News Quiz

Evil Doughnuts

No. 123: “Evil Doughnuts” By Randy Cohen

“It’s not just the cup of coffee,” says former New Jersey policeman Michael Anderson, “it’s what the cup of coffee leads to.” What does the cup of coffee lead to? by noon ET Wednesday to e-mail your answer (

Responses to Monday’s question (No. 122)–“Vatican-Do!”:
“If the pope were on the jury, they wouldn’t have given me anything.” Who said this about what?
“Roberto Benigni on his Cannes Jury Prize for his film Life Is Beautiful, a Holocaust comedy. The pope wishes to remind us that NOTHING is funny about the Holocaust. At least not anymore.”–Paul Tullis (Adam Bonin had a similar answer.)“The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, musing on his 1981 conviction for tax evasion. ‘It’s professional courtesy. He fixes parking tickets for the Dalai Lama all the time. They’re very civilized about that sort of thing in Italy.’ “–Andrew “Not Making Fun of Scientologists” Solovay“Which pope? Carmelita or his eminence?”–Larry Amaros“An unnamed, politically savvy National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient whose new installation, ‘Everyone’s Point Is Valid,’ opens Thursday at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington.”–Colleen Werthmann“Miss Arkansas, trying to figure out how she could have received an even lower score for the talent portion of the Miss America pageant, for which she mimed the stations of the cross to the theme from Fame.”–Tim Carvell (similarly, Juris Odins)“A Communist writer from Portugal, recipient of this year’s Nobel Prize for literature, knowing that the pope reads only Anne Rice.”–Barbara Lippert Click here for more responses. Randy’s Wrap-Up
Given the baleful influence of religious fervor on human history, why is religious tolerance good? Or to put it another way, why do Republicans, reluctant to grant “special privileges” (i.e., affirmative action) to women or minorities, afford special protection to a particular class of thought–religious belief–through an overly enthusiastic devotion to the First Amendment, or at least to the religious expression portion of the First Amendment? Consistency would compel these folks to let religious sentiment battle it out with other views in the free market of ideas. Or to let various religious leaders battle it out with sword, net, and trident, on prime time television. It would surely get better ratings than that new Nathan Lane thing. Or if not a sword and trident death match, couldn’t the churches at least pay their property taxes?
Nobel Lettres Answer
As Barbara Lippert and many others knew, José Saramago said it about his Nobel Prize, the first for a Portuguese writer. A member of the Communist Party, he offended the Catholic Church with his 1991 novel, The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, which was censored by the Portuguese government.
“The Vatican is easily scandalized,” Saramago said, “especially by people from outside. They should just focus on their prayers and leave people in peace. I respect those who believe, but I have no respect for the institution.”
Augmented Quotation Extra
(Each final sentence added by “News Quiz.”)
“These kids are reacting against the ‘60s and ‘70s, the psychedelic vestments, the Coke and pretzels at Mass. Although they still dig that Altar Boy Bingo.”–Monsignor Timothy Dolan , rector of the Pontifical North American College of Rome, a seminary“When you have a play which is replete with vulgarities, with obscenities directed toward a world religion, I think that has to be regarded as hate speech. But I’d kill for a Coke and a pretzel served by a saucy young altar boy while the Dead play ‘Truckin.’ “–William Donahue, president, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, protesting the opening of Terrence McNally’s new play, Corpus Christi“I am happy to be here. This is better even than home. Please don’t clip those electrodes to my penis.”–Mohammed Faisel , serving time in the Taliban’s Pul-i-Chariki prison for having an improperly trimmed beard“It’s not possible for the White House to talk seriously about stimulating the economy through tax cuts or spending when it has bound itself so tightly to the idea of fiscal discipline. Everybody just snickers when they hear the words ‘stimulating’ or ‘discipline’ or ‘White House.’ “–Robert Reich , former U.S. Secretary of Labor Half-Full/Half-Empty Extra“What has happened here will cause some fallout in the industry and will cause some regulation in the industry, but 10, 20 years later, the industry will be even stronger.”–Julian Robertson , whose hedge fund, Tiger Management, recently lost $600 million on Russian debt

“As Keynes said, in the long run we’re all dead.”–Robert Reich

Randy Cohen writes News Quiz for Slate.

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