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 August 22, 2006 / 28 Menachem-Av, 5766

Dept. of Correspondence and Psychoanalysis

By Paul Greenberg

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Dear New Fan

It was wholly a pleasure to get your friendly note, candid advice and cut-rate psychoanalysis of my split personality. And all in one brief e-mail, to wit:

"Make up your mind, Greenberg; are you a cold-blooded, programmed, got-it-made conservative or a closet poet who simply finds it impossible to resist the built-in gossamer qualities of the English language, no matter what it may reveal about who you really are?

"I am torn by my inability to credit you for either one or the other. I at first felt certain that tomorrow or the next day your stuff would revert to the bought-and-paid-for opinions typical of commercially supported American newspapers; but you had to go and write the beautifully expressed reminiscences of the kind that may be too powerful for you to resist in the future. Let us hope so. I predict a whole new fan club for you if you do."

Gosh, thanks for the tip. It would be nice to have a new fan club because I suspect the old one, such as it is, may be growing a little tired by now of putting up with my deviations from right-wing orthodoxy. I'm definitely ideologically unreliable, which I hope isn't the same as being unprincipled. At such moments, Oscar Wilde's observation comforts: "Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative."

Besides, having any fan club at all is an unworthy concern for an opinionator, whose proper business is getting the opinion right, not merchandizing it. What counts is the work. Not how well it is received. The bubble popularity is just that.

In a political culture that constantly conspires to rob us all of even a minimal self-respect, we're regularly enjoined to pick sides: right or left, conservative or liberal, Fox News or NPR. Whose side are you on, boy, whose side are you on? Now you tell me I need to decide whether I'm a political or literary type.

Couldn't I be both, or neither? Must I choose between these two pigeonholes you've constructed for me? Do I have to stay obsessed with all politics all the time? Couldn't I come out of my closet at night, like a vampire, and delight in the taste and treasure of the wine-red English tongue?

Or must I stick with my day job as a fuddy-duddy columnist? Not that there isn't a lot to be said for fuddy-duddyness after all the 24/7 hype you get on television. (Dramatic music swells.) A steady diet of that, and boredom would be a step up.

Hey, this is America! Why do we have to settle for only one persona any more than for just one brand of cereal?

What some might think of as just moodiness, I'd prefer to call emotional versatility. Which sounds better than Multiple Personality Disorder, with its clinical ring. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds and all that good Emersonian stuff.

One of the many joys of a job like this is surprising folks who think they've got you figured. It's almost as much fun as those rare occasions when the words seem to form on the screen all by themselves, without effort or forethought, as if the writer were just their medium. Call it automatic writing. I wish it would happen more often. It'd make my job so much easier.

The kind of prose that may take the most effort and least thought is usually the worst; no wonder they call it labored. As in "the built-in gossamer qualities of the English language." Built-in gossamer. Is that anything like armor-plated velvet? You have to really try to write that badly.

The trick in this business is to write prose that's so clear it can be read effortlessly. Unfortunately, the less the reader has to work, the more the writer has to. As with so much in life, there is no easy solution. And some days there's no solution at all.

One of my favorite letters-to-the-editor many years ago came from a correspondent with mental problems. I've forgotten everything about the letter except one phrase: "It gets boring not having peace of mind all the time."

Think about it. But not for too long or it'll make your head swim. Like the constant swirl of 24/7 television news in full color and hype.

I'm not sure which of my personas is writing this response to your more than kind note, but we both send you our best.

Inky Wretch

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.