Take it from a one-time Jeopardy! champion (read: … and one-time Jeopardy! loser): it’s not easy being up under those lights, especially if you’re possessed of the type of – ahem – disposition that tends to characterize most of the show’s contestants. If you’ve made it onto the Jeopardy! stage, you’ve probably got a bit of an ego about your smarts, which adds a huge liability to the game: no one will ever remember any of your correct answers, because they’re expected of you. But if you go all facepalm on national television – no matter how brilliant you may otherwise be – it will live with you for the rest of your life.
I experienced a little bit of this when I lost on the show by whiffing on a Final Jeopardy question that involved the GM bankruptcy, a process that I witnessed the genesis of from within the Bush White House. It was not my finest hour. That’s why I envy Becky Sullivan, who also came up short on Final Jeopardy last week, but did so in the most awesome fashion imaginable:
Now, Sullivan subsequently claimed that she wasn’t throwing shade – “pansy” was just the only flower name she was aware of that could also be used as an epithet. And I believe her … because she’s an NPR producer. I’m guessing if you start dropping “pansy” in the hallways of America’s leading outlet for broadcasting done under the influence of Unisom, you end answering to HR pretty quickly.
Don’t feel too bad for Ms. Sullivan though. She seems to be taking this whole thing in good humor. Moreover, it’s Jeopardy!, which means she walked away with $2,000 for a second-place finish, despite the fact that she ended the game at $0 – which sounds suspiciously like a policy put in place by some liberal pansy.