No news that's fit to print

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How well do you think you follow news and current affairs? Here is an easy way of testing yourself.

Simply read the following news stories which or may not have occurred in the past few days and decide which ones you think are true and which ones are false.

OK? Are you ready? Let's go.

1. After it became apparent that the Oklahoma car bomb atrocity was not caused by Oriental terrorists but by home-grown American fanatics, the death threats and personal attacks against Oriental people living in America suddenly dried up. Or, rather, they were then replaced by random attacks on plain, ordinary ol' American citizens in the streets of Beirut, Tehran, Paris and other cities where large numbers of Middle Easterners are gathered.

"It is such a pleasure to have a good reason to go out in the street and attack Americans again," said one Iranian spokesman.

"We have been attacking anyone who looks like a Mid-West redneck, in other words any American tourist. Unfair? Of course it is unfair. That is the point we are trying to make."

When asked how they could tell American tourists from other kinds of tourists, they said there were three main clues.

One, American tourists could speak no other language but American.

Two, they always asked damn-fool questions and caused long queues in banks and tourist offices.

Three, American tourists wore such clean and spruce clothes that they did not look as if they had had their garments cleaned that morning, like other tourists; they looked as if they had bought their clothes new each morning.

2. Rupert Murdoch declared this week that the primary reason he is buying up sports leagues all round the globe is not to get everyone watching sport on his television channels. That is his secondary reason. His primary reason is the reverse of the aim of Rugby Union - he intends nothing less than to drive all shades of amateurism out of sport and to make it illegal to play any sort of game without getting paid for it.

3. Prior to Winston Churchill MP winning the top prize in the National Lottery, and thus being able to pay off some of his private debts, he had already tried to raise some money by offering his own private papers as an MP for sale. Unfortunately, they had to be withdrawn from auction after failing to reach the reserve price of £100.

4. In the wake of the Oklahoma car bomb, President Clinton is seriously thinking of bringing in legislation which would prevent ordinary citizens from turning their cars into lethal bombs. The car bomb lobby is predictably up in arms, saying that it is the inalienable right of every citizen to carry and bear car bombs in the pursuit of happiness. The arms industry and the motor industry are also united on this one, as the car bomb is the one growth area which will get them both out of their present troubles. They point to the clause in the Constitution which enshrines every man's right to blow up his neighbour if necessary. There is no such clause, but this has never prevented people pointing at the Constitution for justification.

5. A man who won a prize in the National Lottery was mystified to be presented with, not money, but a painting by the late Sir Winston Churchill entitled Morning in the Breakfast Room at Reid's Hotel, Madeira. It was hastily withdrawn and cash given to him instead, with the explanation that the painting had been lodged at the National Lottery by Winston Churchill MP as a surety against a cash advance on his winnings.

6. The coming VE Day celebrations in Britain concentrate entirely on home activities such as wartime recipes, street parties, flogging off Churchill's speeches, etc, and make no mention of anything happening abroad, such as fighting, so as to not offend the Germans, who may or may not have been fighting against us at the time.

7. It is felt that if the Americans were to celebrate the 50th anniversary of VJ Day (Victory against Japan Day ), it might offend the Japanese, against whom they may or may not have been fighting at the time, so for the purposes of celebration the day is to be renamed VPR Day (Victory in the Pacific Rim Day).

8. The official verdict on the death of the late Ginger Rogers gave the cause of death not as old age or natural causes but as "overwhelming chagrin after discovering that the name 'Ginger' had now been taken over by a freckly bespectacled disc jockey on BBC's Radio 1".

Answer: I think No 7 is true, but I have lost the relevant Herald Tribune cutting.