May 09, 2002
Does Colin Quinn Read Dr. Weevil?

Probably not directly, but compare these two passages:

Dr. Weevil (March 29th):

Does a female martyr get 72 male virgins? (I don't suppose hot Lesbian sex is a likely reward in Islamic Paradise.) And is their virginity also restored every night? If so, then our latest bomber can look forward to an eternity having sex with clumsy and incompetent men who don't know what they're doing, and whose eagerness is likely to be (shall we say) much too eager for her satisfaction -- in short a Groundhog Day of sexual ineptitude. I'm not a woman, but this sounds a lot more like Hell than Heaven to me.

Colin Quinn (date unknown, but apparently recent):

And now they have female suicide bombers. With guys, they get 72 virgins when they die. But what do the women get? Seventy-two guys willing to discuss relationships and look through the J. Crew catalogue with you?

I don't know whether this is from Saturday Night Live's 'Weekend Update' or The Colin Quinn Show or some other show, since the sources do not say. I ran across the quotation on JunkYardBlog (now added to my link list). He gives no link (for shame!), so may have seen it live on television. A Google search led me to TVSpy, whatever that is: the passage is found only in the cached copy.

Of course, the two passages are not all that similar, so why do I think there is a connection? First of all, I should say that my particular academic specialty is textual criticism (mostly of Latin literature), which often involves asking which of two written passages was copied from the other -- a very handy skill for detecting cheating on student essays, by the way. In this case, two points are particularly suggestive. First, female suicide bombers were topical on March 29th, when they were a new and disturbing development in the Palestinian attempt to do a remake of the Holocaust. (Motto: "From 'Never Again' to 'One More Time!'") Now they are almost old hat. Second, I think I know where Quinn would have seen my joke, even if he is totally uninterested in weblogs. We know that celebrities search the web to see what people are saying about them. I can't find the link right now, but one of the blogs in the list to the right recently quoted some Howard Stern staffers as admitting that they are obsessive autogooglers. (Hi, Stern guys! Welcome to my site.) Is it a coincidence that Radley Balko's TheAgitator, one of the very few blogs to quote my little squib, also quotes Colin Quinn on the same archive page? I think not.

Although I have no tip jar, I wonder if the mighty Quinn might wish to send me a small check. What would be fair? Here's my calculation: take Quinn's yearly income from whatever show this was on, then prorate it by dividing the number of seconds it took to deliver the joke by the total number of working seconds per year. That should give a dollar amount with three or four digits, I imagine. To be fair, divide that figure by two, figuring half to me for the original joke, half to Quinn for editing and delivery. Of course I would have to give 10% to Radley Balko and perhaps 10% more to Tim Blair, as finder's fees. I don't know what the final amount would be, but TV salaries are so high that it seems possible that it would be more than I make from a week of teaching.

So what do you think, Mr. Quinn? This is not a rhetorical question. I know you'll read this some time in the next day or two, when you or (more likely) some network intern googles it. Feel free to make use of the comment feature if you have anything to say.

P.S. I'm kidding about the money. I couldn't cash a check made out to 'Dr. Weevil', anyway, since it's not my real name.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at May 09, 2002 10:51 PM