No 489: "I Just Want To Say One Word to You … Just One Word"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Oct. 12 2000 3:00 AM

No 489: "I Just Want To Say One Word to You … Just One Word"

It began nearly 30 years ago with an accident while mixing up a batch of polyacetyline and culminated yesterday when the Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to Dr. Alan MacDiarmid, Dr. Hideki Shirakawa, and Dr. Alan Heeger for creating a plastic that does something no other plastic can. What? 

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Send your answer by 6 p.m. ET Thursday to newsquiz@slate.com.

Monday's Question (No. 488)—"Histortainment":

"We are in the entertainment business," says Peter Herschend of Silver Dollar City Inc., "We're not in the business of history." His Branson, Mo., company, known for its self-proclaimed Christian values and its creation of Dollywood, will bring its casual attitude to history to the Southern heritage theme park it's building in Stone Mountain, Ga., birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan. Name one of the planned attractions. 

"All singing! All dancing! All Scottsboro!"—Evan Cornog

"A mechanical Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation then rips it up."—David Finkle

"Willie Faulkner's Drink 'n' Write Revue ('Sweet Jeezus, Emily, I'm seeing Robot Bears!')."—Chris Kelly

"Rapture, the roller coaster where only sinners need seatbelts."—Josh Kamensky

"A spooky Tennessee Valley Authority exhibit, where you walk through a re-creation of the submerged homes of hundreds of poor people, go on a water slide, and receive a mild electric shock."—Rose White

Click for more answers.

Randy's Wrap-Up

There's already so much to do at Stone Mountain, it's hard to see why Peter Herschend feels the need for further development, but then again, he thought Dollywood needed a Swingamajig, and who's to say it didn't? But first a little history. In the early 1900s, Georgians decided they wanted yet another memorial to what the 1960 edition of the World Book calls "the heroic struggle of the South during the Civil War," and so they hired Gutzon Borglum to carve giant Confederate heroes on the mountain's granite face, but he soon ran off to work on Mount Rushmore or perhaps to take a ride on Dollywood's Tennessee Tornado—in which case the joke was on Gutzon Borglum (and not for the first time, I'll warrant)—it wouldn't be built for another 75 years! Other artisans were induced to sculpt the enormous figures of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis enslaving a bunch of people. Or perhaps there's no actual enslaving going on; perhaps they're depicted riding Dollywood's Dreamland Forest? (No, they're not.) Incidentally, the figures are so large that a lot of people could sit on Lee's shoulder, if such was their desire and they had clearance from a lot of doctors, and I guess some sort of ropes or harnesses or something so they wouldn't fall to their death.

According to its Web site, "Stone Mountain Park is often referred to as 'the Eighth Wonder of the World,' " but not by anyone you know. Among the frequently asked questions about Stone Mountain Park: "What can I do with my pet while in the park? Can my pet accompany me to the Laser Show?" Well, who can say? Perhaps your pet would have more fun on Dollywood's Mountain Slidewinder? I suspect a heart-to-heart is overdue here.

I only pray that before Peter Herschend plunges ahead on his crazy development scheme, he realizes that Stone Mountain already has a flame cannon special effect, which, I hope, is not installed anywhere near Jefferson Davis' giant ass: that would be disrespectful and would frighten my pet. (A French attack monkey, he's already cranky because we didn't go to Dollywood. He loves Dolly's Rags to Riches Story—technically, not a ride but an attraction. And who isn't?)

Read more about it here.

For a complete list of Dollywood rides try this.

Chicken-Fried Answer

The $100 million park, to open next summer, will include these attractions:

  • A "four-dimensional" theater whose film about Southern heritage will include the actual scent of cornbread.
  • A vast children's play area featuring antebellum fun and games.
  • A reconstruction era Atlanta main street.

In their determination to tell what they call the fun side of the South—"creating memories worth repeating" is the company's sinister mission statement—slavery will not be included among the attractions.

Northern Heritage Extra

Actual ad in actual current New Yorker for actual products from actual idiots—or is it? Well yes, it seems to be, and a full page ad at that:

Ernest Hemingway™ Home Accents Collection

Own a Piece of the Hemingway Mystique

Featuring Finely Crafted Home Furnishings

Available at Thomasville Home Furnishings Stores and Other Fine Retailers

Common Denominator

Bamboozled, audioanimatronics.

Randy Cohen used to write Slate's "News Quiz." His most recent book—oh, like you don't know.