Monday, 15 May 2017

Random Reads (15/05/17)

It has been a while since I posted about my random reads. I have definitely been doing the reading, but the processing and sharing has been put on hold as work took up a lot of my time in the last two months. But now I can get back at it.

This week I have been reading a lot about US politics. I was shocked (but not surprised) when Trump sacked FBI Director James Comey, and then threatened him on Twitter with 'tapes' of their conversations. Some interesting pieces that cover this saga are:
  • James Fallows writing in The Atlantic, "Five Reasons the Comey Affair is Worse Than Watergate". Fallows details the circumstances that allowed for Watergate and compares them to today. He argues that Trump is "impulsive, and ignorant, and apparently beyond the reach of any control, even his own."
  • Nicolas Kristof's op-ed for The New York Times, "Is President Trump Obstructing Justice?" points to how Trump has "challenged and evaded the ethics rules that traditionally constrain administration officials."
  • Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker writes "Firing Comey was a Grave Abuse of Power". He argues that "Trump has proved himself temperamentally and intellectually unfit for the Presidency". 
  • The New York Times Editorial Board have published "The Republican's Guide to Presidential Behaviour" which offers a scathing indictment of the new low standards to which Trump has sunk. No longer is the President to be admired as a role model to the world. 
  • David Frum published an interesting piece for The Atlantic on why "A Special Prosecutor is Not the Answer". Many have been calling for an independent investigation into the alleged Trump-Russia connections. Frum argues that the role of the special prosecutor is to investigate crimes, so if there is something uncovered that is wrong but not prosecutable, the prosecutor is supposed to look away. 
  • David Frum has also done an interesting short video on public indifference which is leading to Trump's autocracy. Much to think about.

Beyond politics, here are some of the other things I have been reading lately:
  • Christopher Orr wrote an interesting piece in The Atlantic titled "How Pixar Lost Its Way" in which he dissects what happened to the most innovative animation company once bought by Disney. The creativity and quality Pixar was renowned for gave way to pressure for sequels and merchandising. A cautionary tale serving as a reminder to hold true to your values.
  • Alice Bolin wrote an interesting piece for Electric Lit called "Miss Marple vs the Mansplainers: Agatha Christie's Feminist Detective Hero". In it she explores spinster stereotypes and women's  intuition. It contains an interesting contrast of the urban noir stories of Chandler and Hammett to the domestic village mysteries of Christie, Marsh and Sayers.
  • Erin Kodicek has published a post in Omnivoracious about Margaret Atwood and her favourite works of speculative fiction. As a lover of both Atwood and the genre, this was a great insight and many of her faves make my list too. 
  • Joanna Robinson's article for Vanity Fair on "Why the 1980s Anne of Green Gables is such a Hard Act to Follow" brought back many fond memories. As a child I devoured LM Montgomery's Anne books and when the tv series came out my obsession grew. This article nails it - highlighting all the various reasons to love Anne and the lessons she taught us. Time to revisit again I think...