Friday, March 28, 2014
BROOKE GLADSTONE: So Bob, are you there?
BOB GARFIELD: I’m here!
BROOKE GLADSTONE: So you’ve done a bunch of these quizzes, right?
BOB GARFIELD: Yes, and what a journey of self-discovery it’s been.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: [LAUGHS] Did you figure out which billionaire you are?
BOB GARFIELD: I have.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: And?
BOB GARFIELD: Well, duh! Oprah.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: [LAUGHS] I’m George Soros.
BOB GARFIELD: You’re a currency speculator with a heart of gold and I'm God.
So I think I win.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Which public radio host are you?
BOB GARFIELD: I am – and you may be about to discern a trend – Audie Cornish. So yes, I’m black, I’m female and I’m proud.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: [LAUGHS] I'm Ira Glass. I'm always Ira Glass. And the rest of the staff took it and they were almost entirely Glynn Washington, so there you go.
BOB GARFIELD: Mm.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Which one really surprised you?
BOB GARFIELD: The one that kind of shook me to the foundations of my being was my Disney character.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Which Disney princess you are?
BOB GARFIELD: I was thinkin’, you know, Ariel, the Little Mermaid, or Sleeping Beauty. Nope. Turns out, Rapunzel.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: [LAUGHING]
BOB GARFIELD: I just wasn’t prepared for that.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: All right, now apparently, one of the most popular quizzes ever - some 30 million people have taken it - is Which Country Are You?
BOB GARFIELD: Mm-hmm.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Which country are you?
BOB GARFIELD: It’s actually surprisingly close to my actual roots.
It’s Lithuania. But I don’t know if it’s like Lithuania or Litvak Eastern European Jew Lithuania. Those are two very different places that happen to share boundaries.
Yeah, I am a Baltic state.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: There you go.
BOB GARFIELD: And you, Brooke?
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Well, I’m Taiwan.
And, and I thought it was because I picked as my favorite food the dim sum. So I changed it to the homemade meat pie. But it turned out I'm still Taiwan. [LAUGHS] And I wanted to know which Shakespeare character I was.
BOB GARFIELD: Uh huh, can I guess?
BROOKE GLADSTONE: [PAUSE] Sure.
BOB GARFIELD: It’s Falstaff.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: [LAUGHS] You know, if they hadn’t had you put gender in there, I think that would have been true. But PBS offered the test, and I got Rosalind. And BBC offered the test and I got Beatrice. Bob, take the “Which ousted Arab Spring dictator are you” test now. Read it out and just do the answers really fast, without thinking.
BOB GARFIELD: All right. So it says, “Choose a resource to exploit.”
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Mm-hmm. [AFFIRMATIVE]
BOB GARFIELD: You know, they give you a forest, they give you oil, chickens.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Yeah – turkeys, I picked that one.
BOB GARFIELD: I’m just gonna go with water. Choose a social network to censor. You know, Twitter is so obvious, and Facebook. I’m going with LinkedIn because I just find it the most annoying. [LAUGHS] Choose a disgruntled demographic. Oh, where does one start? [BROOKE LAUGHS]
You know, nobody ever went wrong clicking on “Islamists.” Choose a loaded term: coup, civil war, uprising, revolution, traitors. my favorite, foreign intervention. Erdewan and Putin have been usin’ it, and it seems to be hot. Choose a TV channel to blame. This is funny [LAUGHS] the six possibilities, and four of them are Al Jazeera. [LAUGHING]
BROOKE GLADSTONE: [LAUGHS] One is Al Arabiya and one is CNN. I picked CNN.
BOB GARFIELD: I’m going with Al Jazeera.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: [LAUGHS] Okay.
BOB GARFIELD: So now I have an answer.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Yeah?
BOB GARFIELD: It appears that the ousted Arab Spring ruler I am is Ali Abdullah Saleh, forced out of the presidency of Yemen.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Aha! I was Mohamed Morsi. [LAUGHS]
BOB GARFIELD: The question is, what, if anything, have we learned, besides the fact that we can squander –
- a half an hour [LAUGHS] of time?
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Yeah, but I already knew that.
BOB GARFIELD: Clicking boxes on BuzzFeed.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Now, you did get bored by these, right?
BOB GARFIELD: Yeah.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: You couldn’t spend your whole life doing these.
BOB GARFIELD: No.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: So why do you think they’re so popular?
BOB GARFIELD: I think they’re popular because no matter what the answers are, they’re about you and it’s fun having attention paid to you, if only by an algorithm.
It creates the illusion of being significant. What's not to like?
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Thanks for joining me, “Oprah.”
BOB GARFIELD: Oh, thank you for quizzing me, Brooke. And I meant that Falstaff remark in the, in the kindest possible way.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: [LAUGHS] Talk to you next week.
BOB GARFIELD: Later, gater.
[MUSIC UP & UNDER]
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Before we go to the credits, you should know that we have our own quiz now. Find out which 19th century media baron you are. Just go to onthemedia.org.
BOB GARFIELD: That’s it for this week's show. On the Media was produced by Alex Goldman, PJ Vogt, Sarah Abdurrahman, Chris Neary, Laura Mayer, Meera Sharma and Kimmie Regler. We had more help from Cameron Lindsey and Sam Dingman. And our show was edited - by Brooke. Our technical director is Jennifer Munson. Our engineer this week was Greg Rippin.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Katya Rogers is our executive producer. Jim Schachter is WNYC’s Vice President for News. Bassist composer Ben Allison wrote our theme. On the Media is produced by WNYC and distributed by NPR. I’m Brooke Gladstone.
BOB GARFIELD: And I’m Bob Garfield.