By Randy Cohen
Monday's Question (No. 2)--"Taste Makers":
Fill in the blank: Buffy Shutt, president of marketing at Universal Pictures, told a New York Times reporter, "By sheer bulk, the _______________ are driving cultural tastes now. They're amazing consumers."
Thursday/Friday's Question (No. 1)--"Monstrous Evil":
Despite the incitement of former Operation Rescue head Randall Terry to fight "this monstrous evil," Barnes & Noble continues to do something. What?
"Crush the small, independent, mom-and-pop child pornographers with lower prices, endless unlimited browsing, and exotic coffees."--Chris Kelly
"Put Terry's memoirs in the humor section."--Patty Marx
"Heavily promote the collected Edmund Wilson-Paula Barbieri letters."--Meg Wolitzer
"Continue to give a 20-percent discount on hardback books to unborn children."--Beth Sherman
"Hold nude poetry readings by Germaine Greer, Betty Friedan, and Bill Baird (the abortion-rights advocate, not the famed puppeteer--who, by the way, has currently found work moving Annette Funicello's mouth)."--Larry Amaros
"Barnes & Noble continues to provide money to fund 1st-trimester abortions for women accidentally impregnated while waiting in a really long line to pay for their books."--Jon Hotchkiss
"Sell Martha Stewart's Do-It-Yourself Guide to Festive Abortions at Home, along with its companion video."--Nancy Franklin
"Barnes & Noble continues to permit browsing, instead of forcing its tightwad, cappuccino-swilling, pick-up-minded clientele to BUY the books they have pawed through."--M.G. Lord
"Sell unauthorized Resident Evil 2 'Walk-Throughs.' "--Bill Franzen
Your blazing hostility toward the big chains is delightful. I've felt your pain ever since our locally owned and operated notions store fell to the Woolworth's juggernaut. (We called them "notions." The police used an uglier word.) And your anti-coffee sentiment does you credit. If Barnes & Noble were a serious literary bookstore, a guy could get himself a drink. Maybe over near the Self-Help section. Which is where I'll be if you need me.
"Monstrous Evil" Literal Answer:
Terry fulminated against Barnes & Noble's selling two art books containing photographs of nude children, Radiant Identities by Jock Sturges and The Age of Innocence by David Hamilton. Terry's supporters take credit for getting pornography indictments against the bookseller in Tennessee and Alabama. Since then, sales of both books have increased. The Sturges book is sold out at most Manhattan Barnes & Nobles; some copies of the Hamilton are still available.
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