No. 365: "Urge To Merge"

No. 365: "Urge To Merge"

No. 365: "Urge To Merge"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Jan. 12 2000 3:30 AM

No. 365: "Urge To Merge"

Fill in the blank as America Online CEO Steven M. Case evaluates the Time Warner properties he's just acquired: "Traditional media assets have a vibrant future if they can ________________."

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Send your answer by noon ET Wednesday to newsquiz@slate.com.

Monday's Question (No. 364)--"Top 20":

In his autobiography, George W. Bush called it "the longest 20 minutes of my tenure as governor." What was he doing?

"Writing his autobiography."--Daniel Radosh

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"Deciding who to smoke first--the retard or the black guy."--Alison Rogers

"The part where Forrest just keeps on running."--Gus Robertson

"Those people at the karaoke bar just wouldn't let him sit down until he did two encores of Eric Clapton's 'Cocaine.' "--Francis Heaney

"Oh, meeting with some visiting dignitary. From some other country. Wore a rag on his head. Or was it a sombrero? Anyway, it was all, 'my people' this, and 'my people' that. Took forever."--Tim Carvell

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Randy's Wrap-Up

This was the toe shoe on which many responses pirouetted: George W. Bush is stupid. No argument here. But how to explain why being caricatured as The Dumb Guy sank Dan Quayle, yet G.W. is surprisingly buoyant? One possibility: G.W. is rich, and that seems to be the Trump card in any conversation, at least with a fashion model. And aren't we all? Another angle: He's quiet, leaving it to the people of South Carolina, for example, to decide if there should be a big banner of a lynching fluttering above their Capitol building. It is hard to punch fog. Possibility 3: He's not a man, he's a logo. We don't expect badinage from the Pillsbury Doughboy or banter from Betty Crocker. We know them to be the artificial personification of a particular set of values--cut taxes for the rich, roll back the civil rights movement, build an anti-missile system. (That doughboy has always been a sucker for shiny yet unworkable military hardware.) Possibility the fourth: We the people are like terrified rabbits frozen in the glare of the onrushing headlights of the great big truck that is G.W. That is, we're paralyzed by the repeated idea that his election is inevitable. Which brings us to possibility No. 5: His election is inevitable. The fix is in. Sufficient money and party regulars and money have been assembled to make the primaries and indeed the general election even more than usually irrelevant. I do feel like a rabbit. In toe shoes. And I've never looked lovelier.

Hang 'Em High Answer

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Bush was loafing around with his buddies, waiting to execute Karla Faye Tucker. He was so distraught, he couldn't eat for days. No, wait, sorry, there is no record of his missing so much as a meal. And a year later, he was sufficiently recovered to mock the late Ms. Tucker in Talk magazine. That's resilience. Or something.

In his five years as governor, Bush presided over the executions of 111 men and one woman, more than any other governor in any state since the Supreme Court revived the death penalty in 1976, a record his brother Jeb can only envy. No, wait, sorry--he can also attempt to emulate it by persuading the Florida legislature to "reform" its death penalty statutes so they can kill folks as fast as Texans do. A guy needs a dream.

Putting It All Into Perspective Extra

Q: Just this week, George W. Bush's fellow presidential candidate Donald Trump referred to "the hardest thing I've ever done." What was Trump's greatest test?

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A: Breaking up with Melania Knauss, the 25-year-old Slovenian professional beauty. On the plus side, no lethal injection was required.

AOL Time Warner Augmented Quotations

Below, comments on the biggest merger in history. Each final sentence added by News Quiz.

  • "When I cast my vote for 100 million shares, I did it with as much excitement as I felt the first time I made love some 42 years ago. And I was just as drunk."--Ted Turner
  • "There has always existed the import of U.S. culture. It has been the case for years in film and television shows. They have content that European consumers are very attuned to. Except for the WB, which just makes us all sick."--Therese Torris, director of European Internet commerce, Forrester Research, Amsterdam
  • "The first element is connectivity, the second element is content, and the third element is scale. No, wait, sorry--I was thinking of Trump buying a new supermodel, but it probably holds for this AOL thing."--Chris Dixon, Paine Webber
  • "We had very few resources so we were forced to figure out how to get other people to carry our water. Now we can carry it ourselves in a solid gold bucket, we're so stinking rich!"--James Kimsey, AOL co-founder
  • "I accept that something profound is happening in the Internet space; I believe that. For one thing, you can download pictures of the first time Ted Turner made love 42 years ago."--Gerald M. Levin, Time Warner chairman and CEO

Common Denominator

George W. is stupid.