No. 214: "Nutkin"

No. 214: "Nutkin"

No. 214: "Nutkin"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
March 27 1999 3:30 AM

No. 214: "Nutkin"

You give the brief lead; I give the headline from London's Independent: "Letter Reveals Nutkin Was a Savage Squirrel."

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by 5 p.m. ET Sunday to e-mail your answer to newsquiz@slate.com.

Wednesday's Question (No. 213)--"Three for All":

Fill in all three blanks with the same word in this remark by Rudolph Giuliani: "There is no __________ ... I know what _______ is. There is no ________ going on in the city."

"Denial."--Marshall Efron, Molly Shearer Gabel, Jennifer Miller, and Adam Bonin

" 'Dancing.' It's from the mayor's cameo in the recent Broadway production of Footloose."--Daniel Radosh

"Adobe hut building. Well, not yet, but without rent control ... "--Jennifer Miller

"Arguing with the Disney Corp."--Daniel Krause

" 'Tim Carvell.' And then added, 'Tim Carvell was my friend. And you, sir, are no Tim Carvell.' "--Barbara Lippert (similarly, Chris Kelly, Alex Pascover, Greg Diamond, Mac Thomason, Michael Fein, and Charles Star)

Click for more answers.

Lenny Bruce began his apologia this way--and I quote from bad memory--"The continuation of crime, disease, suffering, and death is what keeps me, Albert Schweitzer, and J. Edgar Hoover in business." But in assembling News Quiz, the persistent problem is not trivializing the great events of the day (although that is an enduring tradition both for us and NBC News) but neglecting them. News Quiz, after all, runs but a single question, and it seldom refers to the day's most important story. I am, perhaps, feeling a little uneasy over the question selected for today when every front page reports the bombing in the Balkans. But remember, although a question ostensibly neglects a vital story, its answer may be piercingly relevant. And there is also this to consider--a squirrel! And it's savage! And it's named Nutkin! Thank you, and from all of us here at NBC, good night.

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Once, Twice, Three Times the Answer

"There is no unrest ... I know what unrest is. There is no unrest going on in the city."

No unrest. But plenty of arrests, 574 so far in ongoing protests of the Amadou Diallo shooting--former mayors, congressmen and other officials, religious leaders, actors, civilians. And there are also ongoing investigations of the NYPD by both federal and state authorities.

The mayor noted that most cops don't use excessive force. Charles Manson noted that most days, he doesn't kill anyone, either. Well, he didn't note it, but he might have.

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Try To ABC It My Way Extra

According to Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, ABC's Oscars broadcast gave a distorted view of the Elia Kazan protest, grossly exaggerating support for the director. Liz Smith reported that "most of the audience did not applaud." Roger Ebert wrote "only 40 percent of the audience stood up and clapped," while the Los Angeles Times put the figure at 25 percent, and Daily Variety at 20 percent. Oh, lordy, I've quoted Liz Smith and Roger Ebert. I'd better go lie down.

OK, I'm back. FAIR notes that ABC devoted 85 percent of its crowd shots to people standing to applaud, but only 15 percent to those refraining. Kvetch, kvetch, kvetch. Surely this was a directorial decision designed only to provide the most appealing shots, frequently down the front of Gwyneth Paltrow's dress. A random check of ABC file footage reveals the network's commitment to accurate reporting.

EVENT: Anti-Vietnam War demonstration, Washington, 1968

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ABC MOSTLY SHOOTS: A policeman's horse placidly nibbles a blade of grass. LBJ placidly nibbles Raquel Welch's ear.

EVENT: Protest of U.S. policy in El Salvador, Chicago, 1988

ABC MOSTLY SHOOTS: MacGyver blows something up using just a can of peaches and a poodle.

EVENT: March against Persian Gulf War, New York, 1990

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ABC MOSTLY SHOOTS: Only 3,000 miles away, at SeaWorld, sexy Cindy Crawford models swimsuits with Shamu the killer whale.

EVENT: Fourth Crusade sacks Constantinople, 1204

ABC MOSTLY SKETCHES: Some lovely fluffy clouds.

Common Denominator

New York lacks a mayor with self-knowledge, and Tim Carvell.