paper trail

Mohsin Hamid explains pessimism about the future; Adapting "Alias Grace"

Mohsin Hamid. Photo: Jillian Edelstein

Michael Oreskes, head of news at NPR, has resigned after multiple women alleged that he sexually assaulted them when he served as the Washington bureau chief of the New York Times. More men have come forward with allegations of sexual assault against actor Kevin Spacey. Deadline speculates that the alleged incidents—which have already halted filming on the upcoming season of House of Cards—might affect Spacey’s biopic about Gore Vidal. Netflix has yet to comment on whether the streaming service will release Gore as scheduled in 2018.

The Cut’s Anna Silman talks to Sarah Polley, whose miniseries adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace will premiere on Netflix this Friday. Polley first attempted to option the book twenty years ago, when she was 18, but Atwood wasn’t interested. “I started thinking about making it into a film when I was close to Grace’s age at the time of the murders, and now I’m almost the age Grace is at the end of the novel,” she said. “My understanding of why I was so drawn to it has changed over 20 years of psychoanalysis, which has involved talking about this book a lot.”

Mohsin Hamid explains why there is so much “pessimism and despair about the future.” Hamid says that social media encourages the natural human tendency to focus on negative information over positive. “Nobody’s going to say that today in Pakistan, 16 million mothers kissed their kids goodnight, 5 million musicians practiced their musical instruments, and 833,000 people fell in love for the first time,” he notes. “They’re going to say that today in Pakistan somebody killed five other people with a bomb. Now, that is true, but it is a fundamental omission of so much information.”

Fox News staffers criticized their network’s coverage of Robert Mueller’s indictments this week. The anonymous employees told CNN that they were embarrassed by the coverage, and that the network “feels like an extension of the Trump White House.” “I’m watching now and screaming,” one Fox News personality said in a text message. “I want to quit.”

A cache of Facebook posts and ads from Russian-controlled accounts were released by lawmakers yesterday. Ads were targeted at social media users across the political spectrum, with group topics ranging from “Defend the 2nd,” a page for gun owners, to “Don’t Shoot,” a page for citizens against police brutality. One free page, “Army of Jesus,” spread an image of “Clinton dressed as Satan, with red horns and boxing gloves, appearing to punch Jesus, who also was wearing boxing gloves, as well as a determined glare as heavenly light appeared above him.”

Tonight at NYU, Arlie Russell Hochschild talks about her latest book, Strangers in Their Own Land.