brucekluger.com

    The Los Angeles Times, January 17, 2003

    Commentary
    Whoever Dies With the Most Fabulous Prizes Wins

    By Bruce Kluger and David Slavin


    [Game show music; audience
    applauding wildly]

    HOST: Hello, viewers. Welcome
    back to Let's Make a War! If
    you're just tuning in, our
    contestant, George, from
    Crawford, Texas, is about to
    choose from three spectacular
    grand prizes, each one hidden
    behind a door on our stage.
    Ready, George?

    GEORGE: Sure as shootin'.

    HOST: OK, I'll tell you a little bit about what's behind each door, and you decide
    which one you want. But remember, George, you have to keep whatever you get.
    Here we go.

    Door Number One: This package promises a full-scale war with a rabid Middle
    Eastern nation whose maniacal leader has been the splinter in the foot of American
    presidents for more than a decade. Should you take the prize, you may succeed in
    toppling this mustachioed madman and turn his vast oil fields into your own
    personal Sunoco station. But beware: You may end up in the quicksand, ultimately
    spending billions of your nation's dollars just to annex a barren wasteland whose
    citizens can't stand you....

    GEORGE: Gee, I wonder what my dad would do in a situation like this.

    HOST: Oooh, sorry, George, he had his chance. Now, it's up to you!

    GEORGE: Um, tell me about Door Number Two.

    HOST: OK! Behind Door Number Two is a tense confrontation with an isolated,
    belligerent nation on an Asian peninsula that in recent months has confessed to
    scheming to build a nuclear stockpile capable of flattening the Earth like a scallion
    pancake. Take the prize and you could save the world from a jumpsuited,
    pompadoured crackpot dictator. On the other hand, you may end up lighting the
    fuse yourself, leading us all to the great big boom!

    GEORGE: Whoa, this is a tough one. Let me ask you a question: When you say
    nuclear weapons, is that the same thing as "nuke-you- lar"?

    HOST: Judges?

    [A bell rings.]

    HOST: Same thing! Now what will it be?

    GEORGE: Maybe I better take a gander at Door Number Three.

    HOST: All right. Door Number Three is your continuing crusade to capture a
    notorious terrorist and dismantle his network of evildoers. Choose this door and
    you could rid the world of a real and dangerous villain. But should you fail, your
    nation may turn to someone else to do the job in 2004. So, George, which door will
    it be?

    GEORGE: Can I phone a friend?

    HOST: Wrong show, but for you, George, sure.

    GEORGE [into phone]: Dick? Hi, it's me. Are you watching? (Pause) Yeah, thanks.
    Laura picked out the tie. So ... what should I do? (Pause) Really? What does Karl
    think? (Pause) Okey-dokey. [He hangs up.]

    HOST: So, George, it's the moment of truth. Let's Make a War! Will it be ... Door
    Number One, Door Number Two or Door Number Three?

    GEORGE: I think ... I'm going ... to take ... 'em all!

    [Audience erupts in cheers.]

    HOST: He's taking all three! What a champ!

    [Theme music begins again; credits roll.]

    HOST: Well, folks, that's all the time we have for "Let's Make a War!" Join us next
    week ... if there is a next week.