Bluff The Listener
Our panelists tell three stories about people going to extreme lengths to be polite.
CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR news quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing his week with P.J. O'Rourke, Kyrie O'Connor and Bobcat Goldthwait. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
KASELL: Thank you, Carl. Right now it is time for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
ANNE MORSE: Hi, this is Anne Morse from Portland, Oregon.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Portland, Oregon, one of my favorite cities. What do you do there?
MORSE: I am a grant manager for a nonprofit.
P.J. O'ROURKE: Of course you are, it's Portland.
BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT: Can you see...?
MORSE: (Foreign language spoken)
SAGAL: That means let's go, ladies.
MORSE: Yeah, move forward, women.
GOLDTHWAIT: And is that - what is that organization? It's not just about people who are annoyed in line.
GOLDTHWAIT: Come on, move forward, ladies.
SAGAL: Well, Anne, it is nice to have you with us. You are going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Anne's topic?
KASELL: Back Off, Miss Manners.
SAGAL: It's hard to remember what fork to use for your salad and whether you're supposed to bow or curtsy or simply kneel when greeting Carl Kasel...
SAGAL: But this week we read about people going to some extreme lengths to be polite. Guess the real story of manners gone a little too far, and you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine or voicemail. You ready to play?
SAGAL: All right, first up let's hear from Bobcat Goldthwait.
GOLDTHWAIT: Makers of Positive Vibes, an app that filters out all e-negative comments for its users has run into a marketing Catch-22. Positive Vibe's goal is to keep modern man and woman looking on the sunny side of life in this overly negative world by removing unpleasant words and content from emails, social media and news sources.
This way, the user is only given positive and non-disturbing and non-offensive news. The app filters out a predetermined list of offensive words regarding bodily functions, sex, blue humor, anti-church, anti-American and sick or injured animals.
GOLDTHWAIT: Things were looking rosy for the young startup company until its own billing emails to its customers were being deleted from their subscribers' accounts.
GOLDTHWAIT: Jerry Bishop(ph), former hippy and CEO of Positive Vibes was quoted it's a sad day on the Internet when making a living is subject to censorship.
SAGAL: An app, which saves you from bad news, also saves the user from the billing notice from the people who sold him the app. Your next story of someone minding their manners comes from Kyrie O'Connor.
KYRIE O'CONNOR: We all know the feeling of trying to cantilever an immense hamburger into our mouths and feeling the pang of regret that our jaws aren't hinged like a python's. But imagine you're a Japanese woman, and you have to choose between your culturally instilled need to present a (unintelligible), small and modest mouth, and your lust for a giant, honking burger.
Enter Freshness Burger, a Japanese chain oddly named like a feminine hygiene product. They've developed something called the liberation wrapper. It's a burger wrapper printed with the photographic image of a delicate, smiling, closed mouth, not creepy at all.
O'CONNOR: Tilt it up, and voila, you can chomp away behind your disguise. As for the slurry of pickle and ketchup flopping into your lap, you're on your own.
SAGAL: The liberation wrapper from Freshness Burger in Japan, providing you a little mask of a smiling clean face behind which you can chomp your burger. And your last story of excellent manner maybe too excellent comes from P.J. O'Rourke.
O'ROURKE: Well, there is an item in the diaries of Alice Roosevelt Longworth. Alice Roosevelt Longworth was the mischievous youngest daughter of President Teddy Roosevelt. And her diaries have published by the Princeton University Press, and when you read them you can see why the Roosevelt family spent decades and decades trying to keep them from being published.
And Alice tells a story about her dad trying too hard to be polite. It seems that after Teddy Roosevelt lost the 1912 presidential election, the Roosevelts were in England, and they were dining at a stately home in England with a lot of stately people, and Teddy Roosevelt was seated to the right of a very grand old duchess, and an English gentleman was seated on her left.
And kind of early on in the meal, the elderly duchess had an intestinal event, high-decibel, and the gentleman on her left quickly and gallantly says, oh, I apologize for having done that. And later in the meal it happens again, the duchess has another intestinal event, and again the gentleman on her left takes the blame, apologizes.
And right at the end of the meal, there is the loudest of all the intestinal events, and the gentleman on the duchess' left is just about to speak when Teddy Roosevelt jumps in and loudly says no, no, this one's on me.
O'ROURKE: According to his daughter.
SAGAL: I understand. All right then, here are your choices. From Bobcat Goldtwait the story of an app that is so good at eliminating bad news from your phone that they can't bill for it; from Kyrie O'Connor a hamburger wrapper in Japan that modestly disguises your slavering mouth with a prim, clean one; or from P.J. O'Rourke a story about how Teddy Roosevelt himself tried to do the right thing at dinner in a stately home in England. Which of these is the real story we found in this week's news?
MORSE: I'm going to go with the hamburger wrapper.
SAGAL: The hamburger wrapper, that would be Kyrie's story, the hamburger wrapper.
SAGAL: All right, well, to bring you the truth we spoke to someone familiar with this story.
NICK OFFERMAN: The mask looks like a piece of paper with half of a woman's face on it, and then hidden behind that are these women just chowing down on burgers.
SAGAL: That was Time Magazine contributor Melissa Locker, talking about the hamburger mask at Freshness Burger in Japan. Congratulations, you got it right. Well done for you. You have earned a point for Kyrie O'Connor, and you've won our prize. Carl Kasell will record the greeting on your home answering machine. Well, thank you so much for playing, and congratulations.
MORSE: Thank you so much.
SAGAL: Bye-bye. Peter: You earned a point for Kyrie O'Connor and you've won our prize. Carl Kasell will record the greeting on your answering machine. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.