It’s spring. And, once again, it’s time for the annual New Yorker’s Diary News Quiz-this year, with our new, improved “You are the decision maker” feature. 1) You’re George W. Bush, arguably the most powerful man in the free world, and certainly the scourge of blue-state America. After a long and diligent vetting process, you’ve just chosen the neoconservative Paul Wolfowitz-over the neo-classic rocker Bono-to head the World Bank. Your first charge to him is: A) “Yo! Wolfie! Maybe Bono is right. We oughtta find a way to reduce African debt.” B) “Yo! Wolfman! When you get down to the bank, can you do something about Jenna’s credit-card bills?”
2) You’re the Mayor of a large metropolis known as New York City. For some inexplicable reason, your subway system has now become a time-travel machine, making unscheduled stops in 1977, when nothing worked. Your response is: A) “Next stop, Studio 54!” B) “I can’t wait for Christo’s Gates!” C) “Trust me. The Olympics and the West Side Stadium will fix everything.”
3) Speaking of the Olympics and the proposed West Side Stadium: You’re a tax-paying resident of Manhattan. Your main concern here is: A) Studies have shown that underwriting these kind of “Mayoral legacy” projects almost never results in any long-term civic gains. B) How do I get my name on the waiting list for a skybox?
4) You’re a desperate housewife in Brentwood, Calif., whose C-list celebrity actor husband hasn’t worked in five years. Your greatest fear in life is: A) Tainted Botox. B) Your kids are now calling the nanny “Mom.” C) Your husband seems just a little too aware of the fact that no jury in the state of California has ever convicted a celebrity of murdering his wife.
5) As a subscriber to The New York Times, you’ve just finished reading the article in the Sunday Styles section about the woman who sort of -but not really-had an affair while she was engaged and pregnant. Your immediate response is to: A) Type up a book proposal documenting your own even more lurid sexual antics. B) Rejoice when, later that week, The Times runs an article by William Grimes headlined “We All Have a Life. Must We All Write About It?” C) Say “Screw it,” call up the birth mother/father of your 6-year-old daughter and arrange for one last discreet tryst at the Plaza hotel before it closes.
6) You’re the upwardly mobile parent of a single toddler, living in one of the prime ZIP codes of affluent Manhattan. At your preschool interview, the headmistress yammers on about “diversity.” Do you interpret this to mean: A) Your child will be attending a learning institution with a rich mix of children from all socioeconomic backgrounds. B) Along with all the manses in the Hamptons, at least one or two families will have weekend homes in the Berkshires. C) “Screw it. Write us a check for $250K and the kid is in.”
7) In a somewhat less-than-diplomatic attempt to promote world harmony, George W. Bush recently nominated John Bolton to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations-a man who once remarked that “if the U.N. Secretariat building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.” If you’re Kofi Annan’s son, Kojo, your immediate reaction is to: A) Call Bolton and try to pull together a real-estate deal with Donald Trump to convert floors 21-31 to luxury condominiums. B) Consider the real-estate scam for a moment, then decide, “Screw it. It’s chump change compared to what I managed to steal from the oil-for-food program.”
8) The disgraced CBS News producer Mary Mapes just sold a book to St. Martin’s Press. Using the Morning Chat-Show Booker’s Guest Predictability Index (wherein “1” indicates that a guest is likely be yawn-inducing, and “10” corresponds with a deep, R.E.M.-like sleep), please rate each of the following assertions that Mapes is guaranteed to make in her book: A) There is no liberal bias at CBS News. B) Politics played no role in the George Bush Texas National Guard story. C) The real villains are Sumner Redstone, Big Media and the Republican Party. D) Only conservative bloggers think the memos were fake. E) “Believe me, I’m the real victim here.”
9) Hollywood Question No. 1: You’re a member of Congress with a special interest in the female body-image problem. After viewing the summer 2005 movie trailers-paying particular attention to the leading actresses-do you (circle one) A) agree B) disagree that federal legislation is justified, mandating the insertion of feeding tubes?
10) Hollywood Question No. 2: You’re a talent agent in Beverly Hills. You’ve just finished reading the coverage of David Wirtschafter’s profile in The New Yorker, which set off a round of client defections from the William Morris Agency. As a competitor, your immediate reaction is to: A) Call Wirtschafter and tell him you admire him for telling the truth. B) Call Wirtschafter, tell him you admire him for telling the truth, then promptly start poaching his remaining clients. C) Call Wirtschafter, tell him you admire him for telling the truth and then add, “If all else fails, you can always sign Robert Blake.”
11) The key indicator that your marriage may be in deep, deep trouble today is: A) You no longer have sex. B) You now regret paying for that wedding announcement in The New York Times. C) Given the chance, you’d both jump at the opportunity to remove each other’s feeding tubes.
12) Final bonus-round question: What’s the thing you’re most looking forward to this summer? A) More hard-hitting front-page newspaper analysis of Condoleezza Rice’s wardrobe. B) Spending more “quality time” reading blogs. C) Major League Baseball’s newly instituted “seventh-inning steroid stretch.” D) Watching Hillary move to the center. E) Hearing George Bush call for “national calm” in the hours before the jury delivers its verdict in the Michael Jackson trial. F) Another wave of spam-no, make that semi-literate e-mails-from Susan Estrich. G) House Majority Leader Tom DeLay finally getting nailed for his myriad ethics violations. H) Martha’s triumphant return to the airwaves. I) The first issue of Radar magazine. J) The hazy, idyllic notion that somehow, somewhere, you’ll find a way to disconnect from all of this.