Who da man? I da man, according to da NYT

Or one a da men. That is to say, one of the 23 percent of New York Times readers who scored 100 percent on the weekly news quiz.

Which is nice, since my score on the Slate quiz today was… not memorable.

They must be slipping up there in the Big Apple, considering the way I’ve done in the past on the NYT quiz.

Try it yourself. I hope you do well. Although obviously, you can’t do any better than yours truly did.

Of course, if you read this blog, you should know the first one…

7 thoughts on “Who da man? I da man, according to da NYT

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Oh, I don’t have a chance on that — and I used to LIVE in New Orleans. Or rather, in Algiers, across the river.

      The only novels I’ve read set in N.O. are something (the Moviegoer, perhaps?) by Walker Percy — which isn’t on the quiz — and Interview with the Vampire. They have a question from an Anne Rice novel, but not THAT one…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I think I read both of those, but preferred the Moviegoer. Although I’m not certain, it’s been so long.

          If I’m remembering correctly, the protagonist’s situation in Lancelot is so distressingly hopeless that it felt like too much of a slog.

          But at least I think I read it all. I’ve started books with a similar “flaw,” and just stopped reading early on. I did that with Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides. The main character’s life goes from bad to worse to horrific all in the first chapter, and I just quit after that.

          I’m not explaining it well, I know. Stories are about conflict; they’re about overcoming adversity, etc. I’ve read and enjoyed many, many books that start out with the characters in a horrible situation.

          But there’s something about the author’s attitude toward the character that can really turn me off. Almost like a sadism, like he enjoys tormenting his character AND his reader. And yeah, I know Prince of Tides was supposed to be autobiographical, but I just wanted Conroy to give himself a freaking BREAK so we could get interested in the character.

          Of course, that approach in storytelling is all the rage now. I’ve written in the past how so many of the scripts in the Golden Age of Television — Breaking Bad, etc. — are about about characters you don’t want to cheer for. And I often appreciate these stories, but I find myself thinking, would it hurt to have ONE character we can feel good about, or at least root for?

          Of course, we SHOULD root for the troubled character. But when I feel like the writer is overdoing the misery, and not giving me a chance to see anything else, something that gives hope, I kind of feel like I’m being manipulated, and turn away. There’s enough stress in life…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I’m not explaining that well. It’s close to a broader subject I’ve been meaning to write about for some time, but I guess I’ve been having trouble figuring out how to explain it.

            I’ve run into this phenomenon in books, and in watching television, a lot. I’ll be really enjoying something, and getting a lot out of it, and then something starts to happen to a character (usually a fictional one, but sometimes a real person from history), and I just stop cold, because I don’t want to see what happens next.

            It’s silly, but I get pretty adamant about it. It’s like there’s this voice in my head that is like the — here’s that word again — moviegoer who shouts out, “Don’t open that door!” And I don’t…

            And no, it has nothing to do with avoiding ideas I don’t like, so don’t seize upon this as evidence of Why Brad is such an idiot for not agreeing with you. I’m fine with ideas — examining them, considering them, dissecting them and, when the are found to hold up, embracing them.

            It’s when something is about to happen to a PERSON — especially someone I’ve come to like and care about — that I go all wobbly…

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Hey, I just thought of something self-affirming… maybe this means I’m becoming a warmer, more empathetic person, in spite of those tests that show me to be such an extreme introvert?

              Maybe not, but it’s a nice thought…


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