Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Why Mystery Lovers Shouldn't Play Trivial Pursuit

Last night my son asked if we could play Trivial Pursuit; this is ironic, since the last three times we played as a family we all ended up in bad moods, and last night was no exception.

My oldest son hates it when he doesn't know the answers; I think he got that from me. Generally, because the questions vary so wildly, I will get some sort of obscure query about the Bataan Death March and will fail to answer. Then my opponent will get a question like this (which is actually a question in one of the versions of Trivial Pursuit): "Which fictional mouse, created by Walt Disney, has become an American Icon?"

This will drive me crazy. I never get the mouse question. Last night, when I landed on "literature," I was thrilled to think I might actually earn a chip. My question, however, was about a comic strip--one I'd never heard of. Is this how we define literature, I wondered? Then I looked back at the box and saw that the brown, in its newest version, stands for "the printed word." I failed the comic book question, and then my nine-year-old got the question about Emily Dickinson, so we were both furious.

And yet in a few weeks, we will all want to play Trivial Pursuit again. Why? I've been thinking about this today, and I can only assume that it's about the mystery. That perfect question is out there, and I will know the answer next time! And so it lures me like the siren of board games, and I falter again and again. I did not know which eastern state has the largest display of collectible spoons. I was not aware that Pete Rose achieved his 4000th hit right before his 42nd birthday.

But I did get one terrific mystery lover's question: "What is the more politically correct title of Agatha Christie's TEN LITTLE INDIANS?" I answered, I was correct, and my family decided I had some value as a player.

So do you know? Or should I try the mouse question? :)


Peter said...

A player with a malicious or humorous streak might have answered that Ten Little Indians was the politically correct title.

Pete Rose's accomplishment was to collect his 4,000th hit, not his 4,000 run. (I used to love Trivial Pursuit.)

And damn, but it's depressing to see that "literature" has become "the printed word." I'm just a literate old elitist, I suppose.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Kay said...

What Peter says is absolutely correct. What should the politically correct title be: Ten Small Persons Who Hail from India (and by the way, it took me forever to realize that she meant persons from India, not Native Americans). I'm assuming the correct answer is "And Then There Were None".

I agree with the "printed word" comment as well. Guess when you have to include graphic novels, MAD magazine, etc., that is what you get.

Julia Buckley said...

You're so right, Kay.

And Peter, you have exposed me as a sports feeb. I have trouble retaining the tiniest bit of information, as you have seen.

I'll fix that Pete Rose info!

And regarding Agatha Christie, oh yes! There is a far less acceptable title, and it briefly ran through my mind as an answer when the question was read!

Lill said...

The original title was Ten Little Niggers. Obviously that title isn't acceptable here or in Great Britain, nor should it be. However, Christie was a product of her time and that has to be taken into consideration. That said, the original title is as loathsome to me as it should be to anyone who doesn't tolerate racism. On the other hand, it's one of the best mystery stories I've ever read.

Shine On,

Peter said...

Was the original cover price of Mad magazine "35 cents -- cheap!"?

I have no objection to comics or any other printed matter. I am not thrilled with calling such material "literature," though.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"