News Quiz

No. 7: “Scouting Around”

No. 7: “Scouting Around”

By Randy Cohen

According to a New Jersey appellate court, Boy Scouts of America is very like a hotel or restaurant. How so?

by noon ET on Wednesday to e-mail your answer (

Responses to Monday’s Question (No. 6)–“Martinizing”:

The ReadingEagle (Pa.) quotes the pseudonymous “Martin”: “[The church] frowns upon it like the dickens. But with my type of business, it’s almost impossible to not have it.” What?

“The Bröntes. Because, like Dickens’, these books are FILLED WITH SMUT! (And don’t even get me started on Rilke or ‘Goosebumps.’) ‘Martin’: reference librarian, Reading Public Library.”–Meg Wolitzer (Ariel Kaminer and Aaron Schatz had similar answers.)

“I’m not exactly sure, but is he the same Martin who’s known as ‘Martin the Living Stigmata Birthday Clown’?”–Fred Graver

“Those little marshmallow Jesus on the Crosses that fill the shelves around Easter time. You try to eat just one, Your Holiness!”–Beth Sherman

“Dozens of copies of that bootlegged honeymoon video featuring Pamela Anderson simultaneously pleasuring Tommy Lee and the Rev. Billy Graham.”–Jon Hotchkiss

“The annual dress-up party at St. Patrick’s, where all the priests and cardinals come attired as the Andrews, Lennon, and McGuire Sisters, and have a festive gala into the wee hours of the night.”–Larry Amaros

“The communal wafers he uses to make his best-selling low-fat snack food, Jesus Crisps.”–Larry Doyle

“A constant erection: You see, ‘Martin’ is Reading’s best-known porn star. The church would prefer that all erections be in the service of overpopulating the world–oh, sorry, I meant ‘reproduction.’ “–Nancy Franklin

“A surgically constructed vagina.”–Bill Franzen

“A pact with Satan. Martin is, of course, in politics.”–Matthew Singer

Randy’s Wrap-Up:

Many of you assumed “the church” meant the one true church, holy mother church, the Church of Rome. But America’s Constitution and discount outlets accommodate many doctrines.

Consider the Oriental Trading Co. Inc., an Omaha, Neb., mail-order house purveying inexpensive novelty items used as prizes in school fairs or as favors at children’s birthday parties. The catalog’s “religious” section includes “Fly With the Lord” plastic gliders ($3.60 a dozen); stretchable candy Cross Bracelets ($1.95 an edible dozen); and happy face “Jesus Loves You” water bottles ($16.50 a dozen), which are a bit more expensive–but presumably, though water goes in, something more robust comes out. Surely nothing is more American than Omaha and mail order, and none of this seems RC to me.

This item came, courtesy of my mom, from the Reading Eagle, my hometown paper. I read it; I (briefly) delivered it; but I never dreamed I would one day use it as a catalyst for anti-clerical badinage. For the first time, my life takes on a coherent form. And a damned frightening one. Thank you all.

“Martinizing” Plain Answer:

An Amish cell phone. Though “Martin” needs it for his “wholesale” business, it is controversial in his Lancaster County Amish community. While most Amish churches disapprove, many look the other way if the phone is used only for business and not for personal calls. Another interpretation holds that renting is OK, but buying is not. “The difference between use and ownership is a very important point,” says Dr. Conrad Kanagy, a scholar of Old Order Amish society. “Ownership is seen as an attachment to the world.”

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