Noy Thrupkaew

Noy Thrupkaew is a Prospect senior correspondent.

Recent Articles

George Lopez's Hopes:

I t's not easy breaking into TV. Especially if you're not white. As Comedian George Lopez joked to USA Today, there are "more pets in prime-time TV than Latinos." He may very well be right. According to the 2000 Census, Latinos make up 12.5 percent of the U.S. population. In the world of TV, however, they only account for 4.8 percent, according to the Screen Actors Guild . Depressingly enough, this fact is an improvement over the past. Two years ago, advocacy groups for people of color staged protests over the lack of TV diversity, resulting in some positive casting changes throughout the industry. A whole slew of sitcoms with casts of color flourish on UPN . Damon Wayans has broken into ABC with his sitcom My Wife & Kids . Bernie Mac is drawing viewers of all colors to Fox with his The Bernie Mac Show. And PBS's American Family features a Latino household. But despite these gains, the pressure on sitcoms featuring casts of color is still enormous. And unfortunately, ABC's new The...

Scold Move:

C ulture has been corroding young minds and horrifying parents ever since Mozart wrote Le Nozze di Figaro , complete with a randy count and a who's-yo-mama subplot. More recent examples might include Elvis and his hips, or Madonna and, well, herself. It's an old, old story. But some people can't seem to stop telling it. A case in point is news commentator/professional old coot Bill O'Reilly's interview of shock rocker Marilyn Manson for the recent O'Reilly special, " The Corruption of the American Child ." Marilyn Manson is so 1999. Yawn. The show on the evils of pop culture ran on Fox, the same network that has brought viewers such wholesome classics as Celebrity Boxing , Glutton Bowl , and Temptation Island . I first saw a commercial for O'Reilly's special while watching Greg the Bunny , a Fox show that features adorable, fuzzy puppets swearing, farting in their bathwater, and staggering around drunk. The irony of airing his moralistic special on dirty ol' Fox was clearly lost upon...

Tom Green's Defeat:

T om Green is a guilty, hazardous-to-the-health pleasure, much like Easy Cheese, WWF SmackDown! , and casseroles topped with crushed potato chips. A random white Canadian guy, Green made a TV career for himself by playing pranks on unsuspecting citizens and embarrassing himself in public. What is amazing is that he got paid to do this for several years on MTV, until the ADD generation got tired of his antics. What's more amazing is that people stuck with him that long. I laughed until I cried watching The Tom Green Show -- when he painted his long-suffering parents' house plaid, or made his hungover best friend do trapeze tricks, or pretended to fellate a cow's teat. Tom Green is a bad person. I am worse for laughing. Green has a disturbing yet disarming on-screen persona. He screams suddenly, plays up his bulging eyes and slack mouth, and has a Rain Man-esque habit of repeating phrases over and over again: "Thisisadildo, thisisadildo, adildothisis?" You can't help but think that...

Free Byrd:

P resident Bush showed up empty-handed in Mexico last week, having failed to fulfill last year's promise to President Vicente Fox that the United States would work toward less punitive treatment of Mexican immigrants. It wasn't for lack of trying. Despite pressuring lawmakers to permit certain illegal immigrants to remain in the United States while applying for green cards, Bush was thwarted by an unexpected Democratic foe, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. And though Byrd's rhetoric suggested he was concerned with security in the post-9/11 world, his actions have led to speculation about more unsavory motives. The measure in question passed the Republican-controlled House as part of a border-security package, but scheduling conflicts and Byrd's opposition have kept it locked up in the Senate. Beyond its homeland-security provisions, the bill would allow illegal immigrants married to a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident -- or who work for a U.S. employer -- to pay a $1,000...

The Myth of the Model Minority

M ali Keo fled Cambodia with her husband and four children in 1992. Several years later, she was still haunted by searing memories of "the killing fields," the forced-labor camps where millions of Cambodians died, victims of Communist despot Pol Pot's quest for a perfect agrarian society. Because of the brutal beatings she suffered at the hands of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge, she was still wracked with physical pain as well. Traumatized and ailing, uneducated, unskilled, and speaking very little English, Mali Keo (a pseudonym assigned by researchers) could barely support her children after her husband abandoned the family. And now she may not even have public assistance to fall back on, because the 1996 welfare-reform act cut off most federal benefits to immigrants and subsequent amendments have not entirely restored them. In what was supposed to be the land of her salvation, Mali Keo today is severely impoverished. Living in a hard-pressed neighborhood of Philadelphia, she struggles with...

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