Soviet Code | Letters | Chicago Reader

News & Politics » Letters

Soviet Code


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


To the editors:

The recent "Straight Dope" column [March 4] about "hooliganism" and "cosmopolite" in the Soviet Union was so ill documented and contained so many spurious conclusions that it is not even worth refuting. The most absurd claim in the article bears addressing, however.

Cecil cites an example of the use of a code phrase used by Soviet authorities to identify a Jew arrested for speculating. This code phrase is the description of the offender as "a thin, agile brunette." Isn't this also a good description of Katarina Vett? How many Palestinians, even, answer this description? This code phrase supposedly made the situation quite clear to all concerned. Come on!

The only situation that is quite clear to all concerned is that anti-Soviet bias has the upper hand on the straight dope this time.

James P. Hannley

N. Magnolia

Cecil Adams replies:

You have some alternative explanation for "thin, agile brunette"? The Soviets have it in for leprechauns, maybe? Get serious, Jimbo.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment