No. 101: “Manipulate This”

No. 101: “Manipulate This”

No. 101: “Manipulate This”

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Aug. 29 1998 3:30 AM

No. 101: “Manipulate This”

No. 101: "Manipulate This"

By Randy Cohen


Fill in the blank: Newt Gingrich said, "The Clinton administration's illegal and unconstitutional scheme to manipulate our ____________ for the express purposes of political gain has been exposed."

(Nota bene: For one question only, "News Quiz" has declared itself a genital-joke-free zone. You know, like that national smoke-out deal.)


by noon ET Thursday to e-mail your answer (

Responses to Tuesday's question (No. 100)--"Saggy and Baggy":


Keith Butcher, a Denton, Texas, government official, asks, "What is saggy? What is baggy? Saggy is where you can see underwear. What is baggy? I think that's the big issue right now."

What is saggy and baggy?

"Bob Hope's scrotum"--Bill Franzen

"The mascots of the 2006 Philadelphia Winter Olympics."--Evan Cornog


"The new name for the sandwich chain formerly known as Hot and Crusty, after the old name ran afoul of Rudy Giuliani's sex shop regulations."--Daniel Radosh

"Those terms could be used to describe a kangaroo's pouch after a full size human has been riding in it. Oh, and by the way, 'touchy' and 'overprotective' would be good ways of describing the staffers at the Bronx Zoo. Yeesh."--Tim Carvell

"Why am I taking this question so personally?"--Leslie Goodman-Malamuth

Click for more responses.


Randy's Wrap-Up

Many responses pivot on the idea that the anatomical is the moral--not just physically but also ethically saggy and philosophically baggy. Is flexible flab the outward and visible sign of an inward and cholesterol-choked lack of grace? (I believe Leni Riefenstahl had some ideas about this.) Is it just genetic lotto, or do too many petit fours turn into metaphors? Well, it depends. Sometimes the body is just a (cruel) given, in which case we don't mock and deride it: It's not volitional. But sometimes it's a symbol of vanity--the baggy and saggy old man in full foolish pursuit of firm young flesh. Here it is a sign of denial, a gravitational reminder of the yawning grave that awaits us all. So what's a geezer to do? Go gentle? Or whip himself into shape and go gentile? And if his chase is comical, there's something brave about it--not firm, but life-affirming. No pictures, please.

The Man Can't Bust Our Music or Our Pants Answer

Dangerous trousers, as several of you knew (click).


While recognizing that sagginess and bagginess are relative and subjective, Butcher, the assistant principal of Ryan High School, has banned pants with these attributes. "It's an ideal place to conceal firearms or contraband," he says, "so the board is recognizing this as a threat to overall safety." Students have gathered 300 signatures on a petition protesting the ban and intend to challenge the rule at today's school board meeting.

Not Gunning for the President Extra

"He's got troubles. He's in a terrible position."--The Philadelphia Inquirer quotes political scientist Judith Best on Al Gore.

"There are no seasons and no bag limits on them, so there has been an encouragement by everybody to kill these little guys."--Kim Graber of the National Wildlife Federation, on the black-tailed prairie dog.

"I can show him up now."--Todd Frazier, who hit two home runs in the Little League World Series semifinals, on his older brother Jeff, who, three years ago in the series, hit only one.

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