Thursday, September 29, 2005

Spelling bees are this week's cowboy boots-in-summer

The Thursday Styles fails to correctly identify the beginning of one of those hipster trends the paper periodically likes to discover:

The new focus on bees began in 2000 with the publication of Myla Goldberg's widely read novel, "Bee Season." It continued with the release in 2002 of "Spellbound," the Academy Award-nominated documentary, and in April the acclaimed musical "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" transferred to Broadway. On Oct. 2 there will be a one-night-only "adult performance" with mature material and politically incorrect humor. Perhaps the last time that spelling bees received this much attention was in 1992, when Vice President Dan Quayle added an "e" to "potato" during a bee at Luis Munoz-Rivera Elementary School in Trenton.

Not quite. The bee revival can be traced back to one bee winner who was a classmate of mine in high school. In 1997, in what would have been her eighth grade (she was homeschooled before high school) Rebecca Sealfon won the national bee, and her enthusiasm and eccentricities put her on, among others, the Rosie O'Donnell show and inspired a character on South Park--homeschooled spelling bee participant Rebecca, to whom Kyle sings a love song. Rebecca became something of a cult figure, just the sort whose image would transend dorkiness to gain a hipster following. I'm just saying...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

too true. too true. and what is truly amazing about rebecca is that she still is, to most eveyone who meets her, spelling-bee girl. test this theory out: meet a person who has recently gone to princeton, ask them if they know spelling-bee girl. their eyes will light up with recognition (or fear). that grrl is cra-capital Z.

Petey said...

"and inspired a character on South Park --homeschooled spelling bee participant Rebecca, to whom Kyle sings a love song."

You're really quite good looking, Rebecca.

Andrew Nelson said...

This is great i think rebecca is great. Since you went to highschool with her what is she like?