's eye — or cause anyone to suspect he has the voice of an angel.

Within a few notes, the judges, who all but rolled their eyes when Potts told them he was going to sing opera, were leaning forward in their seats, while the audience exploded in applause and, in some cases, tears. It is simply a thrilling moment, one that has resulted in at least 10 million views on YouTube.

Not surprisingly, some critics have taken a turn playing iconoclast. Potts, apparently, isn't really "all that'' among the operati, but who cares? He's got what it takes to bring tears to cynics and joy to the jaded. My own introduction to Potts came via a Marine-minister who found in Potts a heavenly respite from the hell of wartime.

Granted, one ordinarily wouldn't find Potts and Rage Boy in the same thought balloon, but their intersection in the blogosphere (not to mention their common iconographic feature — the wide-open mouth) makes the graphic connection a natural leap.

They are beauty and the beast — one a testament to civilization and hope, the other a monument to primitivism and despair. One is driven by a search for the sublime, the other by ... what? Bitterness? Resentment? Retribution for perceived insults to an ideology, a system of spiritual beliefs?

Or is it merely what "they've'' got that Rage Boy thinks should be his. Success. Prosperity. Freedom. In Rage Boy's world, anything or any person perceived to undermine his fragile sense of self is justification for someone to incite a riot, or to wear a bomb to market, or even to fly an airplane into a building. The fact that Rage Boy is obviously an actor sent out to hype outrage at these orchestrated events only confirms the cynicism that underpins jihad's moral bankruptcy. Rage Boy is nihilism unleashed.

Meanwhile, over yonder in Merry Olde England, where grand traditions of civility and decency are daily being eroded by resident, hate-spewing Muslim clerics, a plump boy with bad teeth got teased growing up and turned his inner rage toward something outside himself. He sang.

Not everyone has the natural talent to sing an aria, obviously, but everyone has the voluntary will to see beyond one's personal wounds and to view narcissistic rage for what it is.

One does not have to be an imperialist or a champion of Manifest Destiny to consider that there may be something about Western Civilization — the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, to mention a few highlights — that makes Potts a possibility.

Something about the culture of Islam, as radicalized by embittered malcontents, stoked by governments in need of scapegoats for misery, and sanctified by disciples of self-importance, makes Rage Boys probable.

There is a world of difference.

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 Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

Kathleen Parker Archives

© 2006, WPWG