Survey Says!

On November 29, 2010 by Eden M. Kennedy

The other night a friend and I were talking about how in the seventies we grew up with what seems like a far greater awareness of cultural events that took place before we were born than kids do now. Maybe it was because we only had six TV channels (and one TV) so we either had to watch what the adults were watching or go outside and blow something up, whereas now kids have far more control over what the media can embed in their skulls. It’s a trade-off: Jackson can gleefully ambush me in Call of Duty, but he has no idea who Andy Rooney is. And maybe that’s okay, maybe in the long run it’s more useful cultural currency for him to know more about gaming than a grumpy old man who laments the disappearance of typewriter ribbon, but it does concern me a little. I want him to find all kinds of things interesting, not just the stuff that’s targeted to his demographic. If you’re beginning to suspect this means I’m going to force him to watch Ethel Merman movies all through the holiday break YOU WOULD BE CORRECT.

Out of curiosity, I whipped up a quick survey for us all. See how you do!


Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.


  1. Jack Paar hosted the Tonight Show (74% responded correctly)
  2. Elizabeth Taylor did not marry Charles Nelson Reilly (72.7%)
  3. David Sedaris is the only one who does not host a show on public radio, and I apologize for how awkwardly that question was worded (11% think he does host a show, though)
  4. Beppo was not a Marx brother (29% got that correct, 62% believe it was Gummo who wasn’t a Marx brother! More on Gummo here.)
  5. You want to buy the world a Coke (97% of you do, anyway)
  6. All of those authors committed suicide (59% got that)
  7. 69% of respondents were under 40, 31% 40 and older (like me)



43 Responses to “Survey Says!”

  • Hmm. I didn’t watch enough TV?

  • Yep, I’m over 40 and I’m pretty sure I nailed it. That’s what comes from actually talking with my grandparents, I think. Also their Time-Life Books “This Fabulous Century” series. I read them all.

  • How do I see my results? I need to know how terribly I did!!

    Yeah, I’ll admit it, I’m over forty. The fact that I haven’t lived in a house with a television since 1981 probably isn’t relevant to my failure in this particular quiz.

  • Hmm, that seems to be a drawback to Surveymonkey, they don’t make the results public. I’ll update with that info later after we get a decent amount of participants.

  • I tried not to make it too TV-dependent, there are movie and radio and book questions in there, too! No world events, that’s for another survey.

  • I think I did pretty well, but I can’t see my results. I just see a page asking me to sign up for the service.

  • I’ll be interested to see what the results are. I’m over 40 and I knew every one.

  • Under 40, but I think I did okay. It was mainly the authors who committed suicide that threw me. Mostly because I hadn’t heard of a few of them. The ones I had heard of, I wasn’t entirely sure of the method of their departure from the mortal coil.

  • Charles Nelson Reilly is my dream man, realities be damned.
    *insert theme song to The Match Game here*

  • Pretty sure I didn’t get any of them right! (I’m 29).

  • I am 33 and I am pretty sure I aced it. I however grew up without running water and electricity and only watched public television and the news (oh, and some soaps, which is why I know that Victor is still a bad guy) when I was at my grandparents house.

  • I didn’t do as badly as my 14 year old would have, but I didn’t do well.

  • Killed it! But I am extremely over 40, so that’s the name of that tune!

  • There’s much more variety in the current generation’s grandparents’ radio/tv/literary history than in the radio/tv/literary history of your grandparents, too. And, as you said, much more in their current set of choices so that they really never have to come in contact with much out of their Disney/Nick/Cartoon Network sources.

    I’m under 40 and probably missed a few. I do tend to know more about older movies and about literature than about radio shows, since that’s where my own interest lies.

  • I’m 25, and I’m pretty sure I failed it miserably.

    My partner (who’s 30) and I have spent some time discussing the recent history knowledge problem. For example: because I was four when the Berlin Wall fell, people assume I have some memory of it. I didn’t even know anything about it until college, when I asked an older friend who is from Berlin. Because I was alive when it happened, none of the adults around me and none of my teachers felt it necessary to inform me of any of it.

    Same thing with the Gulf War — I have no freaking clue what any of that was about, or even really when it started and ended. My only memory is of my mom getting up early to watch the news.

  • That was a disaster… I may have gotten one right purely by accident. (I’m 25.)

  • I am 47 and I think I only did mediocre. We’ll see or we won’t. Very unique survey.

  • I did terribly. I’m 35 but British – I couldn’t give an honest, “I definitely know the answer to this one” answer to a single question. I blame cultural differences rather than age. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

  • I’m with Alicey on this one – I’m 41 and British and I’m not confident about any of my answers (the authors who committed suicide,
    for example, I know a few of them did, but haven’t even heard of the others, so don’t know). I’d be interested to do a British
    equivalent of this – I’m sure I’d ace it! There’s not much about 1970s British TV I don’t know or couldn’t guess…
    As for today’s generation, I’m trying to instill certain cultural references (read: mine) into my daughters, so they are quite happy to
    listen to Lloyd Cole, watch Grease, read Magic Roundabout albums… whilst still watching High School Musical.
    That said, we don’t own anything resembling an iPod, a Wii, an iPad or whatever (just one mobile phone that makes phone calls and not
    much else), have never done anything MP3, listened to a Podcast… total Luddites in the making, I fear. The girls have never even
    played on a PlayStation or DS…

  • I only knew a couple of those! (under 40)

    BUT. Unlike someone over 40, ALL of us under 40 know the power of Google and could easily find these answers ;-P

  • Wait–why can’t I find a link to the survey? I feel like everyone else is in the secret club and you’re all pointing at me and snickering. I’m well over 40 and quite confident I will kick this survey monkey’s hairy butt. Let me at it! What are you afraid of?

