The Millennium ExperienceChronicle of the Future

E$1m riddle for TV viewers

06.02.47: HAROLD WEATHERMAN, the eccentric billionaire who is running as an independent in the upcoming US presidential election, yesterday interrupted a televised debate with Charles Wainwright, the American president, in an amazing publicity stunt.

Weatherman set a riddle and promised to award E$1m each to the first five people to e-mail him the answer.

The riddle was: "What goes black-white, black-white, black-white?" The only condition was that viewers had just two minutes in which to answer. In other words, you had to be watching closely to have any hope of cashing in. This is why there were only two winners and why Weatherman will be keeping the remaining E$3m. Weatherman said he was surprised to have received even two e-mails.

With today's customised televisions, there was, he said, no such thing as mass culture any more. Whereas in the late 20th century, a controversial show on one of the networks could have the nation buzzing, the disappearance of mass programming means that no two Americans watch the same things on the same day. The exceptions are the Blood Games, a weather warning or an important news bulletin.

The televised debate may have reached the smallest audience ever recorded, but news of the practical joke spread through the Internet like wildfire. MF

Answer to riddle: a nun rolling down a hill


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