Burroughs Adding Machine

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

WaPo’s Book Nerd on the NBA

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I was at a conference in Denver earlier this year, and brought one of my old college friends to the keynote by Michael Chabon. He’s a high school history teacher, one of the smartest guys I know, and, most importantly, a person interested in literature.

Chabon was his usual entertaining self: waxing poetic on the business of publishing, sharing secrets about his hipster-comic book-literary successes. At one point, he even cracked a joke about loving Proust–at which the audience of approximately one thousand writers laughed.

It was at this point that my friend leaned in and whispered to me, “Book nerds.”

Okay, I admit it. I’ve even blogged and lamented about our short attention society in the past. Lucky for me, Ron Charles, the book critic for The Washington Post, is also a book nerd. Here, he attempts to infuse a run-down of the nominees for this year’s National Book Award with his dorky, low-fi comedy. His joke about viewers confusing the NBA (National Book Awards) with the NBA (the multimillion dollar sport) certainly falls flat.

Though Charles doesn’t always succeed, I love his enthusiasm. Hell, how can one book nerd criticize another?

Advertisements

Filed under: books, culture, literature, , , , , , ,

The Power of Two Men Kissing

What’s in a kiss? How does a photograph of a gay couple kissing differ from written text of the same image?

The Washington Post‘s ombudsman, Andrew Alexander, responded to reader criticism (and subscription cancellations) over a recent front-page photograph of a couple kissing. That the kiss was photographed and published was not the issue; that the kiss involved a same-sex couple was.

Alexander likens the response from outraged Post readers to public anger when photos showed blacks mixing with whites. He defends the Post’s publication of the photograph as a mirror of societal change:

Did the Post go too far? Of course not. The photo deserved to be in newspaper and on its Web site, and it warranted front-page display.

News photos capture reality. And the prominent display reflects the historic significance of what was occurring. The recent D.C. Council decision to approve same-sex marriage was the culmination of a decades-long gay rights fight for equality. Same-sex marriage is now legal in the District. The photo of Ames and Ariga kissing simply showed joy that would be exhibited by any couple planning to wed – especially a couple who previously had been denied the legal right to marry.

More than two dozen readers cancelled their subscriptions. Reasons varied from outright vitriol (one angry caller said: “That kind of stuff makes normal people want to throw up. People have kids who are being exposed to this crap. I will be glad when your rag goes out of business. Real men marry women.”) to the wish to relegate coverage of gay rights to the inner pages of the paper.

Wrote Lee Miller of Columbia: “I would appreciate it if your cover pictures would not be so disturbing where my kids can see it easily on the kitchen table… please don’t shove this “Gay” business in our face. This is something that should have shown up on an inside page or two (without the picture).”

I’m often troubled when arguments of what’s good for children are raised. Two people in healthy relationships expressing their love are depicted in the media constantly–as long as it’s a man and a woman. There’s a double standard–and, as the philosopher Martha Nussbaum recently wrote, a literal disgust–when the two people in love are of the same sex. We can’t stomach the notion of gay sex, and for many, this is what is implied with the image of a kiss.

Though the Washington Post‘s photo generated vocal response, it’s somewhat heartening to know that the end result was only a few cancelled subscriptions. As Alexander notes, there is a societal change happening in perceptions of gay marriage. The newspaper’s reportage of this change, in which LGBT lives are more accepted both in D.C. and on a national level, is valid and unbiased.

Filed under: gay rights, media, , , , ,

Publications

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)
November 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Twitter

Error: Please make sure the Twitter account is public.

Visitor Map

Locations of Site Visitors

RSS Recent Posts from Towleroad

  • NEW MUSIC: Morrissey – ‘Low In High School’
    Morrissey – Low In High School It’s hard work being a Morrissey fan. From the early heady days of his solo career when the first tour was worthy of an MTV special to the genius first few albums (apart from Kill Uncle obviously), right up to 200… Read The post NEW MUSIC: Morrissey – ‘Low In High School’ appeared first on Towleroad.
  • Margaret Court, Mariah Carey, Armie Hammer, Todrick Hall, Michelangelo Signorile, GOP Tax Plan: HOT LINKS
    GOP TAX PLAN. Orrin Hatch explodes after Sherrod Brown says tax plan is for the rich: “I’ve been here working my whole stinking career for people who don’t have a chance,” Hatch said. “And I really resent anybody who says I’m just doing t… Read The post Margaret Court, Mariah Carey, Armie Hammer, Todrick Hall, Michelangelo Signorile, GOP Tax Plan: HOT LINKS […]
  • Jared Kushner Failed to Disclose Wikileaks Emails, Details About Russian Contacts to Senate Investigators
    Jared Kushner has held information back from the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning Wikileaks and Russian invitations and Senators Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein are demanding it, the Washington Post reports: In the letter, Grassley and Feins… Read The post Jared Kushner Failed to Disclose Wikileaks Emails, Details About Russian Contacts to Senate In […]
  • Owners of ‘F**K Trump’ Truck Have Been Identified, and are Speaking Out
    Fuck Trump Photo After a Fort Bend County sheriff expressed concern via Facebook about potential conflicts stemming from a truck’s offensive sticker about President Trump, the owners of the truck are speaking out. In the since removed Facebook post,… Read The post Owners of ‘F**K Trump’ Truck Have Been Identified, and are Speaking Out appeared first on Towle […]
  • Kevin Spacey, Elephant Trophies, Tax Bill, Prince Harry, Tom Hardy, Leonardo da Vinci, Coldplay: HOT LINKS
    TAX BILL. House passes rewrite of tax code in 227-205 vote: “Attention now turns to the Senate, which was grappling on Thursday with another setback after a congressional analysis found that their revised tax bill would actually raise taxes on… Read The post Kevin Spacey, Elephant Trophies, Tax Bill, Prince Harry, Tom Hardy, Leonardo da Vinci, Coldplay: HOT […]

Polls

RSS Breaking News from The Daily Beast

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Pics from Africa 2010

About Me

https://rsiasoco.wordpress.com/about/

About Me

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

Top Posts

Top Clicks

  • None

Categories