Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Copernicus who?

Via The Amazing Randi's1 weekly newsletter, we have a clip from the French version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

This is the question:

Qu'est-ce qui gravite autour de la Terre?

A) La Lune

B) Le Soleil

C) Mars

D) VĂ©nus

For those of you whose French is rustier than mine (which is saying something), this is the question:

What orbits around the Earth?

A) The Moon

B) The Sun

C) Mars

D) Venus

Right off the bat, he seems worried by the question. After repeating it to himself (and being counseled to take his time), he decides to Ask the Audience. (The host asks the audience to answer "if they know [the answer]". I don't know if that's him being sarcastic, or if that's simply part of his standard spiel.)

When the results come in (after the suspenseful music!), we get:

A) The Moon 42%

B) The Sun 56%

C) Mars 2%

D) Venus 0%

After a little more pondering, he decides that B will be his "dernier mot" ("final word", or, as we know it, the cliched "Final Answer").

You'd have thought that the guy laughing at you in the audience would be a bad sign. But, even so, he seems a bit surprised when he gets it wrong.

Now, I'm not sure what the saddest part of all this is. I'm going to give the audience the benefit of the doubt and say that they were simply having fun at this guy's expense, so they're off the hook.

That leaves me with two options (excluding of course a general sadness at the state of humanity). There's the fact that this was a high enough valued question that getting it wrong still left him with 1500 Euros. But, I think the saddest part of this is fact that his fiancee didn't seem at all surprised.

And that's mon dernier mot.

No, wait, I've got to add my obligatory Simpsons reference2 :

The nightly news starts a new segment:

Kent Brockman: But first, we all stink!


Kent Brockman: That's according to a national survey ranking Springfield as the least popular city in America.

[cut to Skinner tied to a stake on top of a pyre]

In science, dead last.

Skinner: I'm telling you people, the earth revolves around the sun!

Abe Simpson: Burn him! [lights the pyre]

Reporter: What a story! [takes a photo]

Abe Simpson: [chasing him] You've stolen my soul!

[Updated 2007/02/02: Fixed footnote formatting.]

  1. The Amazing Randi (aka James Randi) is a (first rate) magician and skeptic who got tired of seeing charlatans and frauds passing off magic tricks as paranormal abilities, and taking advantage of the unfortunate people who believed in them. He's done quite a bit of work exposing these fraudsters, and currently runs the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). The JREF offers a million dollar prize to anyone who can demonstrate paranormal abilities under controlled scientific conditions. Shockingly, no one done so. 
  2. Episode 2F31 A Star is Burns 

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