paper trail

Leslie Odom Jr. signs book deal; Julie Buntin on autobiographical assumptions

Julie Buntin

Actor Leslie Odom Jr., who won a Tony award last year for playing Aaron Burr in Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Hamilton, has signed a book deal with Macmillan imprint Feiwel & Friends. Failing Up: How to Rise Above, Do Better, and Never Stop Learning will be published in March 2018. Manuel-Miranda’s musical has been a reliable producer of robust book sales: Ron Chernow’s biography of Hamilton, which the show was based on, and Hamilton: The Revolution, the musical’s libretto and a behind-the-scenes look at its creation, have both spent long stretches on the best-seller list.

Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte has been fined $385 for assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. Gianforte will also be required to complete forty hours of community service.

Parents of Sandy Hook shooting victims are criticizing Megyn Kelly’s upcoming interview on NBC with Infowars host Alex Jones, who believes that the massacre was a hoax carried out by opponents of second amendment rights. Kelly believes that the interview will help “shed a light” on Jones, whose website has been praised by Trump and now has White House press credentials. But the families, who have continually been harassed by conspiracy theorists for evidence of their loved ones’ deaths, say that Kelly and NBC should not be offering another platform for Jones to spread misinformation. “Alex and his followers have done nothing but make our lives a living hell for the last 4 1/2 years,” read a post on a memorial page for a teacher who was killed. “This incessant need for ratings at the cost of the emotional well-being of our family is disgusting and disappointing.”

The Rumpus talks to Julie Buntin about her new book, Marlena. Although the novel’s plot overlaps with Buntin’s past, she stresses that the events are fictional. “There’s this presumption of autobiography, which sometimes feels a little gendered to me, when women write in the first person—and in this case, because I have written publicly about the loss of a formative friend from adolescence,” she said. “I’ve noticed it at every turn, from my publisher to close friends from adulthood, who eye the drink in my hand a different way, having read Marlena.”

At Pacific Standard, Ted Scheinman explains why Delta and Bank of America should have waited before dropping their funding for the Public Theater’s production of Julius Caesar. Scheinman notes that the authenticity of the outrage over the play can be measured by “how many of these same malcontents were displeased by Ted Nugent's repeated death threats against President Barack Obama, or how many of them denounced the 2012 New York production of Julius Caesar where Caesar is portrayed as a stylish black politician in the Obama mold. (Spoiler: They stabbed the Obama figure many times onstage.)” Scheinman also wonders what hope other cultural products have if Shakespeare can be discarded so quickly. “The same people howling about the decline of Western civilization are the ones hastening it,” he writes, “and their greatest strength is that they are impervious to real irony.”