Burroughs Adding Machine

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

The Boys of Glee

Happy Thanksgiving Eve (or, as I sometimes say if I’m in a particularly sour mood, Happy National Day of Mourning). For the break, I’ve been indulging in TV, and it’s been heartening to watch glee of late; they’ve toned down the celebrity tributes to Britney Spears and Rocky Horror (though I did love reminiscing about midnight showings of Rocky at the Omaha shopping mall).

This week’s story of Kurt’s anti-gay bullying–and his support network of family and Glee Club members–was timely and entertaining. Where it could have taken a wrong turn into after-school special zone, glee creator Ryan Murphy managed to bring to the fictional story a sense of community responsibility. Hell, even Sue Sylvester stuck up for the bullied teen.

Seems like Season Two is turning out to be focused on Kurt. Next week, after his transfer to the private boys’ school Dalton Academy, he participates in a version of “Hey Soul Sister” with his gay mentor, played by Darren Criss. Looking forward to it. My dirty little secret: I’ll probably always be a sucker for everything musical theater.

Filed under: entertainment, music, television, , , , , , , , ,

Another Example of Fox as Infotainment, Not Journalism

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Fox News host Brian Kilmeade sums up his philosophy–not an impartial one, to say the least–that “there was a certain group of people that attacked us on 9/11. It wasn’t just one person, it was one religion. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.”

One wonders if, in Kilmeade’s one-sided view of terrorism, he includes men like Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the Oklahoma City bombers.

President Obama has derided Fox News’ lack of impartial journalism, calling it “destructive.” Kilmeade, O’Reilly, and Glenn Beck are all shucksters–far-right politicos masquerading as journalists.

In terms of infotainment, Fox News can’t be beat.

Filed under: entertainment, media, obama, , , ,

Banksy Critiques The Simpsons

Powerhouse political artist/activist Banksy reimagined the iconic intro to The Simpsons last night. The clip starts innocuously enough, the idiot bullies lopping the head off a Springfield statue and rodents running across the landscape.

However, at the end of the intro, when Homer is pushed through the Simpsons’ garage into the family room, the ordinary tableau of the animated family in front of the TV abruptly shifts to a dark critique of commercialization: animators pushing out animated stills, factory-like; Simpsons dolls stuffed with rat guts; and a deflated unicorn (absurd and heartbreaking at the same time) being abused by a worker producing empty entertainment.

Nice to see that the creators of The Simpsons are once unafraid to critique the structures they work within.

Filed under: culture, entertainment, pop culture, television, , , , ,

Are You Happy?

I’m back in the States, upset stomach and all. Thrilled to be back with Guy and my dog. How has your July/August/(if you live in Boston) rain-drenched summer been?

Not quite up to speed in the posting department, but here’s a nifty flow chart with some sound advice. [via @Core77]

Filed under: culture, entertainment, , ,

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).

Filed under: culture, education, entertainment, , , , , , ,

Writing

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "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)
February 2017
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Mao and Du Bois

Inside W.E.B. DuBois' library

Commemorating the great pan-African writer

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

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