Remember that mourning process nearly everyone in America went through last year, when the publication of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman revealed a darker, more bigoted side to the Atticus Finch who’d stood for half a century as the principled hero of To Kill a Mockingbird?
I’m sorry to bring it up; I know the wound is still rather fresh. But you’re likely to undergo this sort of grief at some point in your reading career anyway. It was just that, thanks to the longtime popularity of Atticus and the stunning recharacterization in Lee’s newly published book, this might just be the only instance we all went through it at exactly the same time.
Take, for example, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s series Little House on the Prairie. If you loved these books growing up, chances are you’re in for a quietly rude awakening one day, as Laura June wrote at The Awl in 2014.
Perhaps it’s because we live in a time when, thanks in part to social media, protests of racial oppression and microaggressions have become pervasive and ongoing. A time when we’re all learning to consider our prejudices and our careless words. Perhaps it’s just because many of us read long-established children’s classics when we were too young to register that there was anything offensive about them.
But when you pick up a once-beloved childhood classic to read to your own little ones (or, what the hey, just because you’re feeling nostalgic), often you’ll find a less pure and admirable little world than the one you remembered.
Like many little girls who loved Ingalls Wilder, I read the books as empowering tales of a bold, determined girl who refused to be constrained by convention. Tomboy Laura, to a ’90s child, seemed confident, smart, and a worthy role model, with her tousled hair and muddy skirts.
The rich detail about the Ingalls family’s ways of survival in the late 1800s — the intricacies of cabin-building and head-cheese-making, maple-candy-making and farming — fed into a child’s romanticized idea of what living off the land would be. (Hint: I thought it would be fun.) In large part, I loved the books for the same reason I loved My Side of the Mountain and The Swiss Family Robinson; the actual modern conveniences that surrounded me seemed dull compared to the imagined thrill of sleeping in a hollowed-out tree with a lamp made out of fat in a turtle shell.
The longer a book is read and treasured past its publication date, the more likely it is to outlast its cultural context and outstay its welcome.
Such romantic visions of life as it once was, especially as articulated by white people, tend to have some problems. Think of the morally questionable popularity of plantation weddings and antebellum style, which harken back to a society in which wealthy whites lived a life of luxury supported by the backbreaking enforced labor of enslaved black workers. Those Southern-rose visions can be edited to remove the slavery that made it all possible, but the existence of that nostalgia rests on the existence of the atrocity.
The pioneers, too, are a romantic vision. The triumph of the human will over innumerable perils, stalwart pursuit of westward progress. Except, of course, that this romantic vision also rests on the back of something far less pretty: the systemic enforced migration and genocide of American Indian peoples who lived all over the continent.
As Pa, Ma, Mary and Laura struggled to survive in the face of relatively unbroken wilderness, pressing deeper and deeper into uncharted territory every few years, they were part of a movement that was displacing the people who lived there. Ma’s hatred toward the Native Americans they encounter is more shocking to read as an adult, but Pa’s forbearance toward them, his explanations to Laura of their culture and humanity, ring slightly false coming from someone participating in their displacement. (The Ingalls family actually homesteaded on the Osage Indian reservation in Kansas, though they did eventually leave when requested by the government; their time in Kansas formed the basis for Little House on the Prairie.)
The overall picture the books paint of the American Indian people isn’t overtly hateful, but of its time: distorted, stereotyped, and placed through a lens of white people’s best interests and wants. Given the seeming moral balance provided by fearful Ma and magnanimous Pa in the books, it’s strange to reread the books as an adult and suddenly see that this balance is all out of whack. The simple tales of a little pioneer girl running free through the big woods don’t look innocent anymore, and it’s more disturbing to realize that it’s so insidious, there was a time that it did seem innocent and fairly drawn.
All those books I couldn’t wait to share with my own (hypothetical) daughter one day, starting with Little House on the Prairie, seem suspect now, like time bombs that have yet to go off. Is Anne of Green Gables riddled with hate? What about Little Women? Even looking at these books no longer appeals in the same pure way — and I definitely don’t think I’ll casually pluck Little House off the shelf to read aloud to my own little ones.
Maybe Laura Ingalls Wilder and her beloved children’s books won’t stay on the classics shelves forever, but it’s the fact that they were there at all that allowed readers like myself this painful revelation. The longer a book is read and treasured past its publication date, the more likely it is to outlast its cultural context and outstay its welcome. The Little House books bring a childhood fantasy to life so vividly that they’re still around, today, for us to realize how troubling that fantasy really is. That may not be the birthday present Laura would want, but it’s something.