    Also, the typewriter ribbon has disappeared?

  • 22 here, and I knew all of them for sure except for the ones about authors committing suicide.

  • My take on it is that we (the newly 40-somethings) are getting to that age where the events of our childhood/youth are fairly distant and there are now grown-ups running around who were not born when things like the Berlin Wall fell. And so, when these people proclaim ignorance of such events, our first reaction is to worry about the kids these days; but the real reason we’re fretting is the increasing awareness of our own mortality and obsolescence that all this brings about.

    That is my opinion. I totally nailed the survey.

  • Well, I know I missed the Jack Paar one, but I got all the rest. Not too bad for 32!

  • damn. i did this on my iPod and didn’t realize the npr question was checkboxes – i thought it was a toggle, like the rest. here i just thought it was a trick question.

  • This vaguely calls to mind the original edition of Trivial Pursuit, where if you didn’t know the answer, you could just guess Ronald Reagan, Marilyn Monroe, or Mickey Mouse — it was bound to be one of them.

  • Got an A on that test, but I’m >40. As for Andy Rooney… well… I did a bad thing:
    I think it’d be just fine if Jackson stayed in the dark about Andy Rooney.

  • With Youtube, there’s no reason your child can’t know everything about everything. At least if it’s been on television. Our poor sons have grown up with all sorts of stupid 70s and 80s catchphrases from TV and 80s music galore — and now with youtube, they can actually see how totally stupid it is that we gave them that knowledge.

    They asked while watching “Meatballs,” Why did people force you to wear shorts like that? Haha, their time will come when their form-fitting short shorts wearing children will ask why they were forced to wear such large ill-fitting pants.

  • At 34, I feel pretty good about my answers. Except the authors. I knew 2 suicides for sure and hadn’t heard of several. I can remember falling asleep to All Things Considered. Now I listen to “NPR Most Emailed Stories” and “This American Life” podcasts in my car.

    I’ll be honest though, I get most of my historical information (Liz Taylor is in that category) from the Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers and my current news from the local radio guy, the CNN radio that is on just before him, and TVGuide Online. And I watch too much TV.

  • 34 here and feel confident about all but the author one…knew most of the authors listed, but a few I had no clue on. I grew up an only child and only grandchild, so I was surrounded by adults–pretty much making me a mini-adult through most of my childhood. I’ve always been interested in what’s going on culturally around me though–I’m the one you want on your trivial pursuit team as I am full of random information/facts (thank you BA in History ;)

  • I’m under 40 and I think I did pretty okay! But I had older siblings at home, and they are both over 40. Yay seventies!

  • I just turned 50 and I knew them all. Ok there had to be some benefit to getting old.

  • i really wanted liz to marry uncle croc.

    don’t feel too bad about jackson. convo with my 22 year old son last night, at the tale end of 60 Minutes:

    “who’s that old fuck?”

    “it’s andy rooney!”

  • I’m 31 and British so I think that puts me at a distinct disadvantage. I got Jack Paar but I’ve only heard of him thanks to a song in Little Shop of Horrors.

  • Missed the David Sedaris one, but other than that, got’em all. Because I’m a tail-end baby boomer overachiever, apparently.

    And Charles Nelson Reilly was totally cool. Btw, he survived the Hartford Circus Fire when he was 13 and reportedly never sat in an audience again.

  • Yyyeah. I was that kid outside blowing things up and setting them on fire. Sometimes in the reverse order. Hey, it was sorta legal in those days! Sorta.

  • I got #1 and #4 wrong. I probably know more about past events then current events. I just can’t keep up.

  • I aced it! But I’m 42 and have a lot of knowledge that isn’t very useful.
    I have missed Fussy! You are in my favorites on the big computer that’s been on sick leave for months and I had forgotten about you. (Sorry. Won’t happen again.) Here I’ve been just facebooking on the laptop. Which of course, is a huge waste of time. You’re funny Mrs. Kennedy. In a very good way.

  • I’m 39 and I got all of them right except for Gummo, but I don’t feel bad because it’s a stupid name. Even for a Marx brother.

  • I’m late to the game, but I only got the Beppo one incorrect. And I SWEAR I didn’t look at the answers first. I’m just good at trivia in general; I think. I like surveys! More!

  • 6 channels? Why when I was a boy….we only had THREE channels and we liked it! Then of course they invented UHF and we got channel 61 and 49 but that was well after my ‘boy’hood…..

Trackbacks & Pings