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Richard Pryor's Daughter Opens Up About The Racism Her Family Faced In Beverly Hills

When Rain Pryor was born in 1969, her father, Richard Pryor, had already begun transitioning from a relatively mild joke-telling comedian to a fearless, outspoken comic whose routines doubled as raw social commentary. As Pryor’s comedy was shifting, so was the country, moving toward more progressive values. But, as his daughter Rain points out, blatant racism still affected countless families, including her own.

Speaking with “Oprah: Where Are They Now?”, the 47-year-old actress opened up about her childhood, setting the scene for what her interracial family faced during that time in their Beverly Hills community.

“My dad’s Richard Pryor. My mother, Shelley, was a poor Jewish woman,” Rain says. “Imagine, if you will, Beverly Hills in the early ‘70s. Here I am, this mixed-race child [with] my golden skin, my big poufy hair ― because Mom knew nothing about a pressing comb ― [and] my mom’s blond-haired, blue-eyed, looking like Cher, wearing dashikis.”

For context, this time period was just a few short years after the famed Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia, which made laws against interracial marriage unenforceable. Prior to that, interracial couples in certain states faced jail time if they wed. 

“My parents were only married four years after [the Lovings] were allowed to legally marry,” Rain says. “So, here I am, now born into this. I’m a product of this thing that everyone was against.”

Despite her father’s success and their home being in an affluent area, Rain says her family endured racist horrors.

“What was ironic is to then be in this house in Beverly Hills and having crosses burned on our front lawn in the middle of the night,” she says. “And the word n***r painted on the side of our home.” 

Rain details more of her childhood and growing up as Richard Pryor’s daughter on “Oprah: Where Are They Now?”, airing Saturday, Aug. 20, at 10 p.m. ET on OWN. 

Another interracial couple’s struggle:

Tamera Mowry recalls shocking comments about her interracial marriage

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aug 18 16, 15:47
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Very Extra 4-Year-Old Outshines Pre-K Class In 'Moana' Performance

Some 4-year-olds are destined to shine.

Sophia Urquijo sang a show-stealing rendition of “How Far I’ll Go” from Disney’s animated film “Moana” during her preschool graduation ceremony in Miami earlier this month.

As seen in the video above, Sophia stands out among her classmates as she belts out the catchy Disney song with passion, emphasizing her high notes with dramatic arm movements reminiscent of a tiny Whitney Houston.

The class’s performance of the “Moana” song was meant to be a surprise for the graduates’ parents, which made Sophia’s performance even more fun to watch, Michelle Neshin, Sophia’s mom, told “Inside Edition.”

“I was like really shocked,” Neshin, 28, said. “I had no idea it was coming.”

Sophia’s larger-than-life performance has been viewed more than 13 million times since Neshin posted the video on Facebook on June 10. 

And if you couldn’t tell from the video, Neshin said that Sophia has a “huge, huge personality.”

“She’s usually spunky and has a corky personality, but that was something else even for her,” Neshin told ABC News.

If you need a little more joy in your day, watch Sophia’s performance one more time in the video below.

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jun 21 17, 06:23
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Uber Board Member Makes Sexist Joke At Company Meeting About Sexism

An Uber board of directors member made a sexist crack about his female colleagues at a Tuesday meeting on the company’s plans to address complaints of sexism and other workplace culture problems.

The board member, billionaire David Bonderman, has since apologized to employees. 

Bonderman can be heard making the disparaging remark in audio obtained by Yahoo at the meeting with Uber employees, as the company takes steps to address its flawed workplace culture, including the complaints of discrimination and sexual harassment.    

Fellow board member Arianna Huffington, the former editor-in-chief of HuffPost, spoke about bringing Nestle executive Wan Ling Martello onto the board, saying data showed that having women in such positions was a way to increase the hiring of females. 

“Actually, what it shows is that it’s much more likely to be more talking,” Bonderman said.

In the audio, Huffington laughs politely, saying, “Oh, come on, David.”

Addressing the group, she then says, “Don’t worry, David will have a lot of talking to do as well,” before moving on to a new topic.

The incident occurred the same day embattled Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced he would be taking a leave of absence to grieve for his mother, who recently died in a boating accident.

Bonderman, 74, apologized for his attempt at humor in an email sent to Uber employees, according to his spokesman. He is the chairman and cofounder of TPG Capital, a major private equity investment firm.

“I want to apologize to my fellow board member for a disrespectful comment that was directed at her during today’s discussion,” Bonderman wrote. “It was inappropriate. I also want to apologize to all Uber employees who were offended by the remark. I deeply regret it.”

Huffington acknowledged Bonderman’s apology in a statement provided to HuffPost. 

”David has apologized to all Uber employees for a remark that was totally inappropriate and against the new culture we are building at Uber,” she said.

Bonderman’s comment came at the meeting where company officials pledged to follow the recommendations from a scathing report on its practices following intense criticism over its workplace culture. The company began the independent investigation process in February after former engineer Susan Fowler published a blog post alleging discrimination and sexual harassment. 

