So you’re the novice showrunner of a critically-acclaimed anthological detective drama heading into your second season, with an entirely new cast. You’ve got Hollywood ringers in your cast and a whole lot of expectations.
You can go the True Detective season two route, and disappoint your fans and leave critics smirking that True Detective’s flaws were always there, they were just hidden by a few great actors and some fancy directing.
Or you can go the Fargo season two route, premiering tonight on FX at 10 pm, and prove that the phenomenon was not just a lark.
A great TV show is somewhat of an incredible stroke of luck. A great TV show reinventing itself almost entirely, with a new story in a new time period with a new cast, and remaining great? Well, that’s something more like a miracle. But Fargo is all about miracles.
Each episode of the second season of Fargo, like the movie that inspires it, begins with a disclaimer of sorts: "This is a true story. The events depicted in this film took place in Minnesota in 1979. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred."
That is, of course, an untrue statement. Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley likes to say the based-on-a-true-story claim grounds the
Centuries — 523 years, to be exact — after Columbus’ accidental arrival on the shores of North America, U.S. cities are beginning to question the celebration of such an event.
With major cities Minneapolis and Seattle announcing last year that local governments were choosing not to recognize Columbus Day — instead celebrating Indigenous People's Day — even more local governments are joining the movement. Portland just last week proclaimed it, too, would follow suit and celebrate Indigenous People's Day.
Columbus Day became a federally recognized U.S. holiday in 1937 as the Italian-American population pushed for it. Many false assumptions come with the holiday, however, including the notion that Columbus was the first person to discover the Americas, which completely disregarded that the indigenous populations already present had discovered the Americas about 14,000 years prior.
The original idea of celebrating Indigenous People's Day instead of Columbus day first arose in 1977. Activists and indigenous populations alike were outraged over the celebration of a man responsible for the truly barbaric enslavement and death of what some historians say were entire populations of indigenous tribes he encountered.
Before Canadian-born author William Paul Young published his first novel in 2011, he was living near Portland, Oregon, and working three different jobs. Now, four years later and a well-established writer, Young visits Spokane to discuss his newest novel, Eve, released in September.
While Young was raised by a Christian missionary family living amongst a primitive tribe in the former New Guinea, his novels reach far beyond a religious audience. The Shack, Young’s first work, has sold over 22 million copies. The controversial yet absorbing piece of fiction shared a story of grief and loss, and further served as an invitation to readers into a more personal, non-religious understanding of God. Both The Shack and Young's 2012 novel Crossroads are New York Times bestsellers.
Eve is a vibrant investigation into the Creation narrative that challenges beliefs about our beginnings. The novel centers on John the Collector, who discovers a young woman washed ashore on an island — sick, battered, and barely surviving. While nursing her back to health, he discovers that she has a unique genetic makeup, connecting her to every single race. Through Eve, Young not only poses compelling questions regarding the equality of men and women by exploring our beginnings, but also aims to freshen our take on a familiar tale. Young questions, “Is it possible to craft a space for community and conversation free of the divisiveness of politics, or religion or ideology... a space for you to explore life, God, the world and what it is to be fully human?” Through his novels, Young seeks to create such a space.
Auntie's Bookstore hosts Young's reading at the Bing Crosby Theater, on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 7 pm. Admission is a suggested $5 donation.
When powerful Idaho political donor Frank VanderSloot went to court to sue the lefty magazine Mother Jones, it resulted in an expensive trial that lasted over two years and cost literally millions of dollars. And ultimately, it resulted in vindication for Mother Jones. (There’s also a lengthy discussion about the meaning of “gay-bashing” and an aside about Anderson Cooper’s sexuality.)
But VanderSloot didn’t take it as a loss. If anything, he seemed energized by the verdict, promising to start a fund to sue more liberal papers that attack conservative figures like himself.
He may have found inspiration in Idaho Judge Darla Williamson’s analysis that the lawsuit was not frivolous, and in her passages critiquing Mother Jones, a famously liberal magazine, for being too biased.
“Mother Jones, in particular, leads the way in demonizing, rather than fairly discussing, those whose points of view differ from its own,” Williamson wrote. She condemned the magazine for mudslinging, “sophomoric bullying and name-calling."
And toward the end, she concluded with this
“True fearlessness in reporting would allow the readers of this nation to decide the issues for themselves by being given a well-rounded picture of the issue at hand. Slanted journalism fuels only divisiveness. Unlike the Founders’ dreams for this nation, such journalism does not act as the guardian of the democratic republic that gave the press its freedom.”
It’s not much of exaggeration to say that America was fundamentally founded on deeply partisan newspapers.
The British and the colonists clashed heavily over freedom of the press, long before the Revolution. Even James Franklin, Benjamin Franklin’s older brother, was arrested and imprisoned for offending the local government, and barred from printing. Benjamin Franklin himself espoused a printers-should-print-both-sides philosophy but wasn’t above using his publications to push his personal ideology.
In the Philadelphia Gazette, he created the most famous political cartoon in American history: A woodcut of a sliced-up snake, representing the colonies, with the slogan “JOIN, or DIE.”
This was hardly an attempt to be objective: It was propaganda, urging the colonies to unite during the French and Indian War. Similarly, when Franklin was lambasting the Stamp Act, he created another political cartoon “MAGNA Britannia: her Colonies
Slanted, divisive propaganda, published by printers, written by anonymous firebrands, was crucial to the American Revolution. No joke: In this case, anonymous comments of "WAKE UP, AMERICA!" actually woke America up.
