Pleading Is Fundamental

Pleading Is Fundamental

Pleading Is Fundamental

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

Pleading Is Fundamental

The daybed's folded, and Salman Rushdie's out of our basement.



"An ancient British custom ensuring good social behavior in a loving and caring way by exercising parental discretion and merely 'smacking' a child's bare buttocks with a cane, or a fireplace poker, or the leg of a chair, or a 2-by-4, or a rolled up length of linoleum, or a tire iron, or a lamp (whether it's plugged in or not is optional), or anything else that might easily come to hand, as opposed to the desperate approach: 'beating' a child's bare buttocks with a cane, or a fireplace poker, or the leg of a chair, or a 2-by-4, or a rolled up length of linoleum, or a tire iron, or a lamp, or anything else that's handy. It's news because the Brits have just been told that this is corporal punishment, and they're surprised."--Alfa-Betty Olsen

"Ethnic cleansing, a popular global pastime."--Juris Odins

"Dunno, but it'll definitely become an Irvine Welsh novel and an edgy independent film with stark visuals, poo-poo jokes, and a thumpin' soundtrack!"--Colleen Werthmann

"We call it 'receiving important faxes,' and it's news because it involves getting serviced in the office while not having 'sex.' "--Barbara Lippert

"Using your tongue to clean peanut butter from the roof of your mouth. The possession of peanuts, or any food containing the killer legume, within 50 yards of a public or private school will soon become a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia."--Leslie Goodman-Malamuth

"Erotic spanking. It's in the news because of the Health Ministry's new weight-loss initiative pushing a vigorous session of smacking as a substitute for the delicious but oh-so-fattening custom of afternoon tea: 'Give him a smack instead of a snack!' "--Katha Pollitt

"We call it 'spanking.' It is undergoing a renaissance, sparked by a NewYorker piece in which Daphne Merkin fiercely endorsed the common hairbrush as a disciplinary device."--M.G. Lord

"Oral sex. You have to ask why this is news?"--Tom Crosley

"Altoid-enhanced fellatio. Americans, having only recently become acquainted with this exciting new English import, have yet to settle on the vernacular. And it's news to me; I thought you could only use Clark Bars for that."--Jordan Kroop

"Masturbation. Because, as a catalyst for self-gratification by 12-year-old boys in strict households, the Starr report has replaced the dirty bits of the Spiegel catalog."--Chris Thomas

"Masturbation. It's in the news because Sidney Blumenthal is shopping a story that all the Republicans in the House Judiciary Committee not only did it as a teen-ager but also lied to their mothers about it later, some admitting only to having an 'inappropriate relationship' with their hands."--John Snell

"Smirking. Why is it news? Because nine out of every 10 Americans reading the Starr report were doing it."--David Finkle

"Spanking, and it's the latest act outlawed by New York City's anti-porn Mayor Rudy Giuliani. 'No more will parents be allowed to expose the tender, ripe, innocent yet beguiling buttocks of small children and to feel the pleasurable sting of flesh upon flesh,' the mayor began, before trailing off and smiling wistfully."--Russ Evansen

" 'Smacking,' what Americans call 'spanking,' is in the news because of a European court ruling against it. Perhaps in a country with a love of corporal punishment, it is important to develop words to clarify the subtle distinction among 'smacking' (for the parent-child relation), 'caning' (administered to the child by an agent of authority other than the parent), and 'spanking' (a naughty, sexually oriented activity between consenting adults). Sort of like the number of different words that Eskimos are said to have for 'snow.' "--Stephen Sheppard


"Smacking: The English term for stating that the actual retail value of a Slate umbrella is $19.95. It's news 'cause I've finally got around to resubscribing to Slate after my MSN freebie membership expired."--Doug Strauss

Randy Cohen used to write Slate's "News Quiz." His most recent book—oh, like you don't know.