Noy Thrupkaew

Noy Thrupkaew is a Prospect senior correspondent.

Recent Articles

Maxwell's House

Once upon a time, two queens reigned over the land of HomeEcistan: one the hooting, shambling, messy Queen of Light , who demystified the art of French cooking for the home cook, and one the icy Queen of Darkness, who made the simplest of domestic tasks into an impossible, fetishistic, bonsai-pruning nightmare. The two kept a sort of karmic balance, a domestic equilibrium of homey accessibility and unhomey exclusivity -- until early this year, that is, when we lost Julia Child to old age. (Dear God, please provide plenty of butter and nice, tall stoves in heaven to accommodate that 6-foot-2-inch frame.) As for Martha Stewart, she was dethroned in an unsavory insider-trading stock scandal, and now faces time in the least cozy of environments: prison . Who will be next to don the domestic tiara and restore order to the realm? If Brini Maxwell has her way, perhaps the little boy who spent hours in his mother's closets, trying on her pillbox hats and polka-dotted dresses. Maxwell is a...

Forget Fahrenheit

A little advice for the Bush administration: Don't lie to us. That's the one thing, guaranteed, that will bite you in your golf-pants– and Sansabelt-clad behinds. The American public really hates a prevaricator. While we know that thing about George Washington and the cherry tree isn't strictly true, that's a lie about lying that we like, a little piece of apocryphal mythology that, you know, holds up the illusion of a transparent and inclusive democracy. That's a pleasant lie. This other thing that you've cooked up, though, this messy bird's nest you've woven to justify the war on Iraq -- some nice pieces of tinfoil from Ahmad Chalabi, maybe some baby powder for Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations, some yellowcake crumbs, scraps from the smoking ruins of the World Trade Center, a big old tuft from Osama bin Laden's beard to line the whole thing -- well, that's just shameless. Robert Greenwald's latest documentary, Uncovered: The War on Iraq , takes on the administration...

If You Were Me

The past subjunctive "if clause" structure -- mournful, a study in sepia, the fate of the main clause held hostage by an impossible conditional, its hope tethered to a sinking stone. "If I were a rich man…" runs one famous example, "All day long I'd biddy biddy bum." (And who wouldn't?) The problem is, "you use the subjunctive," The American Heritage Book of English Usage says, "to describe an occurrence that you have presupposed to be contrary to fact." The statement "If I were a rich man" tells us that the speaker is, lamentably, not rich. If You Were Me , a film commissioned by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, doesn't bother to follow up with a main clause in its title. Composed of six shorts by leading Korean directors, the movie chooses, instead, to dwell on a supposition that is powerful and perhaps outrageous, especially in these postmodern days: that through film, viewers can see into lives that have been rattled by societal discrimination, lives that may be...

Film: Costume Psychodramas

Is she or isn't she? That is the question stalking Meryl Streep's portrayal of a power-mad senator in The Manchurian Candidate. Is the actress pulling a Hillary or what? In June, Matt Drudge fanned the rumors prior to the film's release, linking to a blogger who claimed that Paramount Pictures had found Streep's “brilliantly scary and evil” rendering of her character too close to Clinton for comfort. As a result, claimed the blogger, the studio had asked director Jonathan Demme to re-edit the film to remove the “more Hillary-esque gestures.” Streep has repeatedly denied that she based her fictional Eleanor Prentiss Shaw on real-life New York Senator Clinton. The true inspiration? The actress watched hours of political talk shows, “anything with Peggy Noonan, Karen Hughes,” she told Entertainment Weekly in April. She also noted that “jewelry is very important as well.” (Shaw constantly fiddles with Barbara Bush–esque pearls as she bulldozes her hapless son into political power.) The...

Victoria's Secrets

Victoria Gotti has the looks of a live-action Barbie -- the peroxide mane, the plasticine figure. She even has the right accessories, including a vulgar house only an eight-year-old girl could love. The star of A&E's new reality series Growing Up Gotti is the princess of a darker sort of tale, however. Daughter of Mafia boss John Gotti, Victoria was mob royalty until her father and ex-husband Carmine Agnello wound up in jail for tax evasion and racketeering (and, in her father's case, murder). Now she makes her living as a celebrity-gossip columnist for Star Magazine , tries to mother the herd of uncouth wildebeests that are her teenage sons, and -- as her new show attests -- peddles the second-degree notoriety that comes from being a real-life Carmela Soprano. As she pads past the baroque flourishes, archways, gazebos, and 42 surveillance cameras that make up The House That Too Much Money and Too Little Taste Built, Gotti sounds mournful. "I live with a ghost," she broods, "the...

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