May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
Dec. 6, 2006
/ 15 Kislev, 5767
Occult hand strikes back
When I opened the e-mail from a reporter at the Chicago Tribune back in 2004, I knew the game was up. He was doing a story about the Order of the Occult Hand, and wanted to know how it got started. I knew we'd be caught eventually, and eventually had arrived. I decided I might as well come clean:
It was at a long-ago convention of editorial writers yes, even as anarchic a bunch as editorial writers have conventions that I noticed some knowing smiles when one of the group started a sentence with, "It was as if an occult hand…."
Except for the knowing smiles, the phrase might have gone unnoticed. Which is the object of the game. It seems that years ago some young reporters maybe with the AP decided to see if they could slip that telltale phrase past the copy desk and into the paper. It was an inside joke, if more inside than joke.
Maybe you had to be a young AP reporter required to write countless routine, fill-in-the-blank stories to appreciate this little game. It's a harmless enough diversion. And less serious an infraction than inserting a second baseman named In Cognito into the box scores.
It was a lot easier to keep the Order of the Occult Hand a secret before Google. Now all an ace reporter need do is type in the suspect phrase and, bingo, he's got a list of all of us co-conspirators.
In mitigation, allow me to plead that a mention of the occult hand may provide the only bright spot in still another of those thumbsuckers entitled "Whither NATO?" or "End Unfunded Federal Mandates."
Admittedly, some candidates for the Order never should have been accepted. These were the lazy types who threw the magic phrase into their copy so artlessly it stuck out like a sore metaphor and gave the whole conspiracy away. ("It was as if an occult hand had strewn federal programs with unfunded mandates….")
The object of the game wasn't just to use the phrase but to use it with some subtlety. The clumsy types eventually exposed us all like an American spy in a bad World War II movie who forgets to use his knife and fork in the European manner.
Of course I knew we'd get caught some day. Some investigative journalist with nothing more important to investigate was bound to turn his attention to us on a slow day. So when the inevitable e-mail arrived, as if delivered by an occult hand, I offered no resistance. ("It's been a terrible burden keeping the secret to myself all these years," said the suspect. "I knew I'd be caught sooner or later. Now I feel only relief.")
But I couldn't just let the Order die. It had become a … tradition So at the next annual editorial writers' convention, I called an after-hours meeting of all those who might be interested in adopting a new secret phrase. It couldn't be just a simple piece of purple-as-a-bruise prose that would leap out of our copy as if written in neon. What we needed was some language bad enough to be spotted by the cognoscenti but likely to get past the casual copyreader. Call it lavender prose.
There were a number of nominations, and it wasn't easy picking a winner. Among the runners-up were "hanging over the scene like a shroud" and "like a soft, warm, weird breeze blowing aimlessly through the palms." Which did we pick? I'll never tell.
But I'm proud to report that the Order is in business again with, at last count, 11 certified members who've submitted proof that they've actually snuck the magic phrase into a reputable publication, 14 candidates who have yet to submit their documentation, and one honorary member who seems to spin out this kind of prose naturally.
All decisions on admission are final and I make them, having taken the precaution of appointing myself Supreme Poobah, Benevolent Dictator, or Exalted Whatever of the Order. Which simplifies administration considerably.
We have yet to come up with a secret handshake or formal robes, but I'm working on it. Maybe I'll start with a T-shirt. A secret society can't have too much advertising.
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 Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.
Paul Greenberg Archives
© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
Ask Doctor K