News Quiz

No. 147: “Australia, Convicts, George III?”

No. 147: “Australia, Convicts, George III?’

By Randy Cohen

“This seems like the perfect place to release them.” Where? What? Says who?

by 10 a.m. ET Wednesday (please note the early deadline) to e-mail your answer to

Responses to Monday’s question (No. 146)–“Funny as a German Banker”:

Fill in the blank. Rolf-Ernst Breuer, chairman of Germany’s Deutsche Bank, may acquire America’s Bankers Trust for $9 billion despite declaring, “Our motto is ‘__________ first.’ “

“Our Teutonic sense of order demands that we acquire a company starting with the letter ‘A’ first.”–Sam Coppersmith

“Sell off the hedge funds first.”–Steven Levy

“Brat first.”–Jennifer Miller (Michael Gerber had a similar answer.)

“If we’re going to buy Bankers Trust, let’s wait until Bob Hope dies first.”–Tim Carvell

“Kill Pvt. Ryan first. (But no, Randy, that’s not fair, and you know it. You can be the birthplace of Heidegger, Hegel, Leibniz, Bach, Beethoven, Brecht, and Martin Luther, but you start one little world war … OK, two.)”–Chris Kelly

Click for more responses.

Randy’s Wrap-Up

Ask a German question, expect a World War II answer, which to those of us with delicate bourgeois sensibilities, risks trivializing the Holocaust. With sufficiently dark humor, any topic can be fair game. But the enormity here is so daunting. From one point of view–mine–Apt Pupil is unacceptable because it uses the Holocaust as dramatic fodder for a lame and shallow drama, but Hogan’s Heroes is acceptable because its dimwitted POW humor steers clear of the Holocaust. Needless to say, this is not a position one could defend for very long. It’s a tough call, particularly given the good will of “News Quiz” participants.

More cheering: The Anti-Defamation League’s survey describes a continuing drop in America’s “hard core anti-Semites”–from 29 percent in 1964, to 20 percent in 1992, to 12 percent currently. Clyde Haberman notes in the New York Times, “The older and more poorly educated a person was, the more likely he was to hate Jews.” If only there were some kind of greeting card to send these people, maybe–given their poor education–featuring a cartoon bear.

Deutsche Marks the Spot Answer

“Our motto is ‘Europe first,’ ” said Rolf-Ernst Breuer last March, leading many to believe that Deutsche Bank would not expand into the United States. But Monday Deutsche confirmed its $9.67 billion offer for Bankers Trust, a cash transaction that would create the world’s largest financial services company, with over $800 billion in assets.

Free Speechless Extra

Question: “They’re really in the vanguard of setting the agenda for the corporate culture along the lines of the radical gay movement.” Who is?

Answer: Levi Strauss & Co., says William Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

For an AIDS prevention event, Levi’s planned to display a Christmas tree decorated with condoms at Wollman skating rink in New York’s Central Park, the well-known public space. Donahue’s group, the same organization that protested the opening of Corpus Christi, pressured the rink’s managers into canceling the event. With characteristic commitment to free speech, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani applauded the cancellation, calling the Levi’s plan “one of the most idiotic ideas I’ve ever heard of.”

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