Ken's first book is titled Brainiac , and lest you think the title immodest or an infringement upon long-standing DC Comics trademarks , it also bears the unwieldy subtitle Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs. In the wake of his record-breaking Jeopardy! He spent the next year criss-crossing the country, trading questions and answers with America's most die-hard trivia subcultures. Brainiac traces that journey, from the slightly soused trivia faithful of Boston's Irish pubs to the hotshots and hotheads of the academic quiz bowl circuit, from a weekend quiz marathon spent with the radio-trivia-mad residents of tiny Stevens Point, Wisconsin, to a backstage peek at Ken's six-month streak on America's top-rated quiz show. Ken also tells, for the first time, the year story of the rise of trivia, from the coffeehouses of 17th-century London to the Trivial Pursuit and Who Wants To Be a Millionaire fads of recent years.
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Like many Jeopardy! I never really rooted for him, nor against him. As I have for years, even long before my own appearance on the show when I routinely taped yes, taped , on a VCR the episodes, I time-shift my viewing not only to skip the commercials, but also to bypass the contestant introductions and chats.
This enables me to view a full three episodes in an hour, and makes the show all about the trivia, and not the trappings. Besides, the contestants are really just a never-ending series of interchangeable trivia geeks.
Myself included. And Ken was certainly no exception. And he was so damn good at it, and yet so overtly milquetoast, that it seemed the only way to make him interesting was to believe he was some sort of replicant, or android. So while it was fun to see his streak continue on the basis of witnessing quiz-show history, both of those facts—his persona and his prowess—made it awfully hard to root for him.
Some of his replies were snarfing-coffee-out-the-nose funny. And somewhere in there he mentioned his blog , which I found contains much more of the same. WatsonsBitch: Bruce Vilanch is hiding under my desk right now. Earl and I decide to spend the day visiting as many trivia players as possible, and so we pore over a list of all registered teams. The narrative is excellent; through the course of the book Ken takes us through his complete Jeopardy! Meanwhile, Ken takes us on a journey through trivia.
The scandals of the s, and the birth of College Quiz Bowl in the s. The amazing surge of trivia popularity in the s, fueled by the blockbuster sales of Trivial Pursuit. The bar-trivia NTN network, a. Buzztime, and the annual temporary insanity of Stevens Point which, by the way, begins tomorrow evening.
And much more. Without overreaching, he explains how trivia is a pervasive and positive force in modern life, its most obvious benefit being the way in which it brings people together. On his website, Ken Jennings is hawking copies of Brainiac , which he offers to autograph and personalize, and still sell at a steep discount off the cover price. History of the Delta Launch Vehicle. A Brief History of East Lansing. Blues Brothers Filming Locations. A Boolean argument was expected. There are no clear-cut, black-and-white, Manichaean dichotomies here.
Just a whole lot of shades of grey. Home About this site. Share this: Twitter Facebook. Kevin S. Forsyth Categories: From the armchair. Comments 0 Trackbacks 0 Leave a comment Trackback. No comments yet. No trackbacks yet. Name required. E-Mail will not be published required. Subscribe to comments feed. Top kevinforsyth. Forsyth except as otherwise noted. No re-use without written permission and attribution.
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Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs
I guess now is that point. I got a copy from the library that just happened to be large print but whatever and took it on vacation with me. It worked out perfectly that I finished it when I was waiting at the airport for my ride to pick me up and take me home. One day back in , Ken Jennings and his college buddy Earl did what hundreds of thousands of people had done before: they auditioned for Jeopardy!