Quiz: Who Is Michiko Kakutani?

Sometimes, Michiko Kakutani gets tired of being Michiko Kakutani. Can you identify the imaginary alternative persona in each of the following passages?

1. “Dwight says ‘dude’ an awful lot, but boy, the guy is a real talker: he’s got this voice that just grabs your attention and won’t let go, even when you think you’re not particularly interested in all the philosophy stuff he’s always prattling away about like he’s some sort of Walker Percy character or something.”

2. “Lucky, I have to say, is pretty shagadelic herself, one smashing baby, baby. Listen to this description: ‘Lucky was a slender, long-limbed woman with an abundance of shoulder-length jet curls; dangerous black opal eyes; full, sensual lips; and a deep olive skin.’ She likes to wear red dresses slit up to her heinie, and her Dad calls her ‘Miss Balls of Fire.’ A Bond girl by another name — am I right, or am I right?”

3. “Maybe you’d like to come by my office. Speaking frankly, I think you’d find that American men—or at least the specimens at my law firm—have a lot in common with the British variety you take apart in your journal. I mean, I so, so identified with the heartbreak you went through when that jerk Daniel What’s-His-Name dumped you and announced he was going to marry someone else.”

4. “Also, I’m tired of being the skunk at the American literary garden party. Do you know what it took out of me to grab a whip and a chair, to go into a steel cage and get this whole Toni Morrison tiger under control?”

Answer Key:
1. Michiko Kakutani as “Holden Caulfield” (Review: Indecision by Benjamin Kunkel, August 23, 2005)
2. Michiko Kakutani as “Austin Powers” (Review: Dangerous Kiss by Jackie Collins. June 15, 1999)
3. Michiko Kakutani as “Ally McBeal” (Review: Bridget Jones’s Diary, by Helen Fielding, May 26, 1998)
4. Paul McEnroe as “Michiko Kakutani” (I Am Michiko Kakutani, January 23, 1999)
Matt Haber