News Quiz

No. 320: “Futurific”

“It is one of the most significant developments in the history of the space age,” said John E. Pike of the Federation of American Scientists, reacting to Tuesday’s big event. What happened?

Send your answer by noon ET Thursday to

Tuesday’s Question (No. 319)–“Formerly Known As”:

There’s been more and more of it at Princeton in recent years, but now a faculty committee proposes to eliminate it or at least rename it. What’s the old name; what’s the new? 

“Cheating; collaborative learning.”–Katha Pollitt (Russell Scott and Eddie Haskins had similar answers.)

“Herpes; happy pants.”–Tim Carvell

“Joyce Carol Oates’ oeuvre; Whatsername’s stuff.”–David Finkle

“Untenured faculty; groundskeepers.”–Floyd Elliot

“Disabled; genetically inferior and slated for elimination.”–Tom Baker

Click for more answers.

Randy’s Wrap-Up

News Quiz participants offer two oddly contradictory views of Princeton life. In one view, loutish slack-jawed children, admitted to college only so the bursar can suck money out of their rich alumni parents, cheat their way through class and, if that doesn’t get them good enough grades, bully their professors into upping their marks. Those craven souls knuckle under because, weak and untenured in their pathetic tweeds, they must capitulate or end up doing yard work at some ethnically cleansed eating club.

At the Princeton in a parallel universe, perpetually drunken students sleep it off in class, their clothing disarrayed in such as way as to catch the eye of Sadean professors by whom they are sexually exploited in exchange for better grades. The only ones exempt from this cruel pawing are the Jewish kids, who aren’t there anyway, and the physically disabled, who are being quietly slaughtered, one by one, by Peter Singer’s special-duty teaching assistants.

Which of these Princetons is the one Bill Bradley attended?


A+; A With Distinction.

Worried about grade inflation, a Princeton faculty committee proposes replacing the A+, worth 4.3 grade points, with the new designation that would be worth only 4.0, the same as an A, but would denote particular academic excellence.

The New York Times attributes the increasing number of A plusses and the decrease in C’s and D’s to “lenient professors and students who badger them for higher grades.”

SomeOther Actual Name Changes in the News Extra

  • Palestinian Web addresses used to end “.wg” indicating the West Bank and Gaza; they will now end “.ps” indicating that the Palestinian state is pretty much an afterthought.
  • The e-mail newsletter Harvard Today will now be known as Today@hcny, as the university protects its trademark from New York’s Harvard Club, which might also have to change the name of its all-male nude review, you know, if it had an all-male nude review. Which I for one would certainly pay to see. More for cultural than erotic reasons. Not that I begrudge anyone his pleasures. I’ll stop now.
  • The advertising tag-line “Always Coca-Cola” will now be “Enjoy all that’s inside,” in an effort to reinvigorate sagging cola sales. “They want to try root beer, then fruit drinks; they jump all over the place,” said Bruce Llewellyn, grouchy CEO of the Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Co. “They’d drink their own urine if we let them. The fickle bastards should be horse-whipped,” he did not add.
  • Ellen Barkin will, one day soon (if there’s a God in heaven, and Revlon’s stock continues to plummet as a feckless addlepated heir drives a once-thriving company into the ground with his big bald head) be changing her name to Ellen Cohen, if I can just get the judge to lift that restraining order.

JohnMurdoch’s Correction Corner

(In yesterday’s Death Without Missed Dinner Extra, I foolishly wrote “Use the time to contemplate how your fellow Baptists have been on the wrong side of every social policy from the civil-rights movement to gay rights with a stop-off to support the Vietnam War.” Below, John Murdoch sets me straight–Ed.)

You’re doubtless thinking of the Southern Baptist Convention. Let me assure you that the National Baptist Convention was entirely in support of civil rights; it is a largely black association. The American Baptist Churches (note the plural: Baptists object to the idea of denominations, choosing to “freely associate” instead) absolutely took the liberal position on practically any social issue from the 1960s on (which is why they’re losing churches to the Southern Baptist and National Baptist conventions).

Who’s the largest religious denomination associated with Americans United for the Separation of Church and State? The American Baptist Churches.

OngoingBail-Out Extra

Some leads so deftly encapsulate the article to follow that the reader instantly knows he’d sooner be struck blind than read on. Participants are invited to submit actual examples from any news source of what The New Yorker used to call “letters we never finished reading” (or something like that), like this one from Ken Tucker:

“What a contradictory country this is …”–Anthony Lewis, New York Times, Oct. 12, 1999

Best examples to run Thursday.


Faculty-student sex.