Monday, June 13, 2005

Bingo antics

Here's a story of interest from the Washington Post. I'll add my own bingo adventures after:

Harvard students put their education to good use Wednesday in a rousing game of Tim Russert bingo during the "Meet the Press" moderator's Class Day speech.
Graduating seniors Max Brodsky and David Ferris told National Public Radio's Melissa Block that they had read that Russert uses at each graduation ceremony a modified version of his commencement speech about making the world a better place. The duo looked up the text, printed up bingo cards with key Russert phrases in each square and passed out the cards to 50 classmates before the event.
"We told people to mark off the square that [a particular phrase] was in," Brodsky said. "If they get five in a row, they can shout out, 'bingo!' And people did." The end note, "You have only 2,300 weeks before you'll be eligible for Social Security," was also used by Russert last month at American University.
Russert told The Post yesterday that he didn't hear about the game until the next day. "Nobody on the stage was aware of it," he said. The news anchor admits that the "basic theme" of his speeches are the same and says, "I think there is a virtue in consistency."
(end Post excerpt)
As much fun as the bingo players may have had at Harvard, it would have been more fun for other college students if the bingo had remained a private joke that trailed Russert's speeches.
Now Russert is aware of it. He can rewrite his speech -- or confront the gag directly by handing out the bingo cards himself.
You think I'm kidding? Awhile back, the TV critics press tour had its own brand of bingo, from a card containing cliches mouthed repeatedly by network executives and stars at press conferences. To make it especially challenging, once you finished a row on the card, you didn't just have to say ''bingo.'' You had to put the word in a question during the press conference. A colleague actually did it, and quite artfully.
But word of the game spread. The Washington Post reported on it. And here's how Diane Werts of Newsday described what happened next: ''CBS actually had bingo cards printed up for us with all the banalties nicely laid out and typeset in red and purple. Which, of course, took the fun out of the game completely.''
I don't think Russert bingo will be fun anymore, either.

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