“It looked like it was strictly done because someone didn’t like police officers, like a hate crime,” Harris told CNN on Friday.
HB 953 is commonly known as “Blue Lives Matter,” a phrase co-opted from the Black Lives Matter movement and that stands as a counterpoint to criticisms of police brutality. The Blue Lives Matter movement maintains that in fact, police officers are under attack and need extra protections.
“I certainly do think there is a need for it,” Harris said. “If you’re going to have an extensive hate crime statute then we need to protect those that are out there protecting us on a daily basis.”
“There is a concerted effort in some areas to terrorize and attack police and I think this will go forward and stop that,” Harris added, citing social media attacks on police officers.
But rates of assault and deadly violence against police in the U.S. have actually declined. Only 41 police officers were intentionally killed while on duty in 2015 — nearly a 20 percent decrease from 2014 — making it one of the safest years for police officers on record, according to preliminary statistics from the FBI.
Critics of the bill say hate crime legislation should stick to race, religion, ethnicity and other static attributes.
“It’s really focused on immutable characteristics,” Allison Goodman, regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, told The Advocate of the current state statute. “Proving the bias intent for a hate crime for law enforcement or first responders is very different than proving it for someone who is Jewish or gay or black.”
Others have asserted that it is actually citizens and not police who are under siege. Officers are heavily protected by the justice system: They typically do not face legal repercussions for using lethal force against civilians, and when someone kills an officer, they are usually swiftly prosecuted to the full extent of the law. In some states, such as Michigan and New York, killing a police officer is an automatic first-degree murder charge.
The New Orleans chapter of Black Youth Project 100, a black activist organization, is asking that Edwards veto the bill.
“By treating the police as specialized citizens held above criticism and the laws they are charged to enforce, we lose our ability to exercise our First Amendment right,” the organization wrote in a statement. “Including ‘police’ as a protected class in hate crime legislation would serve to provide more protection to an institution that is statistically proven to be racist in action, policy, and impact.”
Edwards is expected to sign the bill this week, his press secretary Shauna Sanford told The Huffington Post.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to the “Blue Lives Matter” legislation as HB 923. It is HB 953.
Twitter is experimenting with a new look for the tweet composer in its iOS app.
The test, which users first began to notice Wednesday, moves the app’s tweet composer to the top of users’ timelines. Previously, the app’s tweet composer was a separate part of the app.
The new look causes the app to behave more like Twitter’s website, which also has both a compose window and button. The redesign puts the tweet composer at the top of your timeline, along with the camera icon for adding a photo, video or live stream.
Other media, like polls, GIFs and location info, are still available when you tap into the composer itself.
A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the experiment, saying it was meant to make it easier for iOS users to tweet while browsing the app.
We want to make it easy for anyone to Tweet. To that end, were experimenting with ways to make the Tweet compose bar easier to access on Twitter for iOS, similar to the experience on Twitter.com.
It’s not clear if Twitter plans to expand the test to its Android app or whether it could become a permanent feature. Twitter, like other social networks, often tests new features and design changes with small groups of users before making them available more broadly.
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The grievance in their mind, the animus, the anger they hate white people because white people are successful and theyre not, he said.
“It is a welfare state. We have spent trillions of dollars on welfare, but weve put people in bondage, so that they cant be all that theyre capable of being.
“America is a country of opportunity and freedom and liberty. It didnt become that way because of a great government who provided everything for everyone,” he continued. “No, the destiny of America, the freedom to come to this country where theyre still coming to our shores is because they can take their work ethic, their hard effort, and put up their capital and their risk, and build out their lives.
Pittenger’s comments immediately caused anger on social media.
The North Carolina Democratic Party issued a statement accusing him of “fanning the flames of hate” with racist rhetoric.
This sort of bigotry has become all too common under the party of Donald J. Trump. Our great state should not be represented by someone who would make such hateful comments,” it said.
The band developed their unusual working method on their first single, Something For Your MIND – a chopped-up collage of slide guitar, nature sounds, wibbly synths and Orono’s deadpan vocals.
“Me and some of the guys in the band had tried in vain to record a garage rock album,” recalls Harry, “and by the end of that process, we came home and we were just like, ‘We don’t want to play loud guitars and drums in a room any more’.
“So we went back to the drawing board and said, ‘What can we do that’ll be more fresh and fun?’ And all the people who lived in our house became part of the band.”
They “sketched out a few ideas” and, on a whim, emailed an early version of Something For Your MIND to Orono, one of Harry’s Facebook friends who was still at school in the US.
