Get Out Your Pencil and Paper, It's Quiz Time Again

Weekly Commentary From the Media Guy

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Somehow it’s been more than three months since our last Media Studies pop quiz. All books and papers off your deskâ€"now!

Following Michael Caruso’s death march as editor of Wenner Media’s Men’s Journal, Wenner Books chief Bob Wallace also left last week. A Wenner spokesbot said, “The departure was amicable.” What does that mean?

A. -Wallace didn’t break a hip while racing for the exit.

B. -Jann’s departure on his private jet for his last ski vacation was amicable (the pilot let him sit in the cockpit during take-off and landing).

C. -Us Weekly Editor Janice Min’s departure was amicable. (Oh, sorryâ€"jumping the gun a bit.)

D. -In Wenner World, “departure” means “hatred” and “amicable” means “intense.”

Influential blogger Glenn Reynolds, of Instapundit fame, has just joined start-up Pajamas Media, a network of 70 blogs. The name was chosen because:

A. -Black Socks and Stained Boxer Shorts Media was too unwieldy.

B. -I’m Now Too Fat to Fit Into My One Suit Media was too depressing.

C. -I’ve Got BBQ Sauce and Guacamole on My Tie Media was too gross.

D. -Glenn Reynolds Sleeps Naked Media was too disturbing.

Alternative weekly powerhouses Village Voice Media and the New Times chain have announced a merger. The upshot:

A. -Capitalism has finally triumphed over Marxism!

B. -Marxism has finally triumphed over capitalism!

C. -Bland, formulaic New Times journalistic recipe to be spiced up with deliciously toxic Voice office-culture psychopathology.

D. -Google, reportedly planning an online classifieds service called Google Base, can now decimate two alternative weekly newspaper conglomerates at once â€"saving time and money.

Now that The New York Times has turned on one of its ownâ€"Judith “WMD” Millerâ€"who’s next?

A. -Will Shortz, longtime puzzle editor, for his failure to anticipate the rising sudoku insurgency.

B. -Times Magazine “Funny Pages” comic artist Chris Ware, for being such a sad sack and total downer, man.

C. -The entire “Styles” staff, for clashing with Maureen Dowd’s pumps.

D. -Howell Raines, who, it turns out, still works at the Timesâ€"but now in the mailroom (it’s just way too hard to fire people, what with all the union rules and stuff) and always hangs on to Arthur Sulzberger Jr.’s L.L. Bean catalog for like a week before delivering it, which is so totally annoying.

Although Viacom is splitting into two companies, Chairman Sumner Redstone said “I never said I would take my hands off the wheel.” An 82-year-old man refusing to cede control over his media empire is:

A. Depressing.

B. -Really depressing.

C. -Really depressing shareholder ROI.

D. -As depressing as Rupert Murdoch, 74, refusing to take his hands off the wheel of his media empire.

Perpetually imploding magazine conglomerate Primedia last week dismissed yet another CEO. Does anyone care?

A. -No.

B. -Definitely not.

C. -Are you kidding?! No.

D. -What? Did you just say something?

Infinity Broadcasting replaces Howard Stern with David Lee Roth and Adam Carolla in an unusual East Coast/West Coast programming split. What other teams did Infinity consider?

A. -David Spade and Rob Schneider.

B. -Danny Bonaduce and Omarosa.

C. -Dr. Drew and Dr. Phil.

D. -David Hasselhoff and K.I.T.T. the Wonder Car.

NBC just unveiled a “Start Over” service that will allow Time Warner Cable customers to restart TV shows already in progress. Up next:

A. -A “Do Over” button, to give “Joey” one more chance to be funny.

B. -“I’m So Over It” button, allowing viewers to permanently block shockingly bad new “Saturday Night Live” season from appearing on their TV sets.

C. -A “Switch Over” button to automatically switch over to a better channel.

D. -A “Party’s Over” button, which automatically pink-slips the boneheaded NBC execs who green-lit shows like “Inconceivable.”

ANSWER KEY: As Judith Miller knows, there are no clear answers. Only questions -- lots and lots of questions.

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The Media Guy's column appears weekly on AdAge.com and in the print edition of Advertising Age. E-mail him at dumenco@gmail.com

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