Chief Human Resources Officer Liane Hornsey said on Tuesday the company was committed to rebuilding trust, but said that “change does not happen overnight.”

“Implementing these recommendations will improve our culture, promote fairness and accountability, and establish processes and systems to ensure the mistakes of the past will not be repeated,” Hornsey said in a statement.

Ryan Grenoble contributed reporting.

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jun 14 17, 01:02
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Mitch McConnell-Aligned Group Attacks Congressman For Being A 'Washington Insider'

WASHINGTON ― A super PAC that is aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday issued a head-scratching statement in response to Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) announcing his decision to run for Senate. 

The Senate Leadership Fund, which pours money into campaigns of McConnell-preferred Senate candidates across the country, dismissed Brooks as a “Washington insider” ― an odd line of attack for an organization tied to McConnell and his many years in national politics. 

Brooks, a hardline conservative and a member of the House Freedom Caucus, said Monday that he plans to challenge Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.). Strange was appointed to fill the Senate seat left vacant when Jeff Sessions was confirmed as attorney general in February. 

“While Luther Strange was cleaning up the corruption in Montgomery, Mo Brooks was living the life of a Washington insider, opposing Donald Trump and failing to get a single bill signed into law in four terms in the House,” super PAC spokesman Chris Pack said. 

“If Brooks can’t cut it in the House, how can he be trusted to deliver results in the U.S. Senate?” he added. “It’s clear Mo Brooks is more interested in advancing his own career than he is with delivering for Alabama.”

The Senate Leadership Fund wouldn’t need to look far for other material to use against Brooks. The immigration hawk has previously accused Democrats of waging a “war on whites” and pursuing comprehensive immigration reform in order to “dilute the voting power of Americans who are alive and voting today.” He suggested former President Barack Obama could face impeachment and jail time for his executive actions on immigration. And he has said the American Muslim community would “kill every homosexual in the United States of America” if it had its way.

Most recently, Brooks sparked a backlash after he acknowledged that Republicans’ American Health Care Act would let insurers discriminate between healthy people and sick people. The congressman went on to say that was OK because it would lower premiums for people who “have done the things to keep their bodies healthy … who have done things the right way.”

The primary for the Alabama Senate special election is scheduled for Aug. 15. Roy Moore, the suspended chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, is also running in the race.

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may 15 17, 20:50
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'Pretty Little Liars' Is Almost Over, But A Spinoff Could Be In The Works

We are nearing the end of “Pretty Little Liars,” and we still have so many questions. Who is A.D.? Whose side is Mona really on? And what in God’s name was Aria wearing all these years?

Well, it’s time to add another question to your ever-expanding list: Will “Pretty Little Liars” get a spinoff series after its seven-year run?

Showrunner I. Marlene King certainly isn’t ruling it out. When asked if a “PLL” spinoff could be a possibility, King replied, “Definitely.”

“It’s not a for sure thing, but there’s some ideas swirling around out there,” King told Entertainment Tonight. “Everybody knows I love this world, I love to play in this world and I love these characters, so it would be fun to keep a few of them moving forward in their lives.” 

No word yet on which characters King would like to focus on, but Vulture pointed out that the “Pretty Little Liars” cast unanimously agrees that Alison deserves her own spinoff.

I love her character!” Lucy Hale told Vulture earlier this year. “I love all of [the Liars], I even love Aria, but I think you have so many places [Alison] could go because [she has] such a messed up past.” 

Amen to that.

“Pretty Little Liars” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform. The series finale will air on June 27. 

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jun 19 17, 22:31
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Tinder Issues Lifetime Ban After Man Calls His Match A 'Chink' And 'C**t'

Tinder banned from its app this week a man they deemed a “sexist pig” after his abusive text messages to a Tinder match surfaced on Facebook.

In a statement released Wednesday (which happened to be National Pig Day), Tinder executive Rosette Pambakian announced that it was swiping a 24-year-old Tinder user identified as Nick “off the island.”

“Tinder has a zero-tolerance policy on disrespect,” Pambakian wrote. “No racist rants. No sexist pigs. No trolling. No jerks who can’t get over their own inadequacies long enough to have a decent conversation with another person on Tinder.”

Tinder banished Nick from the dating app after a man named Kevin Tran posted screenshots of Nick’s messages, which show Nick berating a woman for not responding to him quickly enough. In the messages, Nick appears to tell his Tinder match, “Ugh you chinks are all the same,” then he calls her a “dumb cunt.” 

Nick’s Tinder match, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Huffington Post that Nick’s text messages “came off as very hostile, angry and hateful.” 

She forwarded the text messages to her friend Tran, who had turned up as a mutual friend between her and Nick on Tinder. She told Tran that Nick became upset when she didn’t respond to his messages right away and he began insulting her.

“Receiving racially charged hate speech was completely shocking, and I hope nobody has to experience that,” the woman told HuffPost.

“When my friend had told me what Nick said, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt because I had previously known him and I wanted to confirm before she posted the screenshots on her own Facebook,” Tran told HuffPost.

