Aaron Sorkin Rewrites “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Play episode · 27 min

As he set about adapting “To Kill a Mockingbird” for the stage, Aaron Sorkin found himself troubled by its protagonist, the small-town lawyer Atticus Finch. Harper Lee’s Finch, he thought, is tolerant to a fault—understanding rather than condemning the violent racism of many of his neighbors. Sorkin also felt that Lee’s two black characters, the maid Calpurnia and the falsely accused Tom Robinson, lacked a real voice. “I imagine that, in 1960, using African-American characters as atmosphere is the kind of thing that would go unnoticed by white people,” he tells David Remnick. “In 2018, it doesn’t go unnoticed, and it’s wrong, and it’s also a wasted opportunity.” Sorkin’s changes in his adaptation led to a lawsuit from Harper Lee’s literary executor, who had placed specific conditions on the faithfulness of his script. In Sorkin’s view, the criticisms of the executor, Tonja Carter, were tantamount to racism, in that they reinforced the lack of agency of black people in the South in the nineteen-thirties. (Carter declined to comment on Sorkin’s remarks, and the lawsuit was settled before the play was produced.) Sorkin says that, of his own volition, he cut some of his new lines that hinted too broadly toward the current Presidency. But Atticus Finch’s realization—that the people in his community whom he thought he knew best were people he never really knew at all—mirrors the experience of many Americans since 2016. Plus, Ocean Vuong, the author of the best-selling autobiographical novel “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous,” visits the food court at a largely Asian mall in Queens that reminds him of home. 

Worldly
Worldly
Vox
Nigeria’s bad cop ring, Thailand’s playboy king
Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about two huge ongoing protest movements: demonstrations against police violence in Nigeria and against monarchical privilege in Thailand. The team breaks down the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), the violent police unit at the heart of the Nigerian protests, and talk about the problems with policing in that country in general and in international context. Then they discuss the student-led protests in Thailand — kicked off by authoritarian repression in the name of Thailand’s very strange king — and put it context of the general struggle for democracy in the Southeast Asian country. References: Deutsche Welle has a great video on Nigeria’s protests. One of the big problems with SARS is that its officers don’t get paid much. Multiple academic studies point to the lack of community policing as a major problem in Nigeria. The Conversation has a smart piece on why ending SARS won’t lead to much better policing in Nigeria. Here’s that Charles Tilley study Zack mentioned. Amnesty International has a report detailing alleged human rights abuses by SARS. New Mandala explains the 10 demands Thai protesters have of their government. Vox profiles Thailand’s playboy king. The BBC has helpful information on how the protests got started. A Thai professor explains to Bloomberg what makes these Thai protests so different. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox   Consider contributing to Vox: If you value Worldly’s work, please consider making a contribution to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts   More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram.   About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.   Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
45 min
The Ezra Klein Show
The Ezra Klein Show
Vox
What should Democrats do about the Supreme Court?
If Democrats win back power this November, they will be faced with a choice: Leave the existing Supreme Court intact, and watch their legislative agenda — and perhaps democracy itself — be gradually gutted by 5-4 and 6-3 judicial rulings; or use their power to reform the nation’s highest court over fierce opposition by the Republican party. Ganesh Sitaraman is a former senior advisor to Elizabeth Warren and a law professor at Vanderbilt. He’s also the author of one of the most hotly debated proposals for Supreme Court reform, as well as the fairest and clearest analyst I’ve read regarding the benefits and drawbacks of every other plausible proposal for Supreme Court reform. So in this conversation, we discuss the range of options, from well-known ideas like court packing and term limits to more obscure proposals like the 5-5-5 balanced bench and a judicial lottery system. But there’s another reason I wanted Sitaraman on the show right now. Supreme Court reform matters — for good or for ill — because democracy matters. In his recent book, The Great Democracy, Sitaraman makes an argument that's come to sit at the core of my thinking, too: The fundamental fight in American politics right now is about whether we will become a true democracy. And not just a democracy in the thin, political definition we normally use — holding elections, and ensuring access to the franchise. The fight is for a thicker form of a democracy, one that takes economic power seriously, that makes the construction of a certain kind of civic and political culture central to its aims.  So this is a conversation about what that kind of democracy would look like, and what it would take to get there – up to and including Supreme Court reform. References: Jump-Starting America by Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson  "How to save the Supreme Court" by Daniel Epps and Ganesh Sitaraman Sitaraman's tweet threads about expanding the court , term limits , the 5-5-5 Balanced bench, lottery approach, supermajority voting requirements, jurisdiction stripping, legislative overrides, and what the best approach is. Book recommendations: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn The Public and Its Problems by John Dewey The Anarchy by William Dalrymple  Credits: Producer/Audio wizard - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1 hr 27 min
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