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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 April 19, 2011 / 15 Nissan, 5771

A Cliche a Second

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It had been some time since I'd stopped by to see the eminent Pierre Cliche, man of a thousand words and phrases, mostly banalities but interspersed with platitudes, shibboleths and bromides for (non)variety's sake.

I understood why I had put off seeing him as soon as he greeted me at the door of his cliche factory.

"Dude!" he cried out, which I take it is no longer a noun of address but the current substitute for Hello. It is not an improvement. I instinctively looked over my shoulder, but apparently M. Cliche was addressing me.

"How's the cliche business?" I inquired at my own risk. "I'm here for your annual report on ever newer and worse cliches."

"Splendid! Capital! Great! Excellent! Magnificent! Tremendous, Stupendous and--stop me if you've heard this one before--"

"Stop! For heaven's sake, stop!"

"Don't get your panties in a wad/knickers in a twist. All I'm sayin' is business has never been better, except maybe during the Roaring Twenties, when everything was copacetic, twenty-three skidoo and all that, whatever. You know, like the cat's pajamas. Would you like to see my PowerPoint presentation? It's just full of hot Performance Numbers for today's thought leaders. Or you might want to sign up for our webinar on new cliches for old. Sure you do. It's a no-brainer."

"We've had a bumper crop of instant platitudes this year," he continued, "thanks to Facebook and Twitter. Just plain cell phones are so yesterday. Cliches are selling like hotcakes, so to speak, with catchphrases right behind them. You don't even have to open your mouth to utter one, just punch it out on your iPhone. I'm telling you straight, though you don't have to take my word for it. You can google it up."

"What are some of your best-sellers? If I'm not asking you to reveal trade secrets."



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"No problem. I'm on it like white on rice. Keepin' a list and checkin' it twice. Whenever a cliche goes viral, we've got it covered. Man, it's an epic job -- huge, iconic -- but we get 'er done. Our staff of thousands -- all computers, not a human being in the bunch -- is tireless, and more to the point, not being human, they're never bored no matter how times they hear the same piece of boilerplate. But I digress...."

"Yes."

"And I've forgotten what you asked. Oh, yes, you wanted to know what was the newest thing in old cliches, the latest in timeworn platitudes, the Nouvelle Vague that's instantaneously old. Well, it's not easy, you know, turning out a new cliche, which is almost a contradiction in terms. But it can be done. Some of our finest products will bore you to tears first time out. Like an instant work of genius -- a heartbreaking work of staggering genius, of course. There's no other kind any more. That's the bottom line in my trade...."

"Aaaaargh!"

"Oh, good. That's the acid test of our kind of shopworm language or any unreasonable facsimile: Whether it will reduce those exposed to a regular diet of it to the screaming meemies, the willies, the heebie-jeebies, and generally give 'em the bots. I can tell we've passed the test in your case. What's more, I can assure you that the line here at the flagship of normalcy in the American language will impact you for the foreseeable future. When we come up with a phrase that makes people grimace, and add it to a whole vocabulary that reduces the recipient to a basket case, we know we're ahead of the game and in a win-win situation. It's all a matter of thinking outside the box, you know, like...."

"Enough. I feel faint."

"Hopefully, you'll get over it. Unless you've got issues with our newest line of cliches. I want to assure you they're the best money can buy. We go around getting input everywhere, and are happy to facilitate your search for the most exasperating. The best of the lot has to have a wow factor, and lead to an ah-ha! moment, you know what I mean? They're all oldies but goodies even when they're brand new. You'll like 'em all."

"I'm sure I would if I could stand any more of them...."

"Don't go away mad. We're always looking for a new paradigm for our cliches, an infrastructure that'll support the most excruciating of them, a situation that'll be creative, even transgressive, or at least transformational, you know, an ambiance that'll produce viable results that can be utilized in this area. If we can put a man on the moon, we can certainly produce a new cliche, wouldn't you say? What we need is a new Marshall Plan for platitudes that'll be environmentally friendly, organic, GREEN! Jargon that'll speed around this flat world in nanoseconds, a space-age version of Y2K, you know what I mean?"

"I'm afraid I do. That's the frightening part. All I want to do just now is leave before this uneasiness in the pit of my stomach gets any worse . . . "

"I understand. A lot of people have that reaction here. The trick is to just incentivize me with a small payment for this consultation, and you'll depart with more cliches, platitudes and banalities than you'll ever want to hear again."

"I don't doubt it."

"It's been a pleasure doing business with you. Perhaps you'd like to check out our latest line of puns before you go. They're guaranteed to make you groan. No? Then go with my blessings, live life to the fullest, toodle-oo, fare thee well...."

Last I saw him, M. Cliche was standing in his doorway looking happily at the wad of bills I'd hurriedly stuck in his hand as I ran off, screaming.

Paul Greenberg Archives

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many 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.

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