Tran said he text-messaged Nick, confronting him about the messages. Nick responded by telling Tran that someone had created a fake profile using his photos and denied that he texted the woman, according to BuzzFeed.

Tran then posted screenshots of the text messages to Facebook “because he had reacted so explosively without a trigger (besides rejection),” Tran said.

“The fact that he denied everything and proceeded to block me after a quick conversation, his actions suggested to me that this was probably not the first time this has happened,” Tran told HuffPost. 

Tran provided HuffPost with the original screenshot of Nick’s text messages. HuffPost called the number from the screenshots on Friday, but the line had been disconnected.

After Nick’s text messages went viral, more women who claimed they’d been insulted by Nick stepped up.

A woman named Katie, whose last name is not being used to prevent harassment, told HuffPost that Nick once sent her unsolicited photos of his penis on Snapchat, which caused her to block him.

“This is 100% nothing new for this dude,” Katie wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. “He’s repeatedly pushed boundaries with myself and people I know, sending unsolicited nudes more than once like NAHHH man.”

Another woman who goes by Liz on Twitter claims she went on a date with Nick using the dating app Bumble. She said that she wasn’t interested in Nick but “he didn’t seem to accept my reasons and texted me 3 times after that.”

Liz did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment. 

Pambakian told Nick in her open letter that she was “personally offended” and called his text messages an “assault, not only on her, but on all of us.”

You have a lot to learn, Nick. ... Women’s voices are only getting louder. So let me say this loud and clear: you and your kind are not welcome in our world.

And we have the power to keep you out of it.

Pambakian provided HuffPost with a follow-up statement to her original letter, which encouraged more Tinder users to expose abusive behavior. 

“We believed it was important to send a very loud and clear message that we don’t tolerate abusive behavior on our platform,” she said in a statement. “We encourage anyone who has encountered this type of behavior to report the user immediately so we can take swift action to remove them from our platform.”

The moral of the story is to be a decent human being ― especially on dating apps, where people can get their receipts.

Read Pamkaian’s full letter here.

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mar 4 17, 05:33
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'Wheel Of Fortune' Contestant Robert Santoli Demolishes The Competition With Epic Run

Pat Sajak and his team better watch out because “Wheel of Fortune” contestant Robert Santoli is stealing the show.

Santoli amazed Sajak -- and TV viewers -- last Friday when he had one of the most amazing "Wheel of Fortune" appearances most have ever seen. Before making off with $76,000 in winnings, Santoli impressed the audience by doing things like guessing the answer to a phrase with just one letter on the board.  

Eventually, Sajak sounded weary every time he called on the 23-year-old whiz (although we feel bad for the people Santoli was competing against!). 

A native of Yorktown, New York, Santoli told a local news site that he dominated mainly because he studied a lot for the show beforehand after finding out it would have a nautical theme. 

“The instant I got my theme, I immediately came up with an ever-growing list of puzzles themed toward cruises, sailing, fish, boats -- anything on or in the water," Santoli told Tap Into.

Santoli said he first tried out for the show when he was 19. Though he's obviously proud of his performance, the game show winner said he apologized to his fellow contestants and wished them "no hard feelings" after the show.

And yes -- he's aware he appeared a little over-enthused on the show, but who can blame him? 

"I know I look like a bit of a dork on the show with my high-pitched ‘Yeahs!’ and my childish jumping up and down after winning the Bonus Round, but I was really, to quote the Round 4 puzzle, 'Living in the Moment,'" Santoli told Tap Into, adding that he was anxious and shaking the whole show. 

The "Wheel of Fortune" champ said that he will pay off his college loans with the winnings and possibly buy a car, fulfilling the dream of millennials everywhere. 

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mar 30 16, 20:51
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Trump’s Outsourcing Of War Decision-Making Worries Democrats

WASHINGTON ― Democrats say President Donald Trump’s move last week giving the Pentagon authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan flies in the face of a longstanding tradition of civilian control over the military.

“It’s not what the Constitution provides for,” said Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). “We still need civilian oversight of the military. I trust [Defense Secretary James] Mattis, but even the secretaries I trust and respect need oversight, and that’s his job.” 

Trump’s move to step away from military decision-making mirrors his actions in April giving the military more control over war-making in Iraq and Syria. The Defense Department said the change would give commanders greater flexibility to deploy troops in the field as needed. But it also would insulate the president from criticism, particularly in Afghanistan, where America has been at war for 16 years and where it has spent trillions of dollars with no end in sight.

The U.S. is expected to add as many as 4,000 troops in Afghanistan, according to The Associated Press, despite Trump’s campaign rhetoric denouncing nation-building and foreign wars. The Trump administration has yet to release its long-promised military strategy for Afghanistan, drawing criticism it was plunging further into a conflict without a real plan.

“Troop strength is not an end. It’s a means to an end,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said Thursday on Capitol Hill. “We don’t know what the strategy is. They need to bring a strategy to us, and then we can have that conversation.” 

The degree to which presidents assert control over their military commanders has varied over the years. Former President Barack Obama, for example, was repeatedly accused of micromanaging the