No. 64: “Praise With Faint Damns”

No. 64: “Praise With Faint Damns”

No. 64: “Praise With Faint Damns”

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
June 12 1998 3:30 AM

No. 64: “Praise With Faint Damns”

No. 64: "Praise With Faint Damns"

By Randy Cohen


Fill in the blank. At the Southern Baptist convention in Salt Lake City, Bill Leonard, dean of Wake Forest Divinity School, said, "The one place that Baptists had to admit that Mormons had something was in the strength of their ________."


by noon ET Thursday to e-mail your answer (

Responses to Tuesday's question (No. 63)--"Flicks Tricks":

Which does not belong: Robinson Crusoe, Moby Dick, M*A*S*H, Talk of the Town?


"You are forced to read Robinson Crusoe in high school, you are forced to read Moby Dick in college, and you are forced to read 'Talk of the Town' while waiting to see the dentist, but under our current form of government, no one can ever force you to read M*A*S*H."--Merrill Markoe

"Moby Dick, because only its leading character exceeds the new optimal body-mass index."--Leslie Goodman-Malamuth

"M*A*S*H, since it's the only one not likely to be made into a Lifetime Original Movie starring Loretta Swit."-- Eric D. Baum

"All except Robinson Crusoe will be released by Christmas '98 as violent, bloody DOOM-style action games for Sony PlayStation and Nintendo 64. Parents groups are already in an uproar over the 'vicious quip' and 'catty aside' features of 'Talk of the Town.' "--Andrew Cohen


"They all belong. You just have to adjust your headspace. In fact, I'm conducting these really great Diversity Workshops, and you might really ..."--Colleen Werthmann

"Moby Dick. It's the only one without a homoerotic subtext. Right?"--Adam Bonin

"Talk of the Town, a 1942 Cary Grant comedy, does not belong. The other three films all share the distinction of having been remade in pornographic versions: M*A*S*H as G*A*S*H (1977/Reems International), Moby Dick as Moby's Dick (1984/Four Star Erotica), and Robinson Crusoe as the gay porn classic Friday on My Mind (1993/Van Nuys Video)."--Brian Jacobsmeyer

Click for more responses.


Randy's Wrap-Up

I foolishly assumed everyone shares my affection for Jean Arthur. I thought Talk of the Town would invoke the bright and sexy movie. I should have realized that for many of you, "Talk" incites your dismay with Tina Brown and her all too reinvented magazine. Next time, I'll choose some other anomalous title for the odd one out. Mistakes were made. I take full responsibility, and I apologize to anyone who might have taken offense and hired an attorney. Now, I've got to go and spend more time with my family.

Lock 'Em Up Answer

All but Talk of the Town were cited by Supreme Court justices to determine the definition of "carry." The court had to interpret a federal law imposing a mandatory five-year sentence on anyone who "uses or carries a firearm" in connection with a narcotics crime. Writing for the majority in a 5-4 decision, Justice Steven Breyer quoted Robinson Crusoe and Moby Dick to conclude that "carry" can mean "convey in a vehicle." Dissenting, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg found his literary evidence "highly selective" and unconvincing. She referred to M*A*S*H (and Teddy Roosevelt's big stick) to show that "carry" is properly understood to mean "the gun is at hand, ready for use as a weapon." The court's decision means that even if the gun is locked in the trunk of a car, you're carrying.


Talk of the Town is a 1942 movie in which fugitive Cary Grant tries to convince law Professor Ronald Colman that there is a human dimension to the law; and director George Stevens tries to convince the audience that ending up with a seat on the Supreme Court is adequate compensation for not ending up with Jean Arthur. Neither argument is entirely persuasive.

Augmented Doctrine (Final Sentence Added by "News Quiz")

"The husband and wife are of equal worth before God. Separate, but equal."--declaration on family life, Southern Baptist Convention

"A wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. Or as the dog happily comes when you call it, or it gets a tap on the rump with a rolled up newspaper, metaphorically speaking."--declaration on family life, Southern Baptist Convention

"The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. He relates with the smiting and the boils and the famines and the plagues in exchange for the bowing down and the praise Him, praise Him, praise Him."--declaration on family life, Southern Baptist Convention

"She, being 'in the image of God' as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his 'helper' in managing their household and nurturing the next generation. You know: by 'cooking' the 'dinner' and 'doing' the 'dishes' and 'sweeping' the 'floor,' while he 'watches' the 'TV' and 'drinks" the 'beer.' "--declaration on family life, Southern Baptist Convention

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