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Wednesday's Question (No. 366)--"From Marathon to Waterloo in Order Categorical":
In a London libel trial, historian David Irving is suing historian Deborah Lipstadt, who wrote that Irving "bends" history "until it conforms with his ideological leanings and political agenda." Specifically, what historical lie has she accused him of telling?
"That anyone can triumph over the Nazis, provided that they're armed with an irrepressible spirit and a gift for rapid improvisation. Wait, no. No, that would be the historical lie that Roberto Benigni is guilty of telling. And yet he walks the streets. What's up with that?"—Tim Carvell
"That Oliver Stone does not bend history until it conforms with his ideological leanings and political agenda."—Holly Barlow
"She says he used digital video effects to insert his name and logo where they never really existed; he says that's nonsense, and Hamlet has always been credited to 'Wm. Shakespeare, from an original idea by David Irving.' "—Peter Carlin
"He claims that he dumped her."—Jon Delfin
"Wait, wait, I've been saving Holocaust revisionism jokes for years just waiting for this moment ... where did I put that sheet of paper?"—Greg Diamond
Click for more answers.
As Greg Diamond implies, in his gentle chiding way, with affectionate sarcasm and good-natured contempt and withering coldhearted … where was I? … oh, right: There is something wrong with today's question. Its syntax is confusing: Who's supposed to be lying to whom? Lipstadt? Irving? The CBS graphics department? And more unfortunately, it invites wacky Holocaust humor, which, as many disgruntled regulars know, I don't feel comfortable running. Talk about mixed messages. I was hoping for goofy alternative history, like that SSGB book, like cool race cars running over Ben Hur, like Presidential Candidate Trump—funny stuff that couldn't happen. I should have been more sensitive. I should have skipped the question altogether and instead run the graph of my temperature since Saturday, which resembles the curve of Elie Wiesel's ass, where, if you look closely, you can just make out the CBS logo.
The Lies That Bind Answer
Deborah Lipstadt has accused David Irving of being a Holocaust denier.
Irving has been convicted and fined on similar charges in Germany, after saying that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz, and has been banned from Canada, Italy, Austria, and Australia. Once a respected historian—his 1977 Hitler's War was favorably reviewed—Irving is now seen as no historian at all. "To put it bluntly, he is a liar," said Richard Rampton, Lipstadt's lawyer.
Irving is acting as his own lawyer.
Michael Mannella Can Walk in the Sun Once Again Extra
Several months ago, I submitted a News Quiz answer in which I referred to "Maurice," the capuchin monkey that used to appear on Friends. While channel surfing last night, I came across a Friends rerun and discovered to my shock and embarrassment that the monkey's name was in fact "Marcel." I want to assure Deborah Lipstadt and the News Quiz readership that I did not change the monkey's name to conform to any ideological leaning or political agenda. It was an honest mistake, which I regret.
Chris Kelly's TV Consultant Corner Extra
Last night on The Late Show With David Letterman, Hillary Clinton had some fine prepared material but she mostly, wisely, didn't go to it. Instead, she followed two smart rules. One, for general television: Remember, you are having such a good time you might just explode. And two, specifically for Dave: Agree with everything. It's a perversion of improv. Don't add anything, just agree.
Dave: So, this morning I noticed you ramming carrots up your ass.
The Safe Approach
Starlet: Ha, ha, ha!
Starlet: Oh no, you saw that?
Starlet: That's right, Dave. I love carrots.
The Dangerous Approach
Starlet: No, those were onions.
Dave: Ha, ha ... nah (sound of attempt to fake laughter trailing off into despondent, seething rage).
Starlet: What do you mean? What are you talking about? What a stupid, shitty thing to say.
Audience: (Gales of derisive laughter leading to boos and articles in the New York Post claiming you're on drugs.)
Hillary looked like a lady senator, and she refused to say whether or not it was OK for America to kidnap Elián González. She did admit that it was a serious issue, and she hoped it worked out. Sometimes I think the Clintons exist to disappoint.
Surprisingly tactful Holocaust humor that the Quiz wrangler is too uneasy to run.