By Randy Cohen
Bill Gates' answer was "I don't know what you mean 'concerned.' " What was the question?
by noon ET Wednesday to e-mail your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Responses to Monday's question (No. 142)--"Customs Inspection":
"Traditions in the West are sometimes hard to break, but we find this to be particularly egregious," says Rocky Mountain coordinator Andrea Lococo.
"Splitting an appetizer with Calista Flockhart."--Eric Zicklin
"Richard Ford stories in which nothing happens."--Chris Kelly
"Making all rookie Rocky Mountain coordinators prove their dedication by spending a night in a bedroll with a grizzled old prospector."--Bill Franzen
"Hunting and killing homosexuals. Even if they use the meat."--Beth Sherman
"Describing the behavior of physical objects using a set of rules, instead of acknowledging the actual witches and elves behind it all."--Kenton A. Hoover
Click for more responses.
The implacable logic of the Top 40 format sadly demanded the exclusion of many fine entries premised on bestiality (surely more generically rural than strictly Western?) and prairie oysters (so delightfully disgusting, as are many of the odd foods of strange lands eaten by people with comical names). A more Freudian quiz might wonder why so many responses involved having sex with, and eating the sexual bits of, some other species. This quiz does not.
It does wonder if this question promotes an unattractive regionalism, as if it were a personal accomplishment to be born in, say, Paris? But perhaps what makes this chauvinism necessary is the disproportionate power of the West--too many senators, too much public money, too many movie locations--and the uses to which that power is put. Or, as Tom Leherer sang in "The Wild West Is Where I Want To Be," in the only line I can recall, "Where the scenery is attractive, and the air is radioactive."
Thus, in the moral cartography of "News Quiz," urban trumps rural, and East beats West. Then does Eastern rural supersede Western urban? Vermont vs. San Francisco? That's a complicated question I wouldn't want to tackle before I've had a snack. And some sex. With two different creatures. That's the way we like it back East.
Hunters from across the West gathered in Wyoming last weekend for the National Coyote Calling Contest--"calling" in the sense of luring and then shooting 200 of the 545 that responded. Andrea Lococo of the Fund for Animals particularly disdains "killing for kicks, for fun and money, blood sport."
Speaking for the affirmative, sheep rancher Dan Thompson, founder of the contest: "About the worst thing to happen to hunting was Walt Disney. The animated voice doesn't make them human. The coyote is smart, elusive. I respect him. I don't hunt him because I hate him."
Fifty-nine thousand sheep and lambs fell prey to Wyoming's 100,000 coyotes last year.
The World Coyote Calling Contest will be held next weekend in Elko, Nev.
1. "Democracy confers a stamp of legitimacy that reforms must have in order to be effective."--Vice President Al Gore
Chides New York Mayor Giuliani for taking months to ultimately deny parade permits to his foes while swiftly granting permits to those whose views he endorses.
2. "We should just bomb the hell out of him, get it over with."--Pvt. Michael Bucci
Thinks firing isn't good enough for Peter Roth, former Fox head of programming, who aired low-rated, soul-deadening shows.
3. "They're hideous ideologues, pseudo Marxists, pseudo feminists, pseudo historicists and disciples of Foucault."--Harold Bloom
Judges the cast of Friends after watching a single episode, and it was one of the old ones in syndication.
4. "He is a coldblooded fellow who winds up loving absolutely no one."--Harold Bloom
Attacks magician David Copperfield for no apparent reason.
5. "She's wholly normative--a miracle of healthiness, good sense, lovability."--Harold Bloom
Sucks up to Claudia Schiffer--after knocking her boyfriend!--in an inept attempt at seduction.
6. "I didn't want it to end."--Larry King
Praises News Quiz on today's Slate Table of Contents.
1. The Malaysian government, for suppressing dissent
2. Saddam Hussein, who will ultimately break his vow
3. College Shakespeare teachers who differ with Harold Bloom
6. Meet Joe Black (All blurbs for News Quiz on the Slate Table of Contents this week are inexplicable praise for this movie.)
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