Burroughs Adding Machine

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

The Inherent Tension in Spelling Bees

In a little more than an hour, the new spelling bee champion will be crowned. The Scripps National Spelling Bee has been streaming live on ESPN since yesterday, and will commence on ABC tonight.

There’s something unbelievably compelling and tension-filled about spelling bees. Still unbelievable to me that something so arcane and academic in nature draws such a wide audience. Mainstream media outlets like Slate have shed light on the predominance of Indian American spellers, who often participate in a kind of minor-league spelling bee circuit. Gawker, on the other hand, contrasts this year’s crop of spellers with the sudden-death wackiness of last year’s batch of homeschooled spellers.

If you’re like me, you can’t wait to see these kids spelling for their lives (pardon the appropriation, RuPaul).

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About Me

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

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