I am so excited to read Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman! Currently, I'm #148 on the waiting list at my local library, so it might be a while...
In the meantime, here's an interactive version of the first chapter, narrated by Reese Witherspoon. And I've read several reviews lamenting Atticus's racism and fall from grace.
It's hard to realize a hero isn't quite a perfect as we thought he or she was, but I'm intrigued by the complexity and reality the reviews are lauding. I'll let you know what I think after 147 other people have gotten around to reading it...
There have always been dark corners of the internet where hate rules supreme, cyber-bullying is common, and mocking and denigrating others is the standard. I (almost) never read the comments on articles because they so frequently devolve into epithets, talking points, and drivel.
But this past week a photo of me was ripped from a website which I had given permission to use it and posted on a domestic hate group's site. Fortunately, there was no identifying information on the photo, but readers - true, blue Americans - called me "ugly," a "traitor," and worse. (Yes, I did read the comments that time. Ugh.) Several of my friends and acquaintances were also named in the piece.
The picture has since been taken down because we exerted copyright, but I've been told it's made its way to another similar site now. This is nothing compared to what I know others face on the internet every day, but it shook me deeply. I like to believe, with Anne Frank, that people really are good at heart. It's been a little harder to believe that for the past week.
For another one in the category of "it's harder to believe people are really good at heart" this week, the New York Times reports that outside psychologists shielded and defended the US torture program.
The [American Psychological Association]’s ethics office “prioritized the protection of psychologists — even those who might have engaged in unethical behavior — above the protection of the public,” the report said...
...the report said that senior officials of the association had “colluded” with senior Defense Department officials to make certain that the association’s ethics rules did not hinder the ability of psychologists to remain involved with the interrogation program.
“The evidence supports the conclusion that A.P.A. officials colluded with D.O.D. officials to, at the least, adopt and maintain A.P.A. ethics policies that were not more restrictive than the guidelines that key D.O.D. officials wanted,” the report says, adding, “A.P.A. chose its ethics policy based on its goals of helping D.O.D., managing its P.R., and maximizing the growth of the profession.”I was frankly devastated to learn that one of the architects of the program was called as a bishop in a local LDS congregation a few years ago, though he was released a week later after the media firestorm, reportedly at his own request.
And then there's Sandra Bland. Pulled over in Texas for a minor traffic violation, charged with assaulting an officer, a 90 second video shows her on the ground with two police officers restraining her while she asks why they are treating her so roughly. Three days later she was dead, found hanging in her cell, supposedly a victim of suicide.
A vocal anti-racism activist who had just posted bail.
Two days before starting a job at her alma mater.
In a Texas county with a notoriously bad record on race.
Tanisha Anderson. Tamir Rice. Eric Garner. Yvette Smith. So many others. And now Sandra Bland.
When is enough enough?
Take a breath. There are so many amazing thoughts here... I too am troubled by the death of Sandra Bland. I just... I am having trouble engaging in a meaningful way, so I am trying to be witness to the suffering of others without engaging it, and that is mostly crap.
I have so much on my plate already, and then there's the circus in my head. After that circle, is family... all of which bring their own stress.
I wanted to thank you for your witness. I feel, that it takes people who have it together to challenge injustice. (This might not be true.)
I am not really troubled as much by Atticus's racist past - this is a prequel, right? No one is saying, really, that people are allowed to grow and change. Perhaps an earlier version of Atticus wasn't as perfect as we all remember Gregory Peck being. Through the eyes of a child, levels of nuance and subtletly can be flattened towards hero worship.
I haven't read the book yet, though. Can I borrow your copy?
As always, much love to you. -a