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December 2, 2014

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 July 20 2011 / 18 Tamuz, 5771

Decline of the English Scandal

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Consider this an obituary for a newspaper. The suddenly late News of the World succumbed at 168 this month to a fatal case of shame aggravated by financial calculation. Its chronic hubris became acute under its latest owner, who has not been free of that malady himself.

The end came as a shock. Who knew The News of the World was even capable of shame? And now it's died of it. Its insatiable appetite for scandal finally did it in. For once its zeal got in the way of its owner's ambitions instead of furthering them. And it had to be put it out of its misery. Its last great scandal, as it turned out, was its own.

The saddest thing about NoW's abrupt passing is that it won't be around to cover it, complete with the required pictures of the dramatis personae scurrying out of their lairs with faces hidden from prying paparazzi.

Nothing could save The News of the World as evidence began to pile up of outrages low even by its famously low standards. Like hacking into the phone of an abducted schoolgirl to eavesdrop on increasingly desperate messages from family and friends. And listening in on the phone calls of relatives of British soldiers killed in action in Iraq. Spying on royalty may be almost an English tradition by now, but Tommies -- and their families -- used to be off-limits.

Oh, yes, a history of bribing police officers was also mentioned in dispatches. As high-level resignation follows high-level resignation, Scotland Yard begins to look more like the Keystone Kops.

At least two parliamentary investigations have begun, and neither will be pretty. This can of worms has just been opened, and there's no telling what other scandals will slither out.

The good news is that there are still lines even a British tabloid may not cross with impunity. The outcry against NoW's sleazy ways has been deafening. And widespread. It covers the spectrum of British opinion from toff to prole. Maybe there'll always be an England after all. And an English sense of decency.

Ordinarily the fall of another storied newspaper is an occasion for mourning, but the mercy killing of this sick, sick operation raises hopes. Despite all one has heard about the deterioration of British manners, old John Bull is still capable of recognizing behavior up with which he will not put.

There was a better time when it was simply assumed that some things would never change, like roomy London cabs, the red pillar-boxes of the Royal Mail, and, yes, The News of the World. That publication may not have been to everybody's taste, like kippers or orange marmalade, but it was a staple of a stable culture. For 168 years. Now it, too, has vanished. Sunday mornings will never be the same.

In one of his memorable essays (weren't they all?) George Orwell dilated on the "Decline of the English Murder," blaming its deterioration on the crass Americanization of once proper British homicide.

Mere brutishness, Orwell complained, had replaced the kind of finely laid plot that would require a Lord Peter Wimsey to unravel. The refinement and planning of "The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club" (Dorothy Sayers, 1928) has given way to vulgar crime sprees. It's a great loss.

It was a loss Orwell greatly mourned in his elegiac little essay in 1946, which naturally enough, began with a reference to The News of the World:

"It is Sunday afternoon, preferably before the war. The wife is already asleep in the armchair, and the children have been sent out for a nice long walk. You put your feet up on the sofa, settle your spectacles on your nose, and open the News of the World. Roast beef and Yorkshire, or roast pork and apple sauce, followed up by suet pudding and driven home, as it were, by a cup of mahogany-brown tea, have put you in just the right mood. Your pipe is drawing sweetly, the sofa cushions are soft underneath you, the fire is well alight, the air is warm and stagnant. In these blissful circumstances, what is it that you want to read about?

"Naturally, about a murder."

Not just any kind of murder, but a proper English murder -- one that could be savored by a popular culture still bound, at least publicly, by ties of middle-class propriety. A culture that could still be fascinated by tales of poor blokes led astray by some decidedly un-English passion for the illicit, like extra-marital sex or keeping your seat while an old lady is left to stand on the Number 15 to Westminster.

"With all this in mind." Orwell wrote, "one can construct what would be, from a News of the World reader's point of view, the 'perfect' murder. The murderer should be a little man of the professional class -- a dentist or a solicitor, say -- living an intensely respectable life somewhere in the suburbs, and preferably in a semi-detached house, which will allow the neighbours to hear suspicious sounds through the wall. He should be either chairman of the local Conservative Party branch, or a leading Nonconformist and strong Temperance advocate. ... Having decided on murder, he should plan it all with the utmost cunning, and only slip up over some tiny unforeseeable detail. The means chosen should, of course, be poison."

Of course. But there's not a drop of poison, except that of the poison-pen variety, in the scandals that killed The News of the World.

Now, in place of a mystery worthy of a Dorothy Sayers or P.D. James, all we get is a lot of electronic snooping that would embarrass an IT middle manager.

This sad deterioration in the style of scandal -- from typically British to indeterminate -- can also be blamed on Americanization, which by now has morphed into globalization. Not even the nationality of Rupert Murdoch, the press baron at the center of all this hubbub, is clear. Australian, British, American, all or none of the above? Welcome to a world, and press, without borders. Or distinctive cultures. Art Nouveau and Art Deco, or any art at all, has lost out once again to the International Style.

It's not just The News of the World that is gone but the world that made it a good read and a window into the British psyche. The decline of the English scandal, like that of the English murder, is a tribute to an earlier world. When a society with its own idiosyncratic features fades away, however quaint or eccentric or even hypocritical its standards were, its scandals won't have much character, either.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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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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