If you are ever going to be a famous writer like me, you have to have an oeuvre. An oeuvre is a French word with vowels strewn so capriciously that it dares you to misspell it, the point being -- as it is with most things French -- to demonstrate that you are an unsophisticated dimwit. My oeuvre is being a smartass.

I was pretty confident that I held the Greater Washington area franchise on this particular oeuvre until recently, when people began fawning over a blog called Wonkette.com. Wonkette.com features snide observations about Washingtoniana by someone named Ana Marie Cox, who is young and hip and free to use the kind of language that Washington Post writers are prohibited even to think. This whole thing bothered me, but just a little -- the way the dinosaurs might have been bothered, just a little, by that first hint of a nip in the air.

I decided the best way to confront this was to cordially invite Ms. Wonkette to lunch, and murder her. But I would be the obvious suspect. So instead, I invited her to have a smartass duel, in this column. Considering her reputation, her answer surprised and shamed me: "Shouldn't we team up to use our powers for good?"

An excellent point. So we decided to duel by assassinating other, deserving people. The questions were written by my editor.

1. Complete this sentence: Watching John Kerry attempt to convincingly demonstrate warmth and/or decisiveness is like . . .

Wonkette: . . . is like watching George Bush attempt to convincingly demonstrate intellectual curiosity and/or self-doubt. On just the warmth note, it's like watching your parents try to dance to the Black Eyed Peas. As for decisiveness, well, um, er, who among us has not groped fruitlessly for a metaphor that might somehow convey the indistinct future and the ramifications of the multitude of options available to every man, woman and child in America?

Me: . . . is like watching that actor who plays Niles Crane on "Frasier" attempt to convincingly demonstrate that he actually lusts after Daphne.

2. What is the nicest truthful thing that can be said about President Bush?

Wonkette: Um, that he'd probably be fun to party with?

Me: You know that clueless, squinty-eyed constipated look he gets when he's just a second or two away from blasting out something really stupid, like, "I want to spread our love all over the face of the Iraqi people"? Well, it's the same clueless, squinty-eyed constipated look that Gary Coleman used to get just before he said, "Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" Everybody loves Gary Coleman!

3. Complete this sentence: I am not saying that Paris Hilton is entirely without talent. For example, I could imagine her succeeding quite nicely at . . .

Wonkette: . . . sucking a golf ball through a lawn hose.

Me: . . . solving the Junior Jumble{reg}.


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4. What aspect of the presidential campaign gives you the most hope for America?

Wonkette: John Edwards's hair.

Me: Whether we wind up with a vacillating, brooding, visionless, pompous careerist or a reckless, feckless, brainless arsonist guarding a powder keg, the Constitution protects us from placing in the White House a certain breast-grabbing, narcissistic, homophobic, Nixon-worshiping, Teutonic, crypto-fascist action hero.

5. Complete this sentence: America is the bestest country in the whole wide world because . . .

Wonkette: . . . someone pays me to mock people for saying things like that.

Me: . . . you can pick up a newspaper any day and find something entertaining, such as that California has just now made it illegal to have sex with a corpse.

6. List the three core beliefs that define your worldview.

Wonkette: 1. It's okay to ruin someone's day, but not someone's life.

2. It doesn't hurt if you're gentle.

3. It's always 5 o'clock somewhere.

Me: 1. When people are in grief, they need to cry. When people are in fear, they need to laugh.

2. I don't care what anyone says, no one can hear a thought balloon, which is why "Garfield" sucks.

3. Do not disrespect the elderly, because someday you, too, will be a wheezing, cantankerous, flatulent old has-been. I'm talking to you, Wonkette.

Gene Weingarten's e-mail address is weingarten@washpost.com. Chat with him online Tuesdays at noon at www.washingtonpost.com.