By Randy Cohen
I give the answer; you give the question and identify the speaker: "Well, I think it's obvious that I haven't looked for a way out here; what I've looked for is a way forward."
by noon ET on Wednesday to e-mail your answer (NewsQuiz@slate.com).
Responses to 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."
"Special prosecutors."--Chris Kelly (Andrew Milner had a similar answer)
"LEETLE GIRLS. And, as a side note, I'm taking Buffy Shutt as my new porn name."--Beth Sherman
"Producers I've slept with who then go right to grain alcohol."--Bill Franzen
"McCaugheys? (Actually, is it the teen-age girl audience? Just a hunch.)"--Meg Wolitzer (similarly, Josh Gillette)
"International banking conspirators of the Zionist Operated Government soon to be brought low by my military-grade anthrax; soon that nest of seething pervs, that island of sin called Manhattan, will see its Hudson and East rivers run with blood and ... what? Oh, sorry, wrong Web page."--David Rakoff
" 'The pendulous testicles of aging comedian Milton Berle ...' Although the real answer may be: 1) America's teen-agers; 2) financially independent lipstick lesbians; or 3) roving bands of youths--I refuse to give a legitmate response to any 'fill-in-the-blanks' that involve any human being named 'Buffy Shutt.' "--Larry Amoros
"The Spice Girls."--Barbara Lippert
"The Right Wing Conspiracy Nut Moms."--Jon Hotchkiss
"Olestra-shunning fat teen-agers of America. (Think about it: If you can't read, what else are you going to do but eat?)"--Nancy Franklin
"Clinton defense lawyers."--Dennis Doughty
"People who have had sex with Bill Clinton and been bought off with a job."--Alan Stewart
Your contempt for American taste is as bracing as a splash of Old Spice, now with real buttery flavor. Thank heaven for Beth Sherman (same initials as Buffy Shutt: suspicious?), who clearly knows--as did several of you--that American taste is in the hands of teen-age girls. This accounts for the popularity of Hanson; Leonardo DiCaprio and Ally McBeal; and that new MTV Mutual Fund, the one with the adorable drawings of ponies on the prospectus.
That's why, as a campaign manager, I advise my candidates to be sexually unthreatening, have very little body hair, and possess voices that can effortlessly lift an inoffensive pop tune well into the soprano register. Which perhaps explains the success of New York Sen. Al D'Amato (if you accept a bald head as a substitute for a bare chest).
"Taste Makers" True-Life Hollywood Answer:
Buffy Shutt was offering the Hollywood consensus that teen-age girls are becoming the dominant force influencing the success of movies. Unlike teen-age boys, who go to a movie once with a friend or two, girls often see the same film many times, and frequently attend in groups.
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