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The 2011 “Questions to Which the Answer is No” Awards

John Rentoul

Here are my favourite Questions to Which the Answer is No from the past 12 months. In 2011 the series ran from number 473 (“Will Cameron build a new political consensus?”) and has now reached number 746 (“Did Nixon have a gay affair with a Mafia fixer?”).

591. Was JFK killed because of his interest in aliens? Once again, the Conspiracy Theory category was hotly contested, but this one narrowly acquired the biscuit.

marlene 227x300 The 2011 Questions to Which the Answer is No Awards586. Did Marlene Dietrich plot to murder Hitler? Runner-up in the Conspiracy Theory section, also asked by the Daily Mail (pictured).

500. Is Obama Already A War Criminal? Winner in the Loopy But A Bit Slow Anti-War category. Barack Obama had already been President for two years by the time this appeared and therefore had been, by definition, a war criminal for two years.

515. Is Cameron leading us to a Big Society gay wedding in Westminster Abbey? Asked by Norman Tebbit, this is the winner in The Answer Is No But We Wish It Were Yes category.

484. Do We Have Ahmadinejad All Wrong? With a fine full-form supplementary question: “Is it possible that Iran’s blustering president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, long thought to be a leading force behind some of Iran’s most hard-line and repressive policies, is actually a reformer whose attempts to liberalize, secularize, and even ‘Persianize’ Iran have been repeatedly stymied by the country’s more conservative factions?” A sneaky winner of this year’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Cup.

555. Are US government microwave mind-control tests causing TV presenters’ brains to melt down? Winner of the Daily Mail Classic Chase, even if the newspaper did not have the courage to put it in the print edition, publishing it on the internet only.

521. Can your dreams predict the future? Runner-up in the Daily Mail Classic Chase. The headline was on a report of a book entitled, Paranormality: Why We See What Isn’t There.

532. Is the Japanese earthquake the latest natural disaster to have been caused by a ’supermoon’? Bad Taste Special Prize.

539 & 540. Was all alien life sucked into a black hole after ‘white dwarf hypernova’ star explosion… and could it wipe us out too? Winner of the Double Idiocy Special Effort Merit Star.

541. Is John Rentoul a closet Tory? Runner-up in the Smart Alec category, asked by Daniel Hannan, the Conservative Euro-MP.

578. Is Sunday school the root of all evil? The Richard Dawkins Ecclesiastical Prize.

711. Has Western capitalism failed? Winner of the Guardian-Compass Wishful Non-Materialist Trophy (a model yurt made of goat poo). Runner-up: 635. The end of consumerism?

penguin1 139x300 The 2011 Questions to Which the Answer is No Awards672. Is this penguin a communist? Winner of the Non-Sequitur Award, with special commendation for the photo (right).

Finally, two bonus awards this year:

N-1. The End of History? Winner in the Great Historical Questions section. I was delighted to discover that the title of Francis Fukuyama’s 1989 essay had a question mark at the end and was therefore an early contribution to my series.

Finally, because it is asked every week by Jan Moir in the Daily Mail, let us reprise number 163: Are you thinking what she’s thinking? Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The 2010 awards are here. Keep the nominations coming in. The hashtag on Twitter is #QTWTAIN, pronounced “kuh-twain”. Because I say so.

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  • DanielNSmith

    Very funny; anybody who reads The Daily Mail should be chemically subdued.

  • DrXym

    They should be enrolled into a scientific study to detect and isolate the bigotry gene.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=607612544 David Scott

     how prejudiced ! … have you ever read it or are you just basing your view on second-hand reportage?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QH4NYKYBMOX7GASMNJJK3IMGPY Judy

    Yes, we have a cancer machine, and we aim it at everyone we don’t like!

  • EttrickShepherd

    I do read the Mail from time to time (when I see someone else’s copy – I’d never pay for such a rag) – and it always confirms what a disgusting organ it is within the first 2 or 3 articles. Even by just looking at the headlines you can tell how awful it is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Timothy-David-Cruise/1032524787 Timothy David Cruise

    David’s reply has a subtle illocutionary purpose; it is implicitly a defense of the Daily Mail. if Daniel was right, it doesn’t matter whether he’s read it.

  • wizzywig

    It must be running 24/7 then

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002989210089 Jonathan Biggins

    #747: Was this article worth reading?

  • http://www.noisekiller.co.uk/ Noisekiller

    Disagree with Mr Biggins (Christopher in disguise) – a very funny article if only to highlight the stupidity of Daily Mail readers

  • DanielNSmith

    Don’t be an idiot – the Daily Mail is the most right wing people hating paper there is; if you read it, you too must be a right wing people hating idiot too.


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