No. 62: “Mottoes for Moderns”

No. 62: “Mottoes for Moderns”

No. 62: “Mottoes for Moderns”

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
June 10 1998 3:30 AM

No. 62: “Mottoes for Moderns”

No. 62: "Mottoes for Moderns"

By Randy Cohen

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His slogan is "Stop! Don't Touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult." Who is he?

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by noon ET Tuesday to e-mail your answer (newsquiz@slate.com).

Responses to Thursday's question (No. 61)--"Better to Curse a Single Candle"--

In the wake of retired Adm. David Jeremiah's scathing report, participants were invited to suggest a way to reform U.S. Intelligence.

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"Crack down on street vendors offering maps to the spies' homes."--Larry Amaros

"Shaved heads, facial piercings, and a synthesizer theme that contains the phrase 'bad motherfucker.' "--Merrill Markoe

"Increase the 'black budget' to $26.8 billion, so the agency can afford cable television and get CNN, rather than having to rely on the one local station you can just barely pick up in Langley."--Chris Thomas

"Have dangerous maniac NRA presidential shoo-in Charlton Heston die in a hail of gunfire. I'm sorry, what was the question?"--David Rakoff

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"When undercover at beach, take off trench coat and fedora."--Danny Spiegel

"Make it perfectly legal again to assassinate any foreign leader not living up to the basic standards of human rights--as long as it's carried out with really cool gear, like exploding, remote-controlled birds."--Bill Franzen

"I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. How about if I tell you part of my idea and just rough you up a little?"--Chuck Lawhorn

Click for more responses.

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Randy's Wrap-Up

Despite Adm. Jeremiah's admirable jeremiad, the question remains: stupid like a fox or maybe some even smarter animal like a dolphin who is only pretending to be stupid as part of an ingenious plan that seems to involve getting caught in a tuna net? In other words, did the CIA only pretend to miss the Indian bomb tests as part of a grand strategic design involving a nuclear-armed India?

The question one must always ask when analyzing the activities of any large organization is this: incompetence or treachery? When I worked in television, there was no discernible distinction to be made between the two, which made everyone's day easier. And, of course, it is sometimes a convenient falsehood for the inept to be regarded as cunning. The law of parsimony tells us that the simplest explanation is the true one: The CIA are bunglers. And it reminds us that if the dolphins working in television were so smart, they'd have come up with a better show than Flipper.

Crime and Punishment Extra: Baseball Brawl vs. Firemen's Brawl

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Last week offered two bench-clearing brawls in a single game between the Anaheim Angels and the Kansas City Royals, plus a drunken brawl between New York City firemen and other New York City firemen in the Bryant Park Cafe. A comparison:

The Spark

Ball players: four bean balls

Firemen: long-standing station house rivalries

Number Involved

Ball players: both teams

Firemen: 50-100

Duration

Ball players: a few minutes

Firemen: six hours

Public Urination

Ball players: no

Firemen: yes

Exposed Selves

Ball players: none

Firemen: several

Teeth Knocked Out

Ball players: none

Firemen: several

Bullied and Humiliated Old Lady

Ball players: no

Firemen: yes

Terrorized Staff and Patrons

Ball players: no

Firemen: yes

Initial Penalties

Ball players: 12 ejections

Firemen: no arrests

Subsequent Penalties

Ball players: most suspensions in 25 years

Firemen: no arrests

Statement by Authorities

American League commissioner: stern warning that "managers are expected to be strong leaders"

Fire commissioner: unconvincing pledge to conduct "aggressive comprehensive" investigation

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