Yes! In your FACE, Slate News Quiz!


OK, so this was a pretty modest achievement. I got two questions wrong, which means that if this were a test in school I would have gotten an 83, which even by South Carolina’s currently overly generous grading system would be a low B.

But here’s the thing… Y’all know that I’ve always taken inordinate pride in my test-taking skills. That’s what got me through high school without studying, slacker that I was. (One of my favorite lines from Woody Allen’s “Love and Death” is when a fellow soldier, heading into battle, moans, “Oh, God is testing us!” and Allen’s character says, “If He’s gonna test us, why doesn’t He give us a written?” Yes! Why can’t all tests be written?)

But the Slate News Quiz is the kind of test that foils me time and again. Partly is that they have a penchant for trivial news over the top stories. But mostly because you get points for how quickly you answer, which rattles me. I hate being timed doing anything, and especially on something requiring thought. I don’t do anything fast.

So week after week, I get skunked on this quiz, humiliated by the Slate staffer they pit you against, or the reader average, or both. But not today.

You know why I did better today? I made myself slow down. I allowed myself that extra beat where I go, Come on, you read something about this, or when I don’t know, Which makes most sense?, or on less certain ones, Which of these names do you have a vague memory of having heard lately?, or more deviously, Which of these names wouldn’t be here unless that’s the one?

I took a hit on my score for taking time, but I got most of them right.

I even did better than “senior editor” Jeremy Stahl. Curious as I tend to be when these online publications call somebody a “senior” something, I looked him up. He graduated college in 2004, so he’s about 37. Which at least is older than I would have guessed.

I mean, at least he’s four years older than that twerp, “Senior White House Advisor” Stephen Miller

And who knows? If the boy studies up, maybe he’ll beat the old man next time. You know how it was in the old Westerns: the top gun always has to be looking over his shoulder for the next punk looking to make a name for himself


20 thoughts on “Yes! In your FACE, Slate News Quiz!

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Speaking of that creep Stephen Miller, his photo suggests one of those Separated at Birth things.

    Doesn’t he look like actor Jonathan Banks — who later became famous as Mike Ehrmantraut on “Breaking Bad” — when he was younger?

    Stephen_miller_june_2016_cropped_corrected    Jonathan Banks

    Of course, as is always the case, I see that I’m not the first to notice this

    It’s those dead, creepy, “f___ you” eyes.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    I went back and provided a link to illustrate the words “the next punk looking to make a name for himself…”

    I linked it to a clip from “The Gunfighter,” from 1950. Gregory Peck was the top gun and a very young Richard Jaeckel played the punk challenging him.

    On some level, I think I did that because I was unsure whether all readers would recognize the trope I was describing. It seems impossible that any adult living in America wouldn’t know that cliche, but now that we live in a world in which intelligent, grown men claim not to know who Alfred E. Neuman is, you just can’t be sure…

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    You know what? I’d kind of like to compose a quiz sometime.

    I’d need to get somebody to help me with the coding, so it could be interactive and calculate your score, etc…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That said, the older I get and the farther I get from my newspaper career, the less importance I attach to knowing EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING happening RIGHT NOW. I begin to wonder whether anyone who is sufficiently plugged in to ace such a test has a life.

      I’m more interested in broader tests of general knowledge and understanding of the world over time.

      Like the test we give prospective citizens. I just went and took that again (it only takes a couple of minutes), and as usual got 100.

      Needless to say, the questions are real toughies. Things like, “What ocean is on the East Coast of the United States?”

      Basically, I really like a test like that, only a little harder.

      Something that really tests whether you know and understand the world you live in…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        By the way, I see that most Americans would flunk that excruciatingly easy test:

        ABOUT TWO-THIRDS OF Americans would not pass the test required to become a United States citizen, a new survey says.

        Just 39 percent of Americans can pass a multiple choice test with questions taken from the U.S. Citizenship Test, according to a report by The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. The test has a passing score of 60….

        Which to me suggests that 61 percent of Americans should be deported…

        Yeah, I know. Can’t do that. Can’t get around that ol’ 14th Amendment. Just kidding. Sorta. Being Swiftian, you see.


        1. David T

          “Which to me suggests that 61 percent of Americans should be deported…”

          We can only wish things like this would come true.

      2. Doug Ross

        We should do a Brad’s team for trivia at flying saucer some week. I play twice a week when I’m in Pittsburgh and do pretty well against teams of 4. Won Monday night overall and 3/5 rounds on Tuesday this week. I’m good at useless information and sports… Struggle on science and audio rounds guessing song titles.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            By the way, for those of you who don’t know (or claim not to know) who Alfred E. Neuman is, “fave” is an early-60s term meaning “favorite.”

            It’s associated with early Beatlemania. It entered Boomer culture along with such “pimply hyperboles” as “gear” and “fab.”

            Almost no one ever actually said it, to my knowledge. Just as practically no one said “groovy” with a straight face, or called marijuana “pot.”

            It was huge on the covers of Teen Beat-style fan magazines, though. In fact, one such magazine was actually called “FaVE.”

            So I was using it ironically above…

  4. David T

    I got 8 out of 12, I think I guessed at half of the answers. I don’t pay attention to the news much.

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