No. 332: " Believe It or Else"

No. 332: " Believe It or Else"

No. 332: " Believe It or Else"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Nov. 5 1999 9:30 PM

No. 332: " Believe It or Else"

In a television commercial debuting this week, the spokesperson says, "It made people believe again, feel free again." Who's pitching what?

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Send your answer by 5 p.m. ET Sunday to newsquiz@slate.com.

Tuesday's Question (No. 331)--" 'Twixt 12 and 20":

The United States, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia share an idea about teen-agers held by no other nations. What idea?

"That their taste alone should ultimately dictate what television shows, movies, albums, and shoe styles get produced."--Merrill Markoe (Joe Hawk had a similar answer.)

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"That putting them to death is occasionally warranted. And yet Britney Spears still lives. What's up with that?"--Daniel Radosh

"I ran this question by our teen-age babysitter and he said, 'What's "Nigeria"?' "--Ellen Macleay

"That they shouldn't have sex, except on television, where we can keep an eye on it."--Francis "Hey, Colleen Werthmann, Great Show Last Tuesday" Heaney

"That they're just like those quasi-people on Dawson's Creek. Except in those other countries, the slutty girls get beaten to death."--Molly Shearer Gabel (similarly, Mac Thomason)

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Click for more answers.

Randy's Wrap-Up

"Why can't they dance like we danced? What's wrong with Sammy Kaye?" sang Paul Lynde (and recalls Andrew Milner--you know, in his quiz response; he wasn't actually in the movie) in Bye Bye Birdie's show-stopping musical number, "Kids," a look at teen-age life every bit as insightful as anything on the WB (if you can accept Paul Lynde as Ann-Margret's father). So you can imagine my surprise that the recent remake, Kids, was not based on the song. It wasn't even a musical. Or a remake. And the teens in that one were so much meaner than Ann-Margret's boyfriend, Bobbie Rydell. But that's what happens when you suppress the powerful erotic and aggressive urges of youth. Remember: Romeo and Juliet were only 14 and, by the end of the play, dead. (As I recall my Shakespeare, Juliet refused to renounce her faith in Jesus, and so Mercutio shot her. In the musical remake. With Paul Lynde.)

But of course Bye Bye Birdie was the product of an era when America's way of dealing with teen-agers was to encase them in glass-lined steel canisters, truck them to Nevada, and bury them several miles underground in abandoned salt mines. Our perhaps that was our way of dealing with nuclear waste. But either way, things have changed. Paul Lynde has been replaced in the center square by Whoopie Goldberg. And current social policy is to sublimate those disruptive teen tendencies into shopping, and so I salute our many fine corporations--Time Warner, Tommy Hilfiger, MTV--for seeing teen-agers not as violent over-sexed barbarians, but as a marketing opportunity.

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Hang 'Em High Answer

It may not be "cool" or "hip" or "the thing to do" in other countries, but the United States and its five confreres all enjoy executing children as young as 16.

On Monday, the Supreme Court turned down an appeal by Michael Domingues, sentenced to death for a double murder he committed in 1993 at age 16. He argued that the Senate's 1992 ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prohibits capital punishment for crimes committed before age 18. Ah, but Domingues didn't reckon on then President Bush who inserted language in the treaty explicitly stating that here in the United States we love to execute children. OK, maybe not "love to," but reserve the right to. This was, presumably, before young Bush concocted that whole "compassionate conservative" thing and Texas foreswore executions. Didn't it?

Christian + Store = Fun Extra

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Saturday Night Live may be in the doldrums, Mad magazine may have outlived its usefulness, but parody thrives in the form of the Christian T-shirt. Some fine examples can be found at Titanic Enterprises--A Christian Apparel Store & More--including these tees from Kerusso Activewear.

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"He Saves: Taste and See that the Lord is Good"--A parody of the Hershey bar wrapper. This is my blood, This is my body, This is my body with almonds.

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"Jesus King of Kings--Sweet Savior"--Bright orange, a parody of the peanut butter cup logo; you know, because "Jesus" sounds a lot like "Reese's" and "King of Kings" sounds a lot like "Peanut Butter Cup" if you say it in a frenzy of religious mania.

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"God's Way: The Best Way is God's Way"--Plays off the Subway logo. If I read this correctly, the lunch meat is salvation, the shredded lettuce represents the apostles, the provolone is the BVM, and the sliced tomatoes mean "Vote for Gary Bauer."

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"In All Thy Ways: Acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:6"--A parody of a Coke ad (picture the ALL and the WAYS really big.) These shirts tend to parody sweet or fatty foods, perhaps explaining why we are a very religious and very fat people.

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"Christ Whitens Hearts, Freshens Lives"--A skillful parody of the Crest toothpaste logo. I guess to make up for all the sugary foods. There will be no cavities in heaven.

Common Denominator

Guns.