By Randy Cohen
Accepting his new post as editor of Newsweek, Mark Whitaker asked his colleagues, "What can we do to make Newsweek a must-read?" Participants are invited to offer suggestions.
by noon ET Sunday to e-mail your answer to email@example.com.
Responses to Wednesday's question (No. 140)--"Don't Legislate; Medicate":
According to Houston psychiatrist Dr. David Krueger, "Part of the reason so many women take these types of drugs is that men tend to have trouble admitting they have a problem." What types of drugs?
"Sex-change hormones."--Ariel Kaminer
"Unclear antecedent blockers."--Colleen Werthmann
"Roofies. 'It turns out many women have a more satisfying sexual experience if unconscious,' explained Dr. Krueger. 'Yes, I do happen to be single. Why do you ask?' "--Beth Sherman
"Crack. 'Of course,' Krueger said, 'I may be oversimplifying.' "--Tim Carvell
Click for more responses.
Randy's Full Responsibility Wraparound
Responses to "News Quiz" naturally vary in both quality and quantity. Fill in the blank, for example, typically sparks the most responses. Today's question generated only about half the usual returns, and here's why: It's not very good. And here's whose fault it is: mine. Devising the question calls for the deft and tactful art of the straight man, for playing George Burns to your Gracie Allen. It's not just a matter of lobbing one over the plate for you to hit out of the park. It's putting one over the plate that, when you clobber it, erupts in a shower of confetti that coalesces into a single scarlet flamingo that flies over to the box seats and bites George Steinbrenner on the ass. But not today.
The drug metaphor is opaque and clumsy. And the central premise invites the too-familiar gender-wars responses. Plus, there is something uncomfortable about male admissions of inadequacy; it's like pleading guilty to a burglary so you won't get nailed for a murder. Incidentally, the most common response was, as many of you suspected, jokes about men's reluctance to ask for directions. However, we've declined to run such observations out of respect for Jerry Seinfeld. And again, it's all my fault for leading you into this swamp. I'll try to do better tomorrow. And I'll never again use a manly baseball metaphor. (Picture me humbly not spitting.)
A Gram Is Better Than an Answer
As distinguished from medicines that relieve pain or cure illness, many drugs in this category have failed to meet financial expectations. Drugs to promote hair growth (Propecia) and to stop smoking (Nicotrol) have had disappointing sales. With the exception of Viagra (with projected first year returns of up to $1 billion, the most successful drug rollout in history), men have been a harder sell than women, who buy 60 percent of the top three anti-smoking drugs. Men tend to abandon such remedies if they're not immediately effective.
Leverage Your Germanness Extra
"German is the ideal to the American male. It's strong, and it's all about precision and expertise. We said: 'If you leverage your Germanness, that's really potent for this particular target audience. It just triggers all the things they want to think about themselves.' "--Jennifer Laing, Saatchi & Saatchi, on advertising strategy for Beck's beer; she does not say if this would have been a good advertising strategy for the Wehrmacht
"I can smile, but it's hard to think about whether that stereotype is realistic. As long as you, as a German, make a joke at your own expense, it's OK."--Axel Meermann, global marketing director, Beck's beer; he does not say if it's OK if such jokes are made by me, as a Jew
"[Hitler's rule was] an aberration, but not an organic aspect of German society."--Henry Kissinger; he does not say if the rule of Augusto Pinochet, which he helped engineer, was an organic aspect of Chilean society
"To some people, 'Berlin' still sounds too Prussian, too authoritarian, too centralized."--Chancellor Gerhard Schröder; he does not say if "hell" sounds too hot
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