Orr, Stanley

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    "I Wonder Which of You is Real": The Indigenous Confidence Man in John Kneubuhl's "The Night of the Two-Legged Buffalo"
    ( 2021-11-02) Orr, Stanley
    In response to Judith Yaross Lee’s introduction of a framework designed to probe the relationship between empire and American humor, this article analyzes John Kneubuhl’s “The Night of the Two-Legged Buffalo,” a 1966 episode of The Wild Wild West (1965-69). Kneubuhl (1920-92) was a Samoan American playwright who wrote for theater, television, and film. Like Mark Twain, he demonstrated a lifelong interest in the trope of the confidence man. In “The Night of the Two-Legged Buffalo” he depicts protagonists and antagonists alike in the US borderlands as con artists contending for power. While agents Jim West and Artemus Gordon emerge as cultural impersonators who serve the ideology of Manifest Destiny, the Prince of the South Sea Coral Islands, a Polynesian aristocrat, deploys American hegemony in Oceania. Kneubuhl draws on conventions of the fale aitu, a Samoan theatrical genre, as well as his association with Sam Amalu, a Native Hawaiian humorist and con man known for his elaborate pranks and swindles. As a site of contest between what Lee terms “neocolonial hybridity” and “postcolonial discontinuity,” “The Night of the Two-Legged Buffalo” exemplifies Kneubuhl’s unique trickster aesthetics.
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    Mysteries of Oahu: Local Detective Fiction in the Composition Classroom
    (McFarland & Company, 2009) Orr, Stanley
    The question of appropriate subject matter has always vexed composition instruction. Even as many have argued for the transformative power of reading literary texts in the writing classroom, critics warn that such material may dominate the course and impair the focus on basic skills. Still others champion mass and popular culture as the best way to engage student writers; as Marjorie Smelstor and Carol Weiher have it, “There is no shortage of discussion or complaints that T don’t know what to write about’ when popular culture is the vehicle for teaching composition” (42). Smelstor and Weiher suggest attention to popular genres such as the detective story, as do other commentators such as Veleda Boyd and Marilyn Robitaille. At least one instructor, Robert Georgalas, describes a composition course that revolves entirely “around authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett and others.” In teaching several sections of the “Writing Skills” course at the University of Hawa’i, West Oahu, I find that a tandem emphasis upon mystery and local setting successfully engages composition students in a variety of majors. Heeding the caveat that literary and/or mass cultural subject matter may “take over the course” (Tate 305), I seek to provide a learning experience directed to writing skills that traverse a range of academic disciplines.
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    Darkly Perfect World: Colonial Adventure, Postmodernism, and American Noir
    (The Ohio State University Press, 2010) Orr, Stanley
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