Here’s Todd Andrlik, author of Reporting the Revolutionary War.
If you think MSNBC and FOX News are notorious for their bickering and biases, media partiality and propaganda were perfected during the American Revolution with Patriot and Loyalist newspapers fighting to keep their respective populations engaged.
Common Sense, by Thomas Paine, for example, was published in full in the Connecticut Courant newspaper. Far from
In fact, from the Revolution, through the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, through the first half of the 19th century, partisan newspapers were practically the only newspapers. Si Sheppard lays out a few examples in his book, The Partisan Press: A History of Media Bias in the United States, showing that the founding fathers were instrumentally involved in partisan newspapers.
Alexander Hamilton, under the pseudonym “Phocion,” wrote 25 different essays full of personal attacks against Thomas Jefferson in the Federalist Gazette of the United States. One of them went even so far as to accuse the honorable Mr. Jefferson of having an affair with one of his slaves.
Jefferson lambasted the Gazette as “a paper of pure Tory-ism, disseminating the doctrines of monarchy, aristocracy, and the exclusion of the people.”
So was Jefferson a Founding Father dreaming of an unbiased press that would act as the guardian of the democratic republic that gave the press its freedom? Nope. He wanted a paper biased in the other direction.
You can find plenty of examples of the Founding Fathers channeling VanderSloot, condemning and trying to punish newspapers that attacked them. But they didn’t want objectivity. They wanted newspapers that agreed with them.
Jefferson and James Madison started their own paper (the Philadelphia National Gazette) and filled it with attacks against Washington and Hamilton. Where Washington opposed political parties, the National Gazette actively pushed for them.
Jefferson and Madison helped fundraise for the Aurora, the newspaper of Benjamin Franklin Bache (Ben Franklin’s grandson). That’s the newspaper that called John Adams "old, querulous, bald, blind, crippled [and] toothless" and referred to George Washington’s address as the "loathings of a sick mind."
Mother Jones and National Review — or even Breitbart and Salon — are better analogs to the Founding Fathers’ understanding of the press than the modern New York Times and Washington Post.
If you want a strong case for a Founding Father ostensibly fighting against partisanship in the press, you might point to President John Adams, and the Alien and Sedition acts introduced under his administration. The acts punished those who would “write, print, utter, or publish . . . any false, scandalous and malicious writing” critical of the government.
But far from being non-partisan, this was partisanship at its most obvious. Hilariously, defamatory speech against the president was outlawed, but not speech against vice president Thomas Jefferson. Twenty newspaper editors were arrested, and they were almost all Democratic-Republicans. The guy who literally wrote the book on John Adams said the laws were “...rightly judged by history as the most reprehensible acts of his presidency."
Jefferson and Madison, of course, absolutely hated these acts. Madison called them “a monster that must forever disgrace its parents.” James Madison, while fighting against these acts, waxed poetic about the necessity of even awful biased newspapers.
Some degree of abuse is inseparable from the proper use of every thing; and in no instance is this more true than in that of the press. It has accordingly been decided, by the practice of the states, that it is better to leave a few of its noxious branches to their luxuriant growth, than, by pruning them away, to injure the vigor of those yielding the proper fruits. And can the wisdom of this policy be doubted by any one who reflects that to the press alone, checkered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression?
In other words, Madison argues that slanted journalism doesn’t imperil liberty; it’s inseparable from it. It brings to mind the most famous passage from Madison in the Federalist Papers:
Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.
That’s even true today, where the single biggest blow to Mitt Romney’s campaign was a secretly-taped video showing him dismissing 47 percent of the country. That story was broken by a partisan journalist at a “mudslinging… sophomoric bullying and name-calling" publication called Mother Jones.
The second ever Spokane Arts Month kicked off with two of its biggest events — Terrain and the Visual Arts Tour — last weekend, but that doesn't mean things are dying down. Here's a roundup of artsy things to see, hear and do this weekend:
Legends and Landmarks
Check out the newest murals brightening up two of downtown Spokane's many train overpasses, and joining the four murals installed last summer. The two newest additions are at the Post Street underpass, between First and Second Avenues, by Justin Gibbens, an Ellensburg-based artist. The second is along Railroad Alley near Barrister Winery, and was created by Karl Addison, of Bremerton, Washington. You can check out the completed murals anytime.
Another sight to see that doesn't require much planning ahead, as it's being displayed all month each night, is the second annual Spokane Throw light installation on the side of River Park Square. The community arts project accepted submissions of handwritten, 25-words-or-less letters and is projecting one of them onto the side of the mall after dark through Oct. 31. Tonight, the Garland District is also unveiling a second Spokane Throw letter, to be projected on the side of the Spokanite Cleaners building at 718 W. Garland. After tonight, you can see that light projection daily after dark, too.
SpoYo! Spokane Youth Book Festival
The kid sibling of Get Lit!, spring's annual literature festival organized by Eastern Washington University, the new SpoYo! fest is aimed at kids who love to read or are just developing an appreciation for books. The first-time event's slate of guest authors is pretty impressive. Along with many of the Northwest's own children's and YA writers, SpoYo! has snagged the author of the popular Bad Kitty series, Nick Bruel, and Amulet graphic novel creator Kazu Kibuishi. The keynote author presentation at the Bing this Saturday evening caps off a day of workshops and features S.E. Grove, who wrote the middle-grade bestseller, The Glass Sentence.
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