Friday High Five: From Tony Abbott to Molly Ringwald
This week’s Friday High Five brings together a selection of our favourite recent links and stories from around the internet.
‘Loose with the Truth’: Leigh Sales vs Tony Abbott
This spectacular political interview from The 7.30 Report has been doing the rounds of social media over the past day or so, generating much discussion of the state of political journalism in this country - and why we don’t more often see interviews like this, that rigorously hold our leaders to account. Beautifully done, right from Leigh’s opening salvo: ‘ You were pretty loose with the truth today, weren’t you, when you said that BHP’s decision to put the Olympic Dam project on hold was partly due to the Federal Government’s new taxes?’
The Literary Brat Pack
The 80s Brat Pack seems to be moving into a new realm: publishing. Molly Ringwald, teen muse for John Hughes and star of iconic movies like Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club, has just published her first work of fiction, When it Happens to You, a collection of interlinked short stories. She says her favourite thing to do is write characters - it’s apparently not all that different to inhabiting characters as an actor. And her Pretty in Pink co-star Andrew McCarthy has released a travel memoir this month, Cold Feat. An extract is published in the New York Times.
Molly Ringwald talking books, Twitter and John Hughes on Daily Beast TV
Wild Weather and Global Warming
National Geographic has a terrific (and terrifying) article on the links between wild weather and global warming that outlines what’s happening and why - and what we can expect as the century bears on. ‘By the end of the century the average world temperature could rise anywhere from three to eight degrees Fahrenheit—depending in part on how much carbon we emit between now and then. Scientists expect the weather to change substantially.’
Amazon Maps Political Bestsellers by State
Amazon has just introduced a heat map of the political books sold in the US. You can click on a state and find out which way its political book sales are leaning - red (Republican) or blue (Democrat). And the reds are winning, even in ‘reliably blue’ states like California. Only six states are selling more liberal than conservative titles.
Publishing industry analyst Michael Norris told Wired that this may be as much about the publishing industry as it is about politics. ‘I can tell you that there are conservative imprints and conservative publishers that are just brilliant at figuring out what kind of books their audience wants to read.’
The Politics of Rape
Rape has been one of the most discussed subjects in the western world this week, with front-page news made by debates around the Assange case (and whether the sex offences he’s being extradited to Sweden to answer charges of constitute ‘real’ rape) and the bizarre claim by Republican senator Todd Akin that in cases of ‘legitimate rape’ the female body mysteriously acts to prevent pregnancy.
On the tentative plus side, there’s obviously a lot of ignorance out there that’s been flushed to the surface, offering opportunities for logical and sympathetic discussions of what constitutes rape and how it impacts on victims. On Salon, a rape victim who got pregnant writes about her experience and her abortion, putting Akin’s comments in horrific real-life context. Karen Pickering has a terrific article on ABC’s The Drum about how rape is being used as a tool for political crusades. Stephanie Convery writes on Overland about rape, Julian Assange and the left-wing response:
‘I do not think it is inconsistent to hold the view that these particular charges in this particular circumstance may well stem from harmful instances of sexual assault deserving of some kind of justice, while simultaneously holding the position that the extradition orders should be fought.’