News Quiz

No. 314: “A Chaucer, Not an Echo”

Fill in the blank as David Mixner, a gay rights advocate, praises President Clinton at a black-tie fund-raising dinner in Los Angeles: “Ever since ‘The Canterbury Tales’–strange crew that was–people have been judged by their ____________. And we picked a good one in 1992.”

Send your answer by noon ET Tuesday to

Thursday’s Question (No. 313)–“What’s That Smell?”:

It was caused by “a poisonous mix of greed, liquor, jingoism and bad taste,” writes Frank Hannigan, the group’s former executive director. What group; what happened?

“Was Jakob the Liar really that bad?”–Peter Carlin

“Those Buchanan family reunions are getting a little out of hand.”–Andrew Staples (David Salzman had a similar answer.)

“The failure of the attempted merger between Revlon and China.”–Greg Diamond

“The Jedediah Purdy for President committee was heckling Gary Bauer on the 17th green of the Ryder Cup.”–Scott Pollino

“Is it Simhat Torah again already?”–Daniel Radosh

Click for more answers.

Randy’s Wrap-Up

Greed, liquor, jingoism, and bad taste. If Hannigan didn’t sound so grouchy, I’d say he was describing Las Vegas, or perhaps one Vegas show in particular, Jerry Kuntash’s “Splash!” In the big finale, as men and women in tiny swimsuits perform a nearly pornographic water ballet in a giant glass-walled tank, a row of topless showgirls roars onto the stage on Harley Davidsons while lasers trace American Icons–the Statue of Liberty, profiles of Washington and Lincoln, the flag-raising on Iwo Jima–onto the wings of the stage, and a 15-piece pit band plays Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” Greed, liquor, jingoism, bad taste, and utterly compelling entertainment.

Teed Off Answer

Hannigan of the U.S. Golf Association decries the American team’s premature and boisterous celebration on the 17th green during the final day of Ryder Cup competition, “the climax of three days of American Hubris.”

In “Rise of the Golf Hooligan,” a New York Times op-ed, he regrets the rough treatment dished out to the European team: “spectators taunted them.” Even worse, “One coach’s spouse, positioned inside the gallery-restraining ropes, exhorted the mob. The nonsense of allowing spouses (in garish uniforms, no less) within the bounds of the arena in sports is unprecedented.”

I’d say he presumes on the marital status of the San Diego Chicken. But I’d say it in a quiet, polite, Euro-Protestant tone of voice.

Andrew Staples’ All Gall Extra

Attention, Pinochet defense team:

According to both Reuters and the Economist, Argentina has rejected an appeal from exiled Paraguayan coup leader Lino Oviedo to delay his banishment to Tierra del Fuego until his hair transplant can take hold.

Oviedo fled Paraguay in March amid accusations he plotted the murder of Vice President Luis Maria Argana, a political rival who was gunned down in the streets of Asunción March 23.

Lawyers for Oviedo, once the army strongman behind Paraguay’s disgraced President Raúl Cubas, said that Oviedo’s plastic surgeon doesn’t want the general’s scalp exposed to sun or wind for several months.

I just thought you should know.

Chris Kelly’s “This Is Not Going To Be Another Complaint About How Badly Hollywood Treats the Novelist” Ongoing Extra

In Sunday’s New York Times Warren Adler writes about how his book Random Hearts was made into a movie. (“Published in 1984 and translated into more than 25 languages,” if he does say so himself, and he does.)

Near the end of his article, Adler is explaining why it’s taken 15 years for his book to reach the screen, even after being so extensively translated. The problem, you see, is that Hollywood phonies aim movies at teen-aged boys.

“My novels, in contrast, explore the mysteries behind love and hate, the darkly amusing, deeply disturbing and ultimately unanswerable questions that they inspire.”

And I have a thicker forearms than Lawrence Durrell.

Your News Quiz challenge is to find a more shameless line of self-stroking whose author was able to wake up after its publication, see it in print, and not kill himself with pills.

Answers to run Thursday.

Common Denominator

Buchananite tendencies.