It's time once again for the Media Guy Media Studies Pop Quiz, back-to-school edition. All books and papers off your desk. Now, people!
1. On the morning Hurricane Irene was barreling toward New York City, Newsweek/Daily Beast Washington Bureau Chief Howard Kurtz published a column bemoaning the "tsunami of hype " surrounding the storm, calling the media's coverage "a Category 5 performance that was driven in large measure by ratings ." The hurricane and its aftermath claimed 45 lives in the U.S., left 5 million people without power and caused untold billions of dollars of property damage as far north as Vermont, where that state's governor cited the worst flooding in a century. Why was Kurtz so annoyed about media "scaremongering," and why did he find Irene to be so underwhelming?
A. He's still mad that Newsweek/Daily Beast Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown made staffers stay late the Friday before the storm to help stack sandbags outside her office. Total waste of time!
B. He never got to see Anderson Cooper's rock-hard pecs straining against a wet, tight-fitting T-shirt as he evacuated a flooded Manhattan orphanage, carrying out muddy-faced ragamuffins one by one in his magnificently muscled arms.
C. He's still picking off gummy bits of duct-tape residue from his scalp. Toupee-threatening winds failed to materialize!
2. Facebook is shuttering Groupon clone Facebook Deals after four months of testing. Why?
A. It's just a matter of personal taste: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg thinks half-off Brazilian waxes look funny. (Seriously -- either get it all taken off or just leave it be.)
B. Even privacy-busting Facebook was creeped out by finding out just how hairy you are down there; TMI!
C. U.S. population, now as smooth and slippery as dolphins thanks to surplus of 85%-off laser hair removal specials, no longer has any need for daily-deal offerings.
3. Despite the demise of Facebook Deals, there are still plenty of copycats of the original daily-deals site, Groupon. Which is the most promising?
A. Poupon, a new site from Kraft that offers deep discounts on mustard and other condiments.
B. Coupom-pon, a deals site that offers up to 70% off cheerleading gear.
C. Pile-on, an initiative by suddenly skeptical journalists to express grave doubts about Groupon's business model on at least a daily basis.
4. Facebook also shut down Foursquare competitor Facebook Places. Why?
A. Facebook doesn't need you to tell it where you are; your friends already told it.
B. The idea of Facebook Places is a non sequitur. Facebook is not a place or places—it is everywhere. It is the air you breathe.
C. In a surprise coup, Foursquare chief Dennis Crowley checked in to Facebook Places, named himself mayor, and, adding insult to injury, raided Mark Zuckerberg's palace and took his hat and his scrapbook of Condoleezza Rice photos.
5. Actor-author-artist-musician-director James Franco begins teaching a film course at New York University's Tisch School for the Arts this week. Can nothing be done about Franco's omnipresence and overexposure?
A. It's unclear, but for the record, James Franco, who is currently appearing in the question above, also appears in this answer.
B. This just in: Variety is reporting that James Franco has been signed to appear as himself in the answer "B."
C. Hey, you wouldn't happen to be thinking of a certain actor-author-artist-musician-director-professor, would you? Thought so.
6. A company called Brush Buddies has introduced two versions of what it calls the Justin Bieber Singing Toothbrush. One model offers two-minute snippets of "Somebody to Love" and "Love Me" while the other model offers "Baby" and (of course) "U Smile." The battery-operated brushes allow fans of the singer to hear him crooning from within their mouths. What other Justin Bieber-brand products are coming to market?
A. Please don't make me say it.
B. Seriously, I'm not going there!
C. Um, Justin Bieber-brand James Franco?
7. Along with his son James, News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch is being called to testify before a High Court judge next month, under oath, thanks to widespread dissatisfaction with their July appearance before a British parliamentary committee regarding the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. What is the elder Murdoch expected to say?
A. Using the Grandpa Simpson Defense, "I'm too old and feeble! I don't understand what you're saying!!"
B. "Phone snacking?! That's ridiculous! Who in their right mind would eat a phone?!"
C. "Where's the guy with the pie? I quite liked that fellow. Hello? Pie-man? James, go find him."
8. According to a study just released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, half of all Americans are now on social networks. Where's the other half?
A. On the couch.
B. In the line at the drive-through.
C. On CompuServe.
9. CNN/HLN legal commentator Nancy Grace will compete on the 13th season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." That means there's only one remaining pseudo-celebrity who has not yet appeared on the show. Who is it?
A. Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
B. Steve Doocy.
C. Casey Anthony.
10. Hearst has launched CFG: Cosmo for Guys, an iPad-only spin-off of Cosmopolitan, the lady mag known for its overheated coverlines, which have recently included (no kidding) "What Your Va-Jay -Jay Is Dying to Tell You," "5 Things Never to Tell Your Guy" and "The Silent Way He Shows He's Whipped." What sort of coverlines does CFG have?
A. "What Your Penis Is Saying About You Behind Your Back."
B. "The 5 Things We Told Her To Never Tell You."
C. "Revealed! Why Her Va-Jay -Jay Thinks You're Whipped."
KEY: The correct answer is A -- unless it's B or C.