PAPERBOY: ‘Every Time You Don’t Read A PW Cover Story Another Cute Little Hamster Dies’ Edition

BY AMY Z. QUINN We know how it is: so many words to read, so little time to surf for free porn. That’s why every week, PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you, freeing up valuable nanoseconds that can now be better spent ‘roughing up the suspect’ over at Suicide Girls or what have you. Every Thursday we pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey caramel center of each edition. Why? Because we like you.


CITY PAPER: So like, I’ve been reading Duane Swierczynski’s last book, The Blonde, about “the Mary Kates,” thesecp_2007-11-15.jpg little nano-somethings injected into the Hero’s bloodstream, that can make your brain go all fuzzy and then explode, leaving you with blood dripping from your eyes and ears, right? It’s a bit how you might feel after reading Doron Taussig’ cover story, The Prodigy, about adolescent math whiz Sheng Kai Dong, who was thriving in a Chinatown charter school and by all accounts headed for a future far from the takeout joint at which his parents slaved. American Dream time, right?

Except whoops! the kid’s father came to the U.S. illegally, a fact that didn’t seem to bother the government when it was collecting the taxes generated by his business but suddenly became of vital importance after Dad had a fender-bender with a car driven by an off-duty cop.
You know what’s next:

Now, [the father] was awaiting deportation at the immigration detention facility in York, Pa., and while he did, the life he’d worked so hard to build for his family was falling apart.

The restaurant couldn’t run without Yong Zhong, and for the first few days after the accident, Sheng Kai stayed home from school, working the cash register and mopping the floors. His mother was unable to abide the irony of her son taking his father’s place — Yong Zhong had tolerated the restaurant only to provide for his children — and sent him back to school. But there, he was “useless,” in the words of one of his teachers. He still worked in the restaurant at night, and came in exhausted and missing homework.

Long story short, Sheng Kai the math whiz, his mom and his baby sister had to quit Philadelphia for New York City, where they’re living with relatives while they wait to find out what comes next. This is one of those stories that the Lou Dobbs crowd will look at and go, “Well, of course these are the kind illegal aliens we’re talking about, these people are OK.” Which makes it all the more infuriating.
This is where my brain starts going fuzzy.

PHILADELPHIA WEEKLY: Awww, who’s a cute wittle cover story? That’s right, YOU are, schmoopie, so c’mere, pw__x00114pw.jpglemme scratch your belly. You are the cutest, oh yes you are, Oh. Yes. You. Are! Not you, Wells. I really enjoyed this cover package, though I’m not sure what it has to do with the holidays and/or gift giving. And I’m really wondering why the cover art has Linny The Guinea Pig (from The Wonder Pets!, for you non-breeders) wearing forelocks and playing dreidel? Who even knew she was Jewish!

Anyway, the cover package brings the cute, and the cupcakes, which is OK with me, and more cute doggy talk than you can shake a chew-toy at. Also, Alli Katz’s gift-buying guides for twentysomethings (unless your great-aunt could use a hunk of clay) and Steven Wells comparing PETA to the Nazis:

What if PETA changed its name to Aw Schnookums? Would we forget they’re a bunch of oh-so-punchable human-hating assholes who put out ads comparing chicken farming to the Holocaust? And just go “Aw!” And give them money that would be better spent getting humans out of cages and feeding starving children rather than funding ad campaigns whose sole purpose is to make smug bourgeois tofu munchers feel morally superior to folks who actually go out and try and make a difference in the world, like Michael Moore?

Actually, probably not. Cute is powerful, but it’s not omnipotent. If Adolf Hitler had been born Trixie Cuddlepaws, most folks would still have figured him out for a rotter in the long run.

Is it just me, or is the whole “And now, a word from our token acid-tongued Englishman, who will be purposely contrary” routine unbearably cute, like he’s an auxiliary character in a sitcom? No? It’s just me? Uh, OK.


CP: The city’s 911 really is a joke, and a deadly one at that; Phanatic’s blue cousin makes crazy happy fun time for Japanese baseball team! And while I usually limit this space to pieces which appeared in the print version of the paper, I must direct your attention to Brian Hickey’s Clog posts about the death penalty for cop killers and the comments section, which is almost as scarily bizarre in a Smerconishy kind of way.

PW: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s Alec Ounsworth, who looks to be a totally warm and fuzzy interview subject; the all-DMac issue continues with the best line all week about the Santorum Inky column. Spaghetti arms! Photo gallery tells the tale of a ballroom dance program in the city schools — the story’s good too!

WINNER: Still tallying the votes…please standby

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