Short, Sharp Shock

Short, Sharp Shock

Short, Sharp Shock

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

Short, Sharp Shock

No. 131: "Short, Sharp Shock"

By Randy Cohen


Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco's federal district court ruled that the police did no wrong when they inflicted "transient pain." What did they do? by noon ET Wednesday to e-mail your answer (

Responses to Monday's question (No. 130)--"Qualifications":
Eligibility is based on religious knowledge and revolutionary credentials. Eligibility for what?

"The annual Taliban bachelor auction."--Richard Primoff (Merrill Markoe had a similar answer but referencing Miss Taliban.)

"To be cast in the Zapatista production of Touched by an Angel."--Jennifer Miller

"Clerking for Supreme Court Justice Antonin 'Nino' Scalia."--Adam Bonin

"Playboy's 'Playmate 2000.' It'll make sense in the context of the redesign."--Daniel Radosh

"The Camp Fire Girls' Troop Mary McCarthy."--Chris Kelly

Click here for more responses.

Randy's Wrap-Up
Religion and revolution make such a jolly and ludicrous comic duo because ours is an era that pairs religion and reaction. This is not the time of the Catholic Workers and Archbishop Romero; it's the age of the Christian Coalition and Cardinal O'Connor, a man who always had the guts to stand up for the richest and most powerful members of society. And while it is always a pleasure to deride our official enemies--e.g., anything Islamic--it is salutary to recall that our political leadership is dominated by Southern Baptists, a group that's been on the wrong side of every issue for 50 years--civil rights, women's rights, the Vietnam War, sexual freedom. Another jolly and ludicrous comic duo--Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. Here's your sequel: a cute kid, a Taliban kidnapper, a devious Georgia congressman, and no stunt doubles. Pray for them.

Duly Elected Answer
These are the qualifications to seek office in Iran's Assembly of Experts, an elected body that can appoint and dismiss that country's leader. Election results announced Sunday show that conservative clerics won 70 of the 86 seats. Most leftist candidates were disqualified by the Council of Guardians. Voter turnout was about 46 percent.
Comparing this to another hyper-religious nation--90 percent of Americans believe in God and engage in prayer. Eighty percent say they will be called before God to answer for their sins, and 66 percent claim to have made a "personal commitment to Jesus Christ." In a 1994 Harris poll, even 52 percent of non-Christians expressed belief in Jesus' Resurrection. Eighty-six percent of teen-agers say they believe that Jesus is God.
America's president, vice president, speaker of the House, and Senate majority leader are all Southern Baptists. Voter turnout in the 1996 presidential election was 49 percent, roughly equivalent to Iranian participation.

Augmented Quotations Extra
(Final sentence added by "News Quiz.")

"Scott will become Warren. Don is Don. At some point Scott will be Don. And they'll all have lifelike penises and huge pneumatic breasts."--NBC president Robert Wright announcing a shake-up at the network

"Nationwide is on your side. If you know what we mean by 'your.' "--TV commercial jingle promoting homeowners insurance for the right kind of homes


"Musa Arafat, you are a CIA collaborator! Musa, you coward, you are an American agent! Even worse, you are an ICM agent!"--Fatah youth chant denouncing the head of Palestinian military intelligence


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