Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
Fri June 15, 2012
Bluff The Listener
Originally published on Sat June 16, 2012 10:54 am
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 this week with Maz Jobrani, Amy Dickinson, and Roy Blount, Jr. And, here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Carl. Thank you so much.
SAGAL: Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
STEVE LAWSON: Hey, Peter. This is Steve Lawson from Williamstown, Massachusetts.
SAGAL: Terrific, Steve, nice to have you with us. Williamstown is a nice place. What do you do there?
LAWSON: It is. Yeah, I'm the director of the Williamstown Film Festival.
SAGAL: Oh cool. Not the theater festival, which is...
LAWSON: No, I've worked there too, but now I'm running the film festival.
SAGAL: Oh, that's great. Let me ask you a question: if you've directing a film festival, you have to see a lot of bad movies, don't you?
LAWSON: An unbelievable amount.
SAGAL: Doesn't that get a little depressing after a while?
LAWSON: Yes. The giveaway is when everyone on the crew has the same last name as the director.
SAGAL: Oh really?
LAWSON: Well, it means mom catered, dad loaned the house and you hired your siblings, although they can't act, but they were free.
SAGAL: I see. Well, welcome to the show, Steve. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Steve's topic?
KASELL: Fathers, lock up your daughters.
SAGAL: This weekend we celebrate Father's Day, the annual reminder of how all of you fathers have completely screwed everything up. We're here to help though. Each of our panelists are going to tell you about a danger you can save your daughter from. Guess that true story; you will win Carl's voice on your home answering machine or voicemail. Ready to go?
LAWSON: I am.
SAGAL: First, let's hear from Maz Jobrani.
MAZ JOBRANI: What do you do when you've in the middle of a spelling bee and your tongue begins to cramp up? Well, one thing to do is to stop using the word "like" over and over and over again. Researchers have found that the overuse of the word like by teenage girls as in "like, you are, like, totally awesome" can cause cramping of the tongue and lead to speech problems. This impediment, known as tongueilitis...
JOBRANI: ...has been affecting more and more teens and causing some serious problems. For example, recently at the Tri-Borough Spelling Bee in Brooklyn Heights, New York, 11-year-old Asha Harmonium was asked to spell the word lyceum.
In asking for hints, young Asha proceeded to use the word "like" nine times, saying: "Could you, like, put it, like, in, like, context, like, so I could, like, get, like, a better, like, understanding of, like, the, like, meaning?"
JOBRANI: At that point, her tongue began to cramp up and she was disqualified.
JOBRANI: Reached by phone after the incident, Asha's father Sanji was quoted as saying: "This is, like, a huge problem in the whole, like, family. We are totally, like, devastated."
SAGAL: Tell them not to say the word "like." Your next story of a daughter danger comes from Amy Dickinson.
AMY DICKINSON: Teenybopper singer Justin Bieber can be blamed for all sorts of things, up to and including the overall decline of western civilization. But researchers in Canada have now determined that the singer's hysterical fans, who have something they call "Bieber Fever," well Bieber Fever is an actual virus, and it's spreading.
Two University of Ottawa epidemiologists used mathematical models to measure the spread of Bieber Fever through the worldwide population of adolescent girls. The main symptoms of Bieber Fever are squealing, tweeting, falling over and the peeing of one's pants, followed by Facebook status updates.
DICKINSON: When the researchers measured the contagion, they discovered it spread faster than the fastest virus known to man, which is measles. Naturally, there's a fear that Bieber Fever will be weaponized, leading to a worldwide outbreak, though Iran has already denied harboring WMBs.
SAGAL: Wait a minute. Weapons of mass Bieber. Fair enough.
DICKINSON: Weapons of mass Bieber.
SAGAL: Bieber Fever is real and can be tracked by epidemiologists. Your last warning for girls comes from Roy Blount, Jr.
ROY BLOUNT JR.: Tween age girls think they are just expressing disdain toward their parents and grody boys. They are, in fact, playing a potentially deadly game of, quote, "ocular roulette." That is the message that Dr. Diana Vermeer of the American Vision Institute would like to get through to these girls, if they would just listen for a minute and stop rolling their eyes.
JR.: "Eye rolling," says Dr. Vermeer, "has become epidemic among girls 11 to 15." And now we know that eyes rolled too forcefully and often can stick that way. Yes, they can.
JR.: "Hundreds of cases of stuck-up eyes are reported daily in the U.S. alone," she says. "It was one thing when eye rolling was a natural, if deeply irritating response to parents' very existence. That, believe me, I can understand. I was a girl once too, you know."
"But now, eye rolling has become a mean. Girls practice it together. They push each other to extremes. And we see the tragic consequences in ophthalmologists' offices everywhere." Dr. Vermeer cites the influence of the TV show "iCarly" in which...
JR.: ...tween girls roll their eyes repeatedly to canned laughter. "I have a daughter of my own," says Dr. Vermeer, "and when I try to tell her about the risk she's running, well - oh my god, did I just roll my eyes?"
SAGAL: All right, these in fact are your choices. One of these is a potential danger for your daughter or someone's daughter. Can it be from Maz Jobrani, saying like too much can actually cause cramping in the tongue? From Amy Dickinson, Bieber Fever is real, it is contagious and it is coming your way? From Roy Blount, Jr., eye rolling can lead, well, to ocular roulette, eye problems? Which of these is a real danger for young women of America?
LAWSON: Well, they all sound completely insane.
LAWSON: I think I'm going to go with Bieber Fever.
SAGAL: You're going to go with Bieber Fever, Amy's story?
SAGAL: That it is a contagious and real thing.
SAGAL: All right. Well, we actually spoke to the person who discovered this danger to our young women.
PROFESSOR ROBERT SMITH: Bieber Fever involves uncontrollable crying, screaming, inappropriate life choices, like getting tattoos of Justin Bieber's name or face, and belief in Justin Bieber as this sort of incredible pop idol.
SAGAL: That was Robert Smith, a University of Ottawa math professor who did the hard hitting research into the spread of Bieber Fever. You got it right, congratulations. Well done.
LAWSON: Thank you.
SAGAL: Woot, woot, yes. So you've earned a point for Amy, just for being convincing, and you have won our game. Carl Kasell will record the greeting on your home voicemail, cell phone, whatever you got, he will do it.
SAGAL: Isn't it great? Thank you so much for playing.
LAWSON: Thanks, Peter. Thanks everybody.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.