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