“Within an hour of her getting the track, she sent it back and the lyrics and the vocal are what you hear,” says Harry.
“It felt like everything had just fallen into place straight away. Orono fully got the vibe of what we were trying to achieve.”
To the band’s surprise, the single immediately created a buzz.
Within days of being uploaded to Soundcloud last February, it landed in Spotify’s influential New Music Friday playlist; and was featured by Frank Ocean and Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig on their radio shows.
“When Ezra Koenig played the song, I was like, ‘Woah, this is a big moment,'” recalls Orono.
“And then we started getting this crazy response from The Fader and all these big media outlets. I was like, ‘Oh Damn. This is for real!'”
But at this point, Superorganism had never been in the same room as each other.
Orono was “trying to graduate” high school; while South Korean backing singer Soul lived in Sydney, and co-vocalists Ruby and Bea were in New Zealand.
The fact they had no website or social media presence gave the band an air of mystery; which only increased after Something For Your MIND was yanked off the internet due to an unlicensed sample.
“People were speculating, ‘Is this the project of a famous person going incognito?'” says Harry.
“They said we were actually The Avalanches or Damon Albarn – which is so flattering because I grew up listening to those artists.
“It’s like, ‘You think we’re that good? We feel like we’re hacks!'”
The success of Something For Your MIND attracted several record labels, including British indie outfit Domino – who signed the band on the strength of “five or six” demos.
Pretty soon, Orono finished school and packed her bags for London – where she took over the living room of the band’s increasingly-cramped house.
“One of the first things we did after that was to put together a collaborative playlist” says Harry.
Called “Sweet Stuff,” it ran to more than 300 songs, from Lil Yachty to Pavement via Katy Perry and Prince, and acted as a mood board for the band’s debut album.
“We tried to absorb as much of each other’s influences as we could,” says Harry, “but our brains lean towards simple, singable melodies and catchy choruses”.
“We keep the song writing quite simple and then, with the production, we can shade it and colour it and give it the depth that lends itself to repeat listening.”
Certainly, you’re unlikely to hear a more inventive record this year. The band’s debut album is a squishy mishmash of weird samples (birdsong, cash registers, apples being crunched) bound together by Orono’s nonchalant, earwormy vocals.
Lyrically, she depicts the angst and ennui of teenage life through the distancing filter of technology: “There’s something so affecting / In the reflections / On my screen”.
Her words are abstract but evocative – which is impressive, given that Orono had never attempted a lyric before joining Superorganism (although she had a neat line in Katy Perry fan fiction).
“I just always liked English class, I guess,” she says. “I don’t have a long attention span, so I haven’t really been reading books lately – but I like analysing lyrics and I like writing.”
The band have had to get used to the limelight pretty quickly. The success of Something For Your MIND and the subsequent singles Nobody Cares and It’s All Good earned them a place on the BBC’s Sound of 2018, while Rolling Stone magazine called them one of the “10 artists you need to know“.
They’ve done it all on their own terms – with band member Robert Strange creating all their videos and tour backdrops; while Orono designs all the artwork.
The cover of Something For Your MIND even features a hand-drawn map of Tokyo Zoo – where the singer took Harry for a day out after meeting his previous group, The Eversons, at a gig three years ago.
So far, it’s worked like a charm.
“I think we skipped the most intimidating part of being in a band – where you play to 10 or 20 people in an empty room,” says Harry.
“Our first gig was in Hamburg to 500 people. And Orono just fell straight into it”
Turning to his bandmate, he suddenly realises how traumatic that might have been.
“Did you find that intimidating?” he asks.
“Mmmm,” ponders the teenager. “The very, very first song we played, I was quite nervous… but I got into it quite quickly.
“But obviously I’ve had years of training – watching The Wiggles and dancing along.”
Superorganism’s debut album, also called Superorganism, is released on Friday, 2 March.
Social media users trolled Sarah Jessica Parker for her Met Gala look, saying the actress appeared “old.” (AP)
Sarah Jessica Parker was shamed by social media users who said the actress looked “old” walking the red carpet after close-up photos of her face were posted online.
The “Sex and the City” star walked the red carpet in an intricate gold Dolce & Gabbana gown with an attention-grabbing headpiece of a nativity scene. Parker’s look fit the gala’s theme, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” perfectly — but people weren’t focused on her outfit. Social media users focused on her face and said she “looked 100 years old.”
“Why does Sarah Jessica Parker look 100 years old?” one woman tweeted.
