On Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that because there was a "top hat" but no "bad boy," something must be done. What?
Send your answer by noon ET Thursday to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday's Question (No. 361)--"Lit Crit":
"Oh, I can't stand that. You could get diabetes reading them, couldn't you?" Who said this about what? (Question courtesy of Adam Bonin.)
"The pope, on applications for sainthood."--Stuart Wade
"Janeane Garofalo, about romantic comedies (the ones without her in them)."--Matt Sullivan
"Norman Mailer, reviewing his granddaughter's 'Best Grandfather Ever' card."--Tim Carvell
"Pat Buchanan, about the collected works of Simon Wiesenthal."--David Lott
"George W. Bush, on ads for the Diabetes Walk."-- Sophie Pollitt-Cohen (Peter Lerangis had a similar, but Candygrams, answer.)
Click for more answers.
Many participants built their responses around the scorn of our putatively fiercest critics--Norman Mailer, Michiko Kakutani. But ours is not an era of harsh condemnation; it is an age of over-praise. It is rare to find opprobrium heaped on a cherished book or play or millennial fireworks display. The more common experience is to watch a much-admired movie with high hopes only to discover that Magnolia is Short Cuts for dummies, or that Boys Don't Cry has no ideas about its subject beyond those in any of a score of newspaper articles written about the case. Indeed, if a movie is in color, in focus, and indoors, it was likely to have been praised by the New York Times' departing Janet Maslin. In part, this is a form of kindness: It is terribly difficult to, say, write a novel. Indeed, the entire enterprise of serious literary fiction is so marginal that one hates to discourage any sincere effort. But this pseudogenerosity is also a kind of cowardice: A critic may be censured for slamming a worthy movie; she may have to defend her judgment. But she won't have to defend her praise; the pleasure she took in that film is its own justification. How perceptive is she to have seen its merit. How dull I am to have missed it. I can only hope that these low critical standards extend to my own work. Should I ever do any.
Three-Panel, Two-Dimensional Answer
Charles Schulz said it about Family Circus.
Schulz detests phony-baloney religiosity, writes David Templeton in the Sonoma County Independent:
He cringed when I mentioned Family Circus, the strip by Bill Keane that is strewn with cutesy references to Jesus (who wants to protect children on school buses, but can't because of laws about separation of church and state!) and those sickly-sweet images of invisible deceased grandparents looming protectively over the kids. ... Kindly, he added, "Bill's a nice fellow, though. A very decent person."
Schulz was less amiable in his assessment of another strip:
"I despise those shallow religious comics," he said. "Dennis the Menace, for instance, is the most shallow. When they show him praying--I just can't stand that sort of thing, talking to God about some cutesy thing that he'd done during the day. I don't think Hank Ketcham [Dennis' creator] has any deep knowledge of things like that."
Schulz's final daily Peanuts strip ran Monday. Read the entire interview here.
I Do Not Choose To Extra
A survey of nearly 400 potential congressional candidates listed factors that might deter them from running. Which of these made the list?
1. Having to raise large sums of money to finance campaign.
2. Separation from family and friends.
3. Heat, humidity in D.C. make me "sweat like a chunk of rancid pork."
4. Fear of glimpsing Strom Thurmond and his ass in Capitol showers.
5. Loss of personal and family privacy.
6. Sexual exploitation of staff now considered "old-fashioned."
7. Can make more money smuggling cigarettes into Canada.
8. Takes too much time away from stalking Cameron Diaz.
9. Being forced to wear "gender-appropriate" underpants.
10. Rivals might spread embarrassing rumors about my so-called "killin' spree" with Joyce Carol Oates.
11. Having to endure negative campaigning.
12. Having to endure Peter Jennings.
1, 2, 5, and 11 made the cut.