Episode 79 with Matt Ortile, Keen Observer, Masterful Editor, and Profound and Witty Writer of The Groom Will Keep His Name

14Sep

Episode Notes and Links for Episode 79 with Matt Ortile 

 

In this episode, Pete speaks with Matt Ortile about, among other things, his upbringing in Manila and the United States, his relationship with language and identity, his writing and reading journeys, and themes around queer identity, colonization and the colonized, and writing as “catharsis,” as illustrated in his stellar essay collection. 

 

Matt Ortile is the author of the essay collection The Groom Will Keep His Name. The Groom Will Keep His Name is an essay collection about sex, power, and the myths of American society. BuzzFeed called the book “witty and insightful.” Oprah said it’s one of many queer books that are “changing the literary landscape in 2020.”

Matt is also the managing editor of Catapult magazine, and a contributing writer at Condé Nast Traveler. Previously, he was the founding editor of BuzzFeed Philippines. He is a MacDowell Fellow and has written for Vogue, Self, Out, Into, and BuzzFeed News, among others. He is a graduate of Vassar College, which means he now lives in Brooklyn.

 

Buy The Groom Will Keep His Name: And Other Vows I've Made About Race, Resistance, and Romance

 

Matt Ortile's Personal Website

 

“Why I Ended a Perfectly Fine Relationship” from Buzzfeed, 2014

At about 1:50, Matt answers Pete’s questions regarding the Vassar/Simpsons’ connections 

 

At about 3:00, Matt talks about growing up with both English and Tagalog (and a little  in his Manila hometown and its connections to Filipino history and the effects of colonialism

 

At about 5:40, Matt talks about his childhood reading fare, including the importance of the Harry Potter series in both his time in the Philippines and the US, and the shift to reading nonfiction/memoir with David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs

 

At about 8:15, Matt talks about the draw of David Sedaris and his work

 

At about 10:55, Pete asks Matt about “representation” in what he read growing up

 

At about 13:00, Pete asks Matt about fiction that has thrilled him

 

At about 14:30, Matt shouts out Mia Alvar and the work she does that resonates with him 

 

At about 16:00, Matt talks about the expectations that come with art that is touted as representing a certain group

 

At about 19:00, Pete asks Matt if Tagalog specifically has informed his writing in English 

 

At about 22:45, Matt discusses “ ‘Eureka’ moments,” especially when his work was recognized through a lot of traffic for a Buzzfeed article connecting his own relationship with a Barthes piece 

 

At about 27:20, Pete wonders what it’s like for Matt to “put himself out there” in writing honestly about his life and the people in it, and this leads Matt to talk craft and about writers succeeding when they stop keeping readers at “arms length” 

 

At about 31:30, Matt talks about his mother’s beautiful legacy and how he found the balance between their shared lives by asking her to read any page in the book where she was mentioned, pre-publication

 

At about 34:25, Matt responds to Pete asking about the experience being “cathartic” or emotionally cleansing 

 

At about 40:00, Matt talks about the idea of memory and how his book is a part of him and his mom and others, at a certain time, memorialized 

 

At about 41:15, Matt and Pete discuss the bookend stories of Matt’s collection 

 

At about 41:45, Matt explains his personal usage and larger communities’ usage of “queer” and its connection to the fluidity of identity 

 

At about 44:15, Matt talks about the “Americana” and decolonization and colonial attitudes of the Philippines

 

At about 45:15, Matt expands upon his reference to the Romans “weapon[izing] oblivion” and its implications, including “erasure” with regards to American colonization and Filipino history

 

At about 48:00, Matt talks about questions of identity for him and others who are Filipino or Filipino-American

 

At about 51:30, Pete references an ignorant comment from one of Matt’s teacher regarding his English proficiency, as described in his book

 

At about 52:00, Matt talks about the concept of kapwa, in the context of community and safety and family

 

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I’m excited to share my next episode with Dave Zirin, The Nation’s sports editor, is the author of ten books on the politics of sports, most recently, The Kaepernick Effect: Taking a Knee, Changing the World. Named one of UTNE Reader’s “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World,” Zirin is a frequent guest on ESPN, MSNBC, and Democracy Now! He also hosts The Nation’s Edge of Sports podcast. The episode will be published on September 21. I hope you can tune in.

 

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