News Quiz

No. 361: “Lit Crit”

“Oh, I can’t stand that. You could get diabetes reading them, couldn’t you?” Who said this about what? (Question courtesy of Adam Bonin.)

Send your answer by noon ET Tuesday to

Wednesday’s Question (No. 360)–“Our Epic”:

The ‘50s begot Happy Days; the ‘60s, The Wonder Years; the ‘70s, That ‘70s Show; and the ‘80s, Freaks and Geeks. In 20 years, the 1990s will be distilled into a set of reductive clichés and processed into a TV sitcom. Give the one-sentence pitch for that show. (Question courtesy of Tim Carvell.)

“World Television presents: DECADENT BROKER! Which indulged largely, but did not know New Revolution was soon occurring. (So sorry for it was more than one sentence.)”–Daniel Kahn

“Two young Internet geniuses, who happen to be married, one a male WASP from Harvard, the other an Asian gal from MIT, rich beyond belief from cashing out of an IPO, start a company delivering frozen embryos–and hire an Indian guy in a turban as receptionist. The mix-ups, the lawsuits, the laughs never stop!”–Barbara Lippert (Jon Delfin had a similar answer.)

Then Came Klebold: A teen-ager travels from town to town, registers in the local school, gets involved in the lives of the students, then shoots them.”–Jon Delfin

Jerks and Smirks. Politics in the ‘90s.”–Steven Davis

“TV? In 20 years we won’t need any stinkin’ TV. Cybercitizens will be hard-wired, and entertainment as we know it will be in the form of IPOs.”–Carrie Rickey (similarly, Matt Sullivan)

Click for more answers.

Randy’s Wrap-Up

Before plunging into TV 2000, let’s take a moment to look back at TV 1999, Friday night, around midnight.

When the ball fell, a huge sign was illuminated and transmitted on every network: 2000 Discover Card. The new New York and its new Times Square thus achieved a complete capitulation of the civic to the corporate, and was proud of it.

Giddy with delight over his imposition of midtown martial law, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani showed up on every channel. Manhole covers welded closed; trash cans removed; mailboxes locked; 8,000 cops; five police helicopters–it was like Christmas in Tel Aviv, except for the part about any known threat. But it must be admitted, the festivities were unmarred by terrorist bombings or elephant stampedes.

The usually fatuous Tom Brokaw outdid himself when he rated the century–it was a tough one, he blathered, with two world wars, the atomic bomb, and the Holocaust, but there was also the triumph of the space program. I’m sure 6 million murdered Jews and 30 million dead Soviets would agree that the space shuttle more than made up for mass death.

Putin on Airs Extra

Analysts list several priorities of Russia’s acting president, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Which of the following are actually on his to-do list?

1. Create a streamlined and corruption-free bureaucracy.

2. Put a Russian astronaut on moon by 1970 with cool time machine.

3. Install a merit system for hiring and rewarding government workers.

4. Ensure smooth transition by cultivating image as lovable womanizing drunk.

5. Increase investment and improve productivity in Russian economy.

6. Construct theme parks exciting enough to attract Cuban raft boys.

7. Build a more powerful judiciary.

8. Work for closer ties between Moscow and the country’s regions.

9. Make Moscow’s homeless simply disappear, New York-style.

10. Develop new political parties open to professional wrestlers, anti-Semites, and fat-faced, billionaire, egomaniac know-nothings.


1, 3, 5, 7, and 8 are authentic Putin plans.

Common Denominator

E-greed, guns, and presidential infidelity.