Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Sue Sylvester to the Gays: “Swish It Up A Bit”

The glee villainess discusses her confusion over Doogie Howser’s sexuality and medical credentials. “Why nowadays, Sneaky Gays are everywhere–at the church, at the mall, picking up their meticulously dressed, fastidious children at day care,” she says. “Why you could be sitting next to a Sneaky Gay right now and not even know it.”

Who’s getting excited for a new season of singing high school kids?


Filed under: music, television, , , , ,

Kafka Was a Secretary

And Faulkner was the head of his local post office.

Adjusted for inflation, the salaries for Kafka and Faulkner were $40,000 and $18,000, respectively. Puts the importance of writers having a day job in perspective.

I like this nifty little chart from Lapham’s Quarterly for several reasons. First, it’s got a tongue-in-cheek tone, not taking itself too seriously (“Occupational Hazards” for the man who captured existentialism in the form of a cockroach?: “Tedious memoranda, bureaucracy”). I’m also impressed with the variety of writers captured: canonical writers like Trollope and Fielding; Charlotte Bronte’s salary and responsibilities as a glorified nanny; and, of course, Kafka in his modernist profession.

Another reason I like this chart is its premise: Very few writers earn their living merely off writing. A good number of us in 2010 teach writing, some writers I know earn their paychecks in publishing or arts administration, and the wise ones, in my opinion, earn their living outside academia or the arts altogether. For years, a good friend of mine earned his living in Brooklyn as a carpenter–and a fine one at that. I’ve half-heartedly joked with friends that I planned to become a baker, relishing the solitude and actual product of this work. Show up for a hard day’s work (unrelated to writing) and then arrive home with a clear head (unmuddled or exhausted by writing shop-talk).

It’s eye-opening for some of my aspiring writers to adjust their mindsets and envision that that writer’s life–even after attaining a level of success like publishing novels–does not adequately pay the bills.

Kafka was a secretary. Bronte was a nanny. And Faulkner was a postmaster (supposedly a poor one–drinking and lazing–at that). Who’s to say that writing and fortune belong in the same breath?

Filed under: work, writing, , , , , , , ,

New GOP Poll Screams Obama-Nation

Republican ire towards Obama has reached a whole new level of hysteria. In a new Harris poll, the numbers reveal that among the GOP:

  • 67 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Americans overall) believe that Obama is a socialist.
  • 57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim
  • 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was “not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president”
  • 38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is “doing many of the things that Hitler did”
  • Scariest of all, 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama “may be the Antichrist.”

John Avlon cites these statistics today in The Daily Beast, linking this new level of public hysteria about the President to an intentional campaign of fear and hate. We need only look to recent outbursts from the right (e.g. GOP congressmen yelling “Baby killer!” and “You lie!”) within government spaces predicated on decorum and dialogue–to reinforce the scope of the GOP’s widespread antics.

As Avlon so persuasively notes:

It demonstrates the cost of the campaign of fear and hate that has been pumped up in the service of hyper-partisanship over the past 15 months. We are playing with dynamite by demonizing our president and dividing the United States in the process. What might be good for ratings is bad for the country.

According to the Harris poll, to be realeased in full tomorrow, those with less education are more likely to be duped by conspiracy theories that President Obama was not born in the U.S., is Muslim, or setting the country on a path to socialism. It makes one question how much of these wrong-headed, intententionally perpetuated, theories are driven by racism more than dissent.

Also frightening are Avlon’s notes on what this mean for the future:

The “Hatriot” belief that Obama is a “domestic enemy” as set forth in the Constitution is also widely held—a sign of trouble yet to come. It’s the same claim made by Marine Lance Corporal Kody Brittingham in his letter of intent to assassinate the President Obama.

Brittingham’s assassination attempt, as well as the infamous Twitter death threats by Jay Martin, heighten the importance of calling attention to these very incorrect modes of thought.

I am solidly for affirming the right to civil disobedience and dissent. But how do we address the GOP’s shameful turn from disobedience and dissent to the troubling ideologies of armed rebellion and fear?

Filed under: hate, obama, politics, , , , , , , , , ,

Women’s Rights, Rape Awareness, and A Request for Michelle Obama

It may be common knowledge that rape is a tool of war: creating fear among citizens, degrading and demoralizing women (and their loved ones).

How do we fight this shameful injustice? Shed light on the ways rape continues in so many nations unpunished and ignored? Bring awareness to women’s inequality outside the U.S.?

During the recent “Women in the World” conference, Ghanaian activist Leymah Gbowee made a simple proposition to First Lady Michelle Obama: call together the first ladies of 10 African nations to discuss women’s rights.

At the First Lady’s invitation, they would “come running.”

Filed under: africa, global justice, women, , , , , ,

President Obama: “Your Voice has Been Heard”

President Barack Obama addressed the nation after the House passed health care reform last night.

“We didn’t give in to mistrust or cynicism of fear,” the President said, looking directly into the camera. “Instead, we proved that we are still a people capable of big things.”

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and senior staff, react in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, as the House passes the health care reform bill, March 21, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Good for small businesses, for the current uninsured, for Americans who have been denied health care for pre-existing conditions. The end game of political analyses, ramifications, and Twittering may come quickly, but the positive outcomes will have a long-lasting effect.

As the President says: “This is what change looks like.”

Filed under: health, obama, politics, , , ,



» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
March 2010
« Feb   Apr »


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About Me


About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More