"My joy is that we're still in business and we're alive."
Who said this about what?
by noon ET Tuesday to e-mail your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday's question (No. 163)--"Initiation":
As a condition of joining the European Union, Lithuania has agreed to ban a practice quite common in the United States. What?
"Judaism."--Jon Hotchkiss (Deb Stavin had an identical answer.)
"Supersizing. Anything."--Beth Sherman (similarly, Judith Spencer)
"Limiting presidents to two terms and one wife."--Noah Meyerson
"Bombing the crap out of Third World countries and aspirin factories when you need a quick pick-me-up at the polls."--John Snell (similarly, Ananda Gupta and Matthew Cole)
"Either random public gunplay or regular bathing. It depends on the civilization you'd care to malign."--Jim O'Grady
Click for more responses.
By far the most popular response was to denigrate the French. Giving this disdain a richer historical context so appropriate for the holiday season, David Bell cites some early Anglo-French contempt in his London Review of Books discussion of Norman Hampson's The Perfidy of Albion: French Perceptions of England During the French Revolution.
" 'It should flatter us,' wrote the French novelist Fougeret de Montbron in 1757. 'Every foreigner in London is called a "French Dog".' In sermons, novels, political broadsheets, moralising treatises and popular engravings, the French were portrayed as mangy, corrupt, effeminate, ignorant, indolent, immoral and lecherous, as well as vain and superficial."
And aimed the other way: "Bertrand Barère, in 1794, wrote: 'National hatred must sound forth. Young republicans should suck a hatred of the name Englishman with their mother's milk.' "
Inevitably European union will dilute that continent's rich heritage of multinational scorn. You can say adieu to all those marvelous anti-Belgian jokes the Dutch tell so well. In another year they'll be as wan and anachronistic as Ohioans mocking Indianans. Now that America has no more actual places, all that's left is taking cheap shots at New Jersey from right across the river, on the dubious moral high ground of Pennsylvania. You'd think the Europeans would learn from our loss. Of course, for the truly nostalgic nationalist, there's always the former Yugoslavia.
Powerful Deterrent Answer
Executions. The Lithuanian parliament voted 76-to-3 to end capital punishment.
Amnesty International lists 99 nations that have abolished the death penalty either in law or practice, and 94 that retain it, among them Afghanistan, China, Guatemala, Indonesia, both Koreas, Indonesia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and of course the United States. In 1997, there were 74 executions in the United States, with a mathematically and morally tidy 37--50 percent--occurring in Texas.
Holiday Theater-Going Extra
Can you match your favorite stars of television, movies, music, and Olympic competition with the playwright whose work each graces? Hint: Broadway tickets generally run around $60.
1. Tony Danza
2. Judd Hirsch and George Wendt (together!)
3. Uma Thurman
4. Brian Dennehy
5. Toni Braxton
6. Cathy Rigby
7. Nicole Kidman's ass
A. J.M. Barrie
B. David Hare
C. Arthur Miller
E. Eugene O'Neill
F. Linda Wolverton
G. Yasmina Raza
1-E Tony Danza, lovable star of television's Taxi and Who's the Boss? has been offered the role of Rocky the bartender for a revival of The Iceman Cometh.
2-G TaxiandCheers--oh, baby!--in Art.
3-D Uma Thurman has joined the cast of The Misanthrope; previews begin Jan. 28.
4-C Dennehy's Death of a Salesman previews Jan. 22.
5-F Braxton stars in Disney's "Timeless Classic," as it's billed, Beauty and the Beast.
6-A Rigby straps on the harness eight times a week for Peter Pan.
7-B NK's A can be briefly glimpsed in The Blue Room, of course. Scary thought: What if she caught a really bad stomach flu and had to be replaced by Brian Dennehy's ass! Yipes!
Disclaimer: All submissions will become the property of Slate and will be published at Slate's discretion. Slate may publish your name on its site in connection with your submission.