paper trail

WNYC picks up Preet Bharara's podcast; Mary Beard on social media aggression

Mary Beard

The New York Times reports on the growing trend of investing in politically-minded memes, instead of spending money on traditional marketing tools like TV and newspaper ads. “Viral media expertise is emerging as a crucial skill for political operatives, and as donors look to replicate the success of the social media sloganeers who helped lift President Trump to victory, they’re seeking out talented meme makers.”

WNYC has picked up former US Attorney Preet Bharara’s podcast. “Stay Tuned with Preet” will be a weekly show that focuses “on issues of justice and fairness.”

The Globe and Mail profiles author Joseph Boyden, whose claim of Indigenous heritage has come under scrutiny due to a land rights lawsuit. After Boyden provided a copy of an unofficial identification card to prove his Métis heritage in court, Eric Andrew-Gee writes, “This is Boyden as his sharpest critics see him: a cultural tourist flogging a dubious Indigenous identity for profit under the guise of good works, his achievement in preserving a vision of Indigenous Canada through his writing . . . undercut by the shadowy tactics and self-seeking he appears to have marshalled along the way.”

After defending a BBC schools video that showed “a high-ranking black Roman soldier” as historically accurate, author Mary Beard has received a “torrent of aggressive insults” on social media. “It feels very sad to me that we cannot have a reasonable discussion on such a topic as the cultural, ethnic composition of Roman Britain without resorting to unnecessary insult, abuse, misogyny and language of war,” she said. The Guardian has collected the tweets of Beard’s defenders, including JK Rowling, MP Diane Abbott, and Monica Lewinsky.

At Vulture, Kat Rosenfield reports on the detrimental call-out culture in Twitter’s Young Adult literature community. What started as a campaign against racism and a lack of representation in YA books has become, according to Rosenfield, “a jumble of dogpiling and dragging . . . with accusations of white supremacy on one side and charges of thought-policing moral authoritarianism on the other.” Rosenfield writes that even her reporting was “met with intense pushback” from authors, agents, and fans. “Several influential authors instructed their followers not to speak to me; and one librarian and member of the Newbery Award committee tweeted at Vulture nearly a dozen times accusing them of enabling ‘a washed-up YA author’ engaged in ‘a personalized crusade’ against the entire publishing community,” Rosenfield writes. “With one exception, all my sources insisted on anonymity, citing fear of professional damage and abuse.”