The Illusion of Choice
Question: While reading September's Future News, "Tweedledum
or Tweedledee?" I decided when I printed a copy (as I usually do, to
save for posterity) whichever candidate's face showed up on the
printout would be elected our next president. It happened to be Al
Gore. Then I thought, is this really fair? Perhaps I should print 100 copies and see who shows up on the majority of them. However,
I discarded this plan and thought I would first write to you and see if
you had any inside information on how this might turn out, thus saving me
time, paper and ink. Do you have any information or thoughts on this
AnswerMan: A random question. This seemed like such
an excellent way to test our theory concerning the basic
interchangeability of Al and GW that we assigned a little research project to
our "staff of hundreds." Ten staffers were each told to get the
September FutureNews™ page on their browsers, stop the animation 100 times and
record which candidate appeared on their screens. Sure enough, when our results
were tallied, the image had frozen on Al and GW exactly 500 times each. There's
your answer. Electing one candidate to the Oval Office is the same as electing
the other. In fact, to ease the burden of leadership, they could sub for each
other, you know? Something like Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen both playing Michelle
Tanner on Full House, only cuter.
Sea Salt Seasoning
Q: Why is there salt in the oceans?
A: A spicy question. The answer is really very simple, the
oceans are salty to make all the seafood we are catching and eating to
extinction every day more delicious. In the beginning, the oceans were fresh and
salt-free, and the fish were not nearly as yummy. Don't believe me? Just order
some farm-grown catfish next time you're dining out.
Star Power Play
Q: Do you think Alec Baldwin would really leave the United
States if George W. Bush is elected President?
A: A Red October question. Horrors! I certainly hope
not. What a sham the American film industry would become if it was forced to
make do with one less Baldwin brother. Even worse, he might take wife, Kim
Basinger, with him. I can only hope that this is not the leading edge of another
disturbing trend in celebrity politics. What if, for example, Arnold
Schwarzenegger declared he would return to Austria if Al Gore is elected? The
repercussions are too terminating to even imagine!
Q: What do you think of this Yugoslavian presidential
election situation? Should we get involved?
A: An explosive question. You bet your backside, we
should. Clearly, the system is not working in Pristina. We have no alternative
but to give our NATO buddies a call, fire up the bombers and cruise missiles and
go back to work. Apparently, the only language our old pal, Slobodan,
understands it the kind that rains from the skies and goes boom. By golly, we
Americans just happen to speak that language fluently.
Q: I understand that the U.S. Supreme Court may hear the
case of George Wendt and John Ratzenberger vs. Paramount Pictures in their
attempt to secure the rights to their Norm and Cliff characters from Cheers.
Do you think this a prudent use of the court's time?
A: An everybody-knowing-your-name question.
Absolutely. Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Controlling the commercial rights to a character you played at the height of
your acting career sure would help a lot.
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