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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.

Harper Lee Dies 10 MIN, 33 SEC

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.

Spencer Madrie, Ol’ Curiosities & Bookshoppe
Charles Shields, Author

South Carolina’s Dirty Political Tricks 7 MIN, 45 SEC

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.

Chris Haire, Charleston City Paper (@haireofthedog)

When Political Ads Go Wrong 8 MIN, 6 SEC

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?

Seth Stevenson, Writer (@stevensonseth)

Friday Movie Roundup: ‘The Witch’ and More 13 MIN, 3 SEC

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.

Scott Mantz, Access Hollywood (@MovieMantz)
Tim Grierson, Film Critic (@TimGrierson)

Inside the World of China’s “Golden Generation” 6 MIN, 57 SEC

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.

Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker (@JiayangFan)

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