Another woman wrote, “Sarah Jessica Parker looks 89 years old.. I love her style and she will always give LOOKS.. but LORDT.. it’s like she never had a glass of water or a vitamin”
In another Instagram post by Dolce & Gabbana’s co-founder Stefano Gabbana, users trolled the actress, with one person saying she was “looking more and more like a drag queen.”
“Wow!!!! I use to think she was so pretty!!!! Plastic surgery is not 4 everybody,” one person said.
Another commenter said, “Hopefully this is just a bad picture of her, if not she is not aging well and that’s unfortunate.”
“She looks old because of the damn heavy head piece she’s wearing . People look at the effort she’s making just to keep the thing up,” someone said.
Sarah Jessica Parker on the red carpet during Monday’s Met Gala. (2018 Invision)
“Why is she looking so wrinkled like [half frowning emoji],” a comment read.
One person wrote, “Omg she looks 80”
Many people also hit back at critics for commenting on Parker’s look. Others blamed the photo’s lighting and the makeup artist who some claimed did a “dreadful” job.
“What’s wrong with aging? We all age differently. Who wants to see the mannequin look when they over do the face lifts? She’s human, she has to age leave her alone. Everyone ages different,” one user wrote.
A person wrote, “The eye makeup is dreadful – all you see are two small black eye sockets. And that outfit…. It is not so much her age as it is this get up!”
“I still love her despite these mean comments about her looking a century old,” another comment read.
Parker, who attended the event at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art with “Bravo” star Andy Cohen, posted several photos and posts on Monday getting ready for the gala and walking into the star-studded red carpet.
Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam
A body count of 43 and rising is believed by rescue workers and locals because of the altitude of the planes to be the result of Russian airstrikes
Airstrikes believed to have been carried out by Russian warplanes killed scores of people in the centre of the rebel-held city of Idlib in north-west Syria on Sunday, according to rescue workers and residents.
They said at least six strikes had hit a busy marketplace in the heart of the city, along with several government buildings and residential areas. Rescue workers said they had confirmed 43 dead but at least 30 more bodies had been retrieved that had still to be identified. Over 150 people were wounded with some of the serious cases sent to hospitals in Turkey.
There are a lot of corpses under the rubble, Yasser Hammo, a civil defence worker, said via an internet messaging system, adding that volunteers and civil defence workers were still pulling bodies out.
Footage on social media and the pro-opposition Orient TV station showed makeshift ambulances rushing with injured civilians through an area where people were searching for survivors among the debris of collapsed buildings.
One resident, Sameh al-Muazin, said he had seen mangled bodies in Jalaa street, the citys main thoroughfare, adding that people feared a further round of intensive bombing. Everyone is afraid that this is just the beginning, he said.
Idlib, the capital of a north-western province of the same name, became an important centre for rebel-controlled north-west Syria after it was captured earlier this year by a coalition of Islamist insurgent groups known as Jaish al Fateh, which includes al-Qaidas Syrian wing, Nusra Front.
Moscow says that its airstrikes target Islamic State militants but rebels and residents say they are causing hundreds of civilian casualties through indiscriminate bombing well away from the frontlines. Residents say they distinguish Russian planes that fly at high altitudes from Syrian helicopters that mainly drop indiscriminate barrel bombs at much lower heights.
Idlib city has been largely spared the intensified aerial bombing campaign witnessed in rural areas after a United Nations-brokered ceasefire deal was reached in September. The deal allowed for the withdrawal of rebel fighters holed up in a border village near Lebanon in return for the evacuation of civilians from two Shia towns of Kefraya and al-Foua under rebel siege in Idlib province.
The deal included a tacit understanding that Idlib city also fell under the ceasefire arrangements, allowing thousands displaced from northern Syria to shelter there.
In a sign the ceasefire had broken, one rebel source said rebels had begun to shell the two towns again. Residents reported families fleeing with some of their belongings to the safety of camps along the Turkish border.
Separately, the Syrian army with the backing of Russian air power said on Sunday that it had seized the rebel-held town of Khan Touman in southern Aleppo, a major gain that opened the way for advances further to the west in Idlib province.
The advances brought the army only a few kilometres from the major rebel-controlled Aleppo-Damascus highway, whose capture would be a big boost to the Syrian army.
Nottingham police experiment draws national interest after force launched more than 20 investigations in July and August
Police forces across England and Wales are considering expanding their definition of hate crime to include misogyny after an experiment in one city that saw more than 20 investigations launched in two months.
The initial success of Nottinghams crackdown against sexist abuse has drawn national interest after the citys police revealed that they investigated a case of misogyny every three days during July and August, the first months to see specially trained officers targeting behaviour ranging from street harassment to unwanted physical approaches.
Several other forces have confirmed they are sending representatives to Nottingham this month to discuss the introduction of misogyny as a hate crime.
Police and campaigners said the initial figures were broadly in line with other categories of hate crime such as Islamophobia and antisemitism but were likely to rise significantly as awareness increased.
Dave Alton, the hate crime manager for Nottingham police, said: The number of reports we are receiving is comparable with other, more established, categories of hate crime. We have received numerous reports and have been able to provide a service to women in Nottinghamshire who perhaps wouldnt have approached us six months ago. The reality is that all of the reports so far have required some form of police action.
Melanie Jeffs, the manager of Nottingham Womens Centre, said: Women are groped, or groups of lads shout abuse or very sexualised comments at them. We have incidents of sexual touching, women being grabbed and men trying to get women into a car with them.
Loretta Trickett, a criminologist at Nottingham Trent University, predicted that the number of reports of misogyny in the city would increase after much of the large student population more than 60,000 attend its two universities arrived later this month. In 10 days time, Nottinghamshire police will release a film featuring first-hand accounts of street harassment victims to encourage more women to report incidents.
Jeffs said: We know its a big issue that happens on a daily basis its part of the everyday wallpaper of womens lives. This is about raising awareness, making women feel that they dont have to put up with it and thats very empowering. Already women are ringing through to the police saying: I want this to be recorded as a misogynistic hate crime.
Other forces understood to be interested include Devon and Cornwall, Durham and Lincolnshire, which are all sending officers to Nottingham to discuss the experiment.
Alton said: There has been quite a lot of interest in the action we have taken. Both our chief constable and our commissioner have been contacted by forces and commissioners nationally to discuss how we have made the changes and what the impact has been so far.
The force defines misogyny hate crime as incidents against women that are motivated by an attitude of a man towards a woman and includes behaviour targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman.
The new classification means women can report incidents that might not be considered a crime and the police will investigate.
Last week it was revealed that prosecutions relating to violence against women and girls in England and Wales have reached record levels amid warnings that the increasing use of social media is fuelling the rise. Campaigners believe misogyny is spilling over from the virtual world of the internet into the real world.
Trickett said: Street harassment is at the root of a lot of the sexualised violence that we see the idea that women are sexual commodities. Its also linked to online abuse. A lot of it has gone unchallenged for so long that it has almost become normalised.
Campaigners in the city said the reaction to the classification of misogyny as a hate crime had been overwhelmingly positive, with many men also registering their approval.
Weve had women say how proud they are to be from this city, and that this makes them feel like theyre walking 10 feet taller, said Jeffs.
One issue that has concerned campaigners is street harassment aimed at schoolchildren, with Trickett saying that sexist abuse could be aimed at youngsters as young as eight.
Far-right leader posted image of beheaded US journalist after her Front National party was accused of sharing a community of spirit with Isis
The parents of James Foley, the journalist beheaded by Islamic State in 2014, have reacted with dismay after Frances far-right leader Marine Le Pen tweeted an image of his decapitated body.
Le Pen posted three gruesome images of Isis killings on the social media site on Wednesday in response to an accusation by a journalist that her Front National party bore similarities with the extremist group.
Daesh is THIS! Le Pen said in angry tweets showing the killings, using the Arabic acronym for the group. But her effort to make a distinction between her anti-immigration party and Isis appears to have backfired.
The prosecutors office in the western Paris suburb of Nanterre said had launched an investigation into the dissemination of violent images over the tweets.
Foleys parents said they were deeply disturbed.
John and Diane Foley said in a statement: Our family was informed this morning that Marine Le Pen, a French politician, tweeted a shamefully uncensored picture of our son.
We are deeply disturbed by the unsolicited use of Jim for Le Pens political gain and hope that the picture of our son, along with the two other graphic photographs, are taken down immediately, they said.
Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve, asked about the tweets in parliament, told MPs he has taken the case to a section of the judicial police that deals with illicit content on the internet so it can look into the matter as it does each time these photos are diffused.
They are propaganda photos of Daesh, Cazeneuve said. He called them abject, an abomination and a veritable insult to all victims of terrorism.
Bourdin occasionally stirs national controversy on his morning show on RMC radio and BFM TV.
On Wednesday, discussing extremism with a noted Middle East expert, he referred to links … not direct links between the National Front and Daesh, but this isolation in identity that in the end is a community of spirit.