In Jeopardy with John W. Campbell

Ben Bova listed the people he credits for helping him make it as a professional writer in an article for the Naples News:

No writer stands alone. We all owe our success, such as it is, to those who taught us, inspired us, helped us understand and persevere.

Editor John W. Campbell figures prominently in that list. Bova sold him several stories before meeting him face-to-face at a Worldcon in Washington, D.C. After shaking his hand, Campbell provocatively said: “This is 1963. No democracy has ever lasted longer than 50 years, so this is obviously the last year of America’s democracy.”

Bova dredged his memory to come up with the Jeopardy!-style question that matched Campbell’s bold declaration. And he guessed right. Can you? Click the link to check your answer.

[Thanks to David Klaus for the link.]

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6 thoughts on “In Jeopardy with John W. Campbell

  1. I know the answer, but I’ll admit it is mostly because I’ve heard Ben tell the story. He may also have related it in his Worldcon GoH Speech.

  2. I believe Bova has it slightly wrong. Before 1913, states COULD have Senators elected by popular vote, if only by the workaround of having the state legislature rubberstamp the results of popular vote. After 1913, they were required to elect Senators by popular vote.

  3. Goodman is correct that a few states used that workaround, but that does not make Bova even slightly wrong. Prior to the Amendment, legislative appointment was the only regular election procedure, and the workaround was only possible because there was no restriction on the legislature binding itself to a popular referendum. But there was no enforcement mechanism to make them do so, save legislators’ fear of the voters’ future wrath. The way it worked was legislative candidates would sign pledges to follow the referendum, rather like the “no tax increase” pledges of today. And we know how well _that_ works.

  4. Also, fan/photographer Christine Valada has been on Jeopardy this week, she won on Monday and Tuesday’s games.

  5. And Wednesday. Over $56,000 so far; she really came up from behind last night, too. Big suspense tonight if she can do it again. Also, Trebek said something about revealing tonight where the money was going.

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