Alluding to a verbal dyad, Lamar Alexander called them "Weasel words, cleverly and deliberately put together to confuse people by meaning nothing." What two words?
by noon ET Tuesday to e-mail your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday's question (No. 178)--"W-O-M-A-N":
"She was quite a talented girl, and she was cute as a button too. And being the woman, she did give it the woman's touch." Who said this, about whom, for doing what?
"Clarence Thomas, about Cheryl Mills' presentation at the impeachment trial."--Deb Stavin (Dan Radosh, Charlie Glassenberg, R.C. Leander, Greg Diamond, Andrew "Your Trial of Trials" Solovay, Danny Franklin, and Anna Pond had similar answers.)
"Rep. Bob Barr, re his abortionist."--Chris Kelly
"Cary Grant, about Randolph Scott's ability to put together a lovely window box."--Larry Amaros
"That would be one of Hallmark's new 'Saucy Gent' Mother's Day cards."--Tim Carvell
"Nicole Kidman, describing her husband's ... Oh, wait. My lawyer just called. I've been hit with a restraining order prohibiting me from finishing the sentence."--John Leary
Click for more responses.
"She takes--bakes?--just like a woman." One way or the other, that's how Bob Dylan put it, and who was hurt when he did? Perhaps a few malcontents given to phrases like "incoherent nasal honking." But, fortunately, this was a rhetorical question meant only to remind us that we can't judge the praise of the past by the praise of five minutes ago. On the other hand, those who encourage us to forget the past are usually Gen. Augusto Pinochet. So how should we respond to the ostensible compliment in question? Is it churlish to rebuff praise? Not if it's pseudopraise, the poison ivy disguised as a rose bouquet: "You look great. I didn't recognize you!" Our quoted compliment employs the implicit tokenism of the definite article--"the woman"--the condescension of "girl," the dubious virtue of "talented," suggesting that her abilities were something she was born with, not something she earned. So perhaps it's not a matter of changing mores after all, just hidden dish. Or as the old tambourine man put it--now I remember--"She rakes just like a woman." You know--gardening, nature: It's so feminine.
Your Answer of Answers
Carl Reiner thought he was praising the late Lucille Kallen, a writer for Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows, who died last Monday at 76.
"At the time, I felt it was one big happy family," Kallen once remarked, "but later I said, What an idiot! There was a male phalanx, and then there was me. But when we were working, there was no difference." The basis (with later Caesar writer Selma Diamond) of Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Kallen went on to write six novels. The male phalanx included Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, and Woody Allen.
Augmented Quotations Extra
(Each final sentence added by News Quiz.)
- "I'm a big fan of the Museum of Tolerance. I think we need more tolerance in TV. More busty lifeguards and more tolerance."--NBC West Coast president Don Ohlmeyer, at a conference on "Jews in Primetime Television" at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills
- "I've always thought of this magazine as akin to Rolling Stone. And I see myself as a dead ringer for Dame Margot Fonteyn."--Steve Brill takes a long, hard look at Brill's Content
- "I didn't set out dreaming about being president when I was a kid, nor did I dream about being governor. I dreamed about being Willie Mays. I'd wake up in a cold sweat, shrieking my guts out: He's black, you know."--George W. Bush, interviewed in the Dallas Morning News
- "No more torture or other forms of abuse. There must be an end to the unnecessary recourse to the death penalty. When it's necessary, OK, but let's not go nuts."--Pope John Paul II, speaking in Mexico City
- "Please be quiet. Please shut up. Please give me back my pants."--Robin Leach quells the unruly crowd at the Cool Site of the Year Awards
Submitted top target: Monica Lewinsky.
Actually run top target: Cheryl Mills or, more precisely, condescending reactions to Cheryl Mills.
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