IN OTHER WORDS...

By Oren Rawls

Published March 21, 2003, issue of March 21, 2003.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Gleanings From the Media

Continental Divide: It’s not just London Bridge that seems to be falling down these days in Europe, judging by articles in several European newspapers translated and reprinted in the April issue of World Press Review.

“Europe is cracking,” Leopold Unger writes in the February 11 issue of the liberal Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza. “Thirteen years after the loss of the common enemy, on the first try, the unity of the West is unraveling like an old sweater. The West is torn. Saddam is laughing. Iraq divided his enemies.”

The cause, Unger argues, is an alliance among countries with divergent interests. “Today Europe doesn’t have — and never has had — a genuinely common and cohesive foreign policy, not to mention a defense policy.… [I]f Europe wants to be taken seriously, its foreign policy and its input toward preserving democratic values cannot come down to an anti-American fixation.”

Unger’s sentiments were echoed in France by Jean-Marie Colombani of the liberal daily Le Monde. “What is the strategic doctrine that Europe would propose as an alternative to the preventive war sought by the United States? When have our heads of state and government ever dealt with this issue in a concerted manner? What can they suggest, even at a minimum?” The 21st century, Colombani writes, “demands the emergence of the Old Continent as a power that is peaceful but not pacifist, and that is a full partner of the United States but not its satellite.”

* * *

In Da White House: Meanwhile, back on this side of the Atlantic, The Nation is lamenting the return to political prominence of the macho man.

“The once-mocked figure of the dominant male has become a real-life hero,” writes Richard Goldstein in the March 24 issue of the liberal weekly. “From Colin Powell dissing the French as cowards to Donald Rumsfeld raising his fists at the podium, the Bush administration bristles with an almost cartoonish macho.”

Pop culture paved the way for the return of the “neo-macho hero,” Goldstein argues, with rap artists such as Eminem leading a backlash against feminism. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, he says, politics followed suit, from the commander in chief on down.

“These two young patriarchs seem utterly opposite,” Goldstein writes of President George W. Bush and Eminem, “but they have fundamental things in common. Both are social conservatives who stand for a male-dominated order. Both owe their appeal to anxiety over sexual and social change. Both offer the spectacle of an aggrieved man reacting with righteous rage. These qualities, which once seemed dangerous, now read as reassuring. The macho stance that once looked stylized is now a mark of authenticity.”

Goldstein places machismo firmly at the center of American foreign policy, arguing that the cultural attitude underpins the Bush administration’s designs for Iraq. “Male grievance has found a geopolitical target in Saddam,” he writes. “Sexual revenge has been sublimated into military payback. Underlying this process is a sense of the world as a jungle where friendship is transient, danger is everywhere and one can never have enough power. This is the classic rationale for macho.”

* * *

LSDeity: “Drugs,” Lawrence Bush writes in the March-April issue of the secular bimonthly Jewish Currents, “provided a generational experience of spirituality on a par with the ‘Great Awakening’ of early American Methodism or any other wave of evangelical revivalism that has swept our country throughout its history.”

Fear of nuclear extinction among baby boomers, he writes, “helped to drive the baby boomers away from science and rationalism and toward religiosity.” The search for spirituality, he argues, led many during the 1960s to explore their “mystical consciousness” through the use of LSD.

“I, too, exposed myself to psychedelic drugs numerous times in my teens and found my experiences to be deeply fortifying to my identity,” Bush confesses. “Psychedelics did not, however, convince me of God’s existence, of the illusory or handicapped nature of my waking consciousness, or of there being ‘deeper realities’ just beyond the horizon.”

* * *

Paper Honeymoon: In a special edition devoted to media matrimony, the “Love Beat” column of the weekly New York Observer reports this week on the engagement of Ira Stoll, managing editor of the New York Sun, to Aliza Phillips, features editor of the Forward. According to the Observer’s Anna Jane Grossman, the pair met in 1999 when Stoll was managing editor of the Forward and Phillips came to work as his assistant. The romance only began, however, after Stoll “split the Forward to work for the Jerusalem Post in May of 2000,” as Grossman delicately puts it.

Working at “rival publications” appears to take some maneuvering; “I don’t tell him what’s going to be in the Forward the next week, and he doesn’t tell me about some hot scoop he’s working on in the Sun,” Phillips told the Observer. They are said to be planning “a Conservative Jewish wedding” sometime in December.






Find us on Facebook!
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.