No. 34: “Infantile Desire”

No. 34: “Infantile Desire”

No. 34: “Infantile Desire”

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
April 22 1998 3:30 AM

No. 34: “Infantile Desire”

"A Question So Good We're Giving You the Week to Answer It"

By Randy Cohen


Fill in the blank. Kenn Viselman of New York's Itsy Bitsy Entertainment Co. said, "Last Christmas, I had people putting their children on the phone crying, 'I want _______.' "


by noon ET Tuesday to e-mail your answer (

Describe The New Yorker's final Seinfeld cover.

(Question posed by Chris Kelly. See his suggestion, below.)


by noon ET Thursday ( Please put "Seinfeld" in the subject line of your e-mail. Answers will be posted Friday.

Responses to Thursday's question (No. 33)--"Victory or Death":

"The cost of failure will be high. The ultimate result will be foreign dominance," said Commerce Secretary William Daley on Wednesday. What sort of failure?

"Failure to maintain the artificially high output of American law schools. Soon, all torts will be tried in Indonesia by Nike-wearing lawyers earning 20 cents per hour."--Steven Levy


"Not a failure on the magnitude of My Giant, but more a failure equivalent to, say, Father's Day or Forget Paris. (Note to self: Find new funny hack reference. Is Whoopi Goldberg coming out with a movie soon?)"--Jon Hotchkiss

"Failure of the Westinghouse Science Competition judges to choose the entry 'Anthrax: Friend or Foe?' as its winner. 'You'll all be sorry!' snarled the entrant, a senior at Bronx Science, whipping the slide rule from his pocket and brandishing it menacingly."--Meg Wolitzer

"The failure of Bristol-Myers Squibb to find an exciting replacement for the late Jheri Redding's fabulous line of hair care products."--Larry Amaros

"Getting caught by the other members of the G-7 countries after he crapped in a paper bag, lit it on fire, left it on their doorsteps, rang the bell, and ran like hell."--David Rakoff


"Failure to open the training school for dominatrixes the American Academy of Submissives has been clamoring for."--Floyd Elliot (Brian Danenberg, Reihan Morshed Salam, and Angela and Michael Tilley had similarly sadomasochistic answers.)

"Failure to protect the U.S. Tamogotchi industry."--Thomas Barnwell (similarly, J. Charles)

"The secretary is referring to the ominous international encryption gap. Oh, it may seem like a big ha-ha now, the idea that the Taiwanese, behind our backs, are dreaming up better ways to send messages behind our backs, but it's no joke. Do we want our children--and their children--popping down to The Wiz for a cheap, foreign-made encryptor or a proud, strong, red-blooded American-made encryptor? The answer is obvious. The day the American encryptor goes the way of the Quasar television is the second darkest day I can imagine.

"The first darkest day, of course, is the day of The New Yorker's Seinfeld cover. I'm guessing an Art Spiegelman knockoff of Hopper's Nighthawks, only it's Jerry's diner, and it's empty. Anyone else?"--Chris Kelly


Click for more responses.

Randy's Wrap-Up

The two most frequent replies concerned failure to protect our domestic dominatrixes and our domestic Tamogotchies. My Indonesian attorney has instructed me not to be too specific about my new product, but I can say that it will live in your pocket, and it will hurt. You know, in a good way.

Supersecret to Everyone but the Cops Answer

Failure to regulate encryption software, as many of you knew. Daley noted the rapid increase in Internet commerce and the importance of encryption if online commerce is to keep growing. His remarks suggest that the administration may part with FBI director Louis Freeh, who wants to be able to read everyone's e-mail anytime. Daley's solution: a compromise. Its nature: unspecified, but a really nice one that meets everyone's needs and discharges no hydrocarbons into the atmosphere and is gentle on the baby's skin right in your drier with no messy pots and pans to clean!


"I watch a lot of PBS and Discovery Channel. I've got nothing against the turtle."--David Wellesley, Texas shrimper

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