Noy Thrupkaew

Noy Thrupkaew is a Prospect senior correspondent.

Recent Articles

Camera Obscure

Maggie Kuhn is demonstrating her "Gray Panther growl" -- the signature move of an activist group that has challenged the mandatory retirement age, protested negative media portrayals of the elderly and, in general, encouraged senior citizens to make a ruckus. The indomitable founder of the group stretches out her hands. Bent with arthritis, they quiver like seaweed. "Compassionate hands," she says. But her warm gesture is coupled with a stuck-out tongue. "Cry out against injustice," she exhorts the crowd in front of her, which responds with enthusiastic screams. Kuhn is the star of a new documentary, Maggie Growls , which recently opened the inaugural season of the PBS and Independent Television Service series, Independent Lens . ( Maggie Growls aired this past Tuesday at 10 p.m.) Focused on the quirky, the heroic and the communal, the series' first few documentaries vary in subject matter from Kuhn's activism to the offbeat world of the song-poem industry. But while they aim to shed...

Double Vision

Mahatma Gandhi has had a hard time of it lately. Lad mag Maxim recently featured illustrations of the revered activist being beaten up by an oversized jock -- choice images for the magazine's "Kick-Ass Workout" feature. "Teach those pacifists a lesson about aggression," exhorted the copy, as Gandhi was hoisted, stomped on and thrown around. Mayhem ensued when Maxim received more than 5,000 complaints, prompting the magazine to issue an apology defending its "edgy sense of humor, laced with irony." Those who have read Maxim might find that last defense particularly funny: Any magazine that treats gadgetry and women's erogenous zones with the same button-mashing enthusiasm has no sense of irony. And according to at least 150 Indian hunger-striking protesters last week, Gandhi has suffered yet another indignity. MTV's new animated series Clone High USA showcases a teenage, attention deficit disorder-addled Gandhi clone who loves partying and eating junk food. The trouble is, the South...

Ladies First

With all its talk of getting down to the basics, it was only a matter of time until Survivor tried the boys-against-girls tactic. In recent years, the reality-show franchise has gone beyond its original premise and trotted out a whole new set of tricks to keep both viewers and contestants off-kilter. Instead of having two teams whittle themselves down to one skinny $1 million winner, Survivor creator Mark Burnett has tried tinkering with three teams, team swapping and other variations on his show's evil themes of backstabbing, celebrity whoring and really bad indigestion. But there is something diabolically simple -- and potentially very entertaining -- about this latest incarnation, Survivor: The Amazon . Much of the entertainment factor is provided by the men's team. According to Entertainment Weekly 's Dalton Ross, one of the menfolk, model-actor Ryan Aiken, waited exactly 8 seconds before breaking out the term "sausage party" to describe his group. Butch Lockley, a middle-school...

Greek Orthodox

Nia, the heroine of the new CBS series My Big Fat Greek Life , is gabbing at an airport luggage carousel. She just came back from her honeymoon; she's Greek and she married -- gasp! -- a non-Greek guy. Her crazy family freaked out, of course, but now everything is OK. "Yeah," she says to the hapless guy she's cornered while waiting for her luggage, "it would make a good movie." That story did indeed make a movie, although it was perhaps more popular than it was good. My Big Fat Greek Wedding was a big fat fairy tale, and the way it got made was just Disney dreamy. Actress and producer Rita Wilson happened to watch Greek-American comedian Nia Vardalos doing a bit in Los Angeles about Vardolos' insane family and the ruckus its members raised when she fell in love with a non-Greek. Wilson made her husband, Tom Hanks, attend a performance. They loved it so much they gave Vardalos $5 million to make a movie based on her one-woman show. Armed with the cash, Vardalos was able to fend off...

Open Mic

Jay Leno and David Letterman should take lessons from one of the newer talk-show hosts on the block: Isaac Mizrahi. The garrulous fashion designer has been chatting up celebrities on the TV channel Oxygen for nearly three seasons now (new episodes start next week), and with his artfully disheveled hair and artless charm, he has a real way with getting stars to talk about, well, anything. And do anything -- that may be part of the trick. The star of the 1994 documentary Unzipped , Mizrahi is in constant, fluttery motion -- kvetching, quipping, slobbering over his dog -- and The Isaac Mizrahi Show has the same delightfully hyperactive quality as its host. "Talk is better when you're doing something," he says in the intro to his show. And so his celebrity guests come over to the all-white studio and they do things: Rosie O'Donnell gets a haircut, Natalie Portman helps him wash his dog, Tammy Faye Bakker gives makeup tips. The distractions provide entertainment value and seem to put his...

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