This Week's Guest: Mandel Ilagen
This week's guest is Mandel Ilagen, but it's not the first time his name's come up on the show. He's a ringleader of a group of gays who are obsessed with game shows -- you might remember past guests Louis Virtel and Randy West describing Mandel's house parties that are like TV show tapings mixed with cocktails and queens. Game shows might seem like frivolous entertainment, but for Mandel and many of his friends, they provided a way to prove themselves amongst their peers -- and, for the first time in their lives, have fun doing it.
This Week's Recommendation: Ferdinand the Bull
For my recommendation this week, take a look at the children's book The Story of Ferdinand. This was a pivotal text for me as a child, and after reviewing it for this week's episode, I found that it still is. It's the story of a gentle bull who prefers smelling flowers over fighting, and what happens he must confront the world's expectations about who he's supposed to be.
Looking back on this book, I wonder just how much it shaped my sense of right and wrong to this day. I know that I read it a lot as a child. It is a truly beautiful work that has filled me with joy since before I could read -- in part because the telling of the tale is as gentle as the main character. There's no judgement, no mockery, and no tragic end for the bull who just wants to live life on his own terms.
Ultimately, the story leaves Ferdinand in a place of incredible bliss: not having proven himself, and yet still completely satisfied -- because his failure to measure of up other people's expectations is their problem, not his.
Clips of Stuff We Talked About
Parisian Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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