To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee died today at 89. We remember her life and work. Then, a political twofer: First, the dirty political history of South Carolina, followed by a look at the dangers of using stock footage in political ads. Next, our regular Friday film roundup includes a new horror film, a Jesse Owens biopic and more. And finally, inside the glamorous lives of Chinese so-called parachute kids.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Author Harper Lee died today in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. She was 89 years old. Her famous novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, explored racial tensions in the South through the eyes of a young girl – the beloved Scout. Tens of millions of copies have been sold. It became one of the most taught works of fiction ever written by an American author, and it solidified a place in the hearts of so many readers for Harper Lee. Today, we hear from someone in the town where she was born and died, and from a biographer.
South Carolina may have a reputation for its genteel, Southern charm … but when it comes to politics, that’s another story. The Palmetto State is also the home state of legendary GOP operative Lee Atwater. We get a primer on South Carolina’s less-than-polite political history.
Ads are usually part of any respectable campaign of dirty tricks. But sometimes, the ads play dirty tricks on the candidates. For instance, early this year, Marco Rubio was running an ad with a very America-specific message, but the skyline featured in it is actually in Vancouver, Canada. This is a prime example of the dangers of using stock footage in a campaign ad. What else has gone wrong?
We’ve got a pretty intense lineup of movies to talk about this week. We’ve got a horror film about witches in puritan New England, a Jesse Owens biopic and the devastation of indigenous tribes at the hands of Colombian rubber barons in the Amazon. Our critics give their takes in our regular Friday film roundup.
This week in L.A., a Chinese-born teenager named Xinlei Zhang was sentenced to six years in prison for his role in a gang attack. Before his arrest, Zhang attended a boarding school here while his parents stayed behind in China. His case has brought more attention to the phenomenon of so-called parachute kids, the children of well-off Chinese families living abroad.
More From Press Play with Madeleine Brand
Does copyright law cover graffiti? Clothing company H&M did a fashion shoot in Brooklyn featuring models standing against a gray wall painted with black waving lines. The graffiti was the work of an LA-based street artist, who wanted compensation. H&M responded by filing a lawsuit against him, then dropped it a few days later.
Taylor Mac takes on U.S. history in 246 songs, two dozen costume changes Taylor Mac will perform his “24-Decade History of Popular Music” starting Thursday in LA. It’s divided into four shows on four separate nights. It’s about this history of oppression and activism in the U.S. -- from 1776 to present day.
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