The Daily Beast News Test: 10 Questions on the Newsmakers of 2011

From Sarah Palin's take on Paul Revere to Jerry Sandusky's awkward interview, 2011 was a year to remember. But do you? Try your luck with Michael Tomasky's 10 questions.

12.31.11 9:45 AM ET

How closely did you pay attention in 2011? Below, a brief and opinionated quiz on some of the year’s noteworthy events and personalities. It starts out pretty easy and then gets harder. Good luck, and happy 2012.

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 18:  (L-R) U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), former CEO of Godfather's Pizza Herman Cain, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) participate in a Republican presidential debate on October 18, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Seven GOP contenders are taking part in the debate, which is sponsored by the Western Republican Leadership Conference in Las Vegas and held in the Venetian Hotel's Sands Expo and Convention Center.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

a. “Corporations are people, my friend...of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People's pockets. Human beings, my friend.”
b. “The LensCrafters of big abortion.”
c. “They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it’s illegal.”
d. "Life can be a challenge. Life can seem impossible. It's never easy when there's so much on the line. But you and I can make a difference. There's a mission just for you and me....Just look inside and you will find just what you can do."
e. “Our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas.”

Herman Cain
Rick Perry
Mitt Romney
Newt Gingrich
Michele Bachmann

2. On the subject of quotes, Sarah Palin held her own this year. She started the year with the famously self-pitying “blood libel” remark after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting tragedy in January. Then, in June, in her version of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, revere: 2

a. “Rode through town singin’ 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' and all the great patriotic numbers, you know, of those days.”
b.  “Warned, uh, the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh, by ringin’ those bells...”
c. “Handed out those, uh, pamphlets, which were like the newspapers of their day, and he of course read all of ’em...”

July 1994, Tokyo, Japan --- Soccer Ball on the Grass --- Image by © Michael S. Yamashita/CORBIS

Michael S. Yamashita / Corbis

a. Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound
b. Kate Middleton’s family’s home
c. One of the alleged “Kardarshian sweatshops” in China

4. Where was Muammar Gaddafi found on Oct. 20? 4

a. In the basement of a safe house in Misrata, watching Duck Soup, one of his favorites, on DVD
b. In a private office on the outskirts of Tripoli, calmly reading Condoleezza Rice’s memoir
c. In a drainage pipe in Sirte

28 Jun 2004, San Francisco, United States --- Apple Computer's CEO Steve Jobs stands off stage watching guests demonstrate new applications for Macs OSX during his keynote at the World Wide Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California --- Image by © John G.Mabanglo/epa/Corbis

John G.Mabanglo, EPA / Corbis

a. Its employee tuition-reimbursement program
b. Its philanthropy program
c. Its program to distribute deeply discounted computers to all schoolchildren in Santa Clara County

HAY-ON-WYE, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 30: Author and Journalist Christopher Hitchens poses for a portrait at The Hay Festival on May 30, 2010 in Hay-on-Wye, Wales. The Annual Hay Festival of Literature & Arts is held in Hay-on-Wye from May 27-June 6.  (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Christopher Hitchens

David Levenson / Getty Images

a. Defending Noam Chomsky from false allegations that he was supportive of Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson
b. Defending the rights of Holocaust revisionist David Irving
c. Defending the proposition that Anne Frank’s diary was a forgery

8. Rank these four films in order of their 2011 box-office gross. 8

a. The Descendants
b. Midnight in Paris
c. Moneyball
d. The Ides of March

Passengers disembark from the Washington state ferry Puyallup on its arrival on Bainbridge Island, Wash., Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011. The Washington state ferry service isn't going to start turning away hefty passengers, but it has had to reduce the capacity of the nation's largest ferry system because people have been packing on the pounds. Coast Guard vessel stability rules that took effect nationwide Dec. 1 raised the estimated weight of the average adult passenger to 185 pounds from the previous 160 pounds, based on population information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

a. It acknowledged the tech needs of the people by announcing that by 2014, all ferries would be equipped with at least 100 fully outfitted workstations.
b. It acknowledged political correctness by announcing that the fleet’s vessels that carry the names of local Native American tribes would soon be renamed “for reasons of sensitivity.”
c. It acknowledged the obesity problem by announcing that, for the purposes of figuring out how many passengers could board each ship, it would henceforth assume that each human weighed 185 pounds, not 160 pounds as had been the case for years.

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10. Which of the following Google searches returns the most results? 10

a. Obama Kenya
b. Obama socialist
c. Obama fascist

Not too hard, really. Let’s look at the answers.


1: a, Romney; b, Bachmann; c, Gingrich; d, Cain; e, Perry; 2-b; 3-a; 4-c; 5-b; 6-b; 7-c; 8: Moneyball, Midnight in Paris, The Ides of March, The Descendants; 9-c; 10-a.


1. The Romney comment was to a heckler in Iowa; Bachmann was speaking of Planned Parenthood; Gingrich, of course, about turning children into janitors; the Cain remark was from the famous Pokémon speech; and the Perry snippet from the worst political ad of all time .

2. Here’s the video. Ring a bell?

3. This was a total gimme, but had you heard about this Kardashian allegation?

4. I love my B fake answer, but here’s the proof on C.

5. A genius, OK, but he was really sort of a bad man, wasn’t he?

6. This one is like the famous 18-minute Watergate gap. It’ll go down as history’s most famous 17 anything. You can see it here.

7. This essay by Hitch, from Grand Street in 1985, on the Faurisson affair, is really when the guy was firing on all cylinders. How many of you got this one wrong?

8. These results are according to Box Office Mojo as of Dec. 30. Moneyball ranked 42nd with $74 million. Midnight in Paris 53rd with $56 million. Ides of March 67th with $40 million. And The Descendants 84th with $36 million. I’ve only seen The Descendants. It was brilliant. It’s surely the best of the four, because Moneyball seems pretty glitzy, Woody Allen has stunk for 25 years, and I don’t know anyone who found Ides watchable.

9. This was just in the news the other day, so I thought you might have heard it.

10. My results were: Kenya, 48.4 million; socialist, 26.2 million; fascist, 10.1 million. The one having to do with race is the one that sticks. Shocking, I know.

Here’s hoping against hope for a better 2012. Happy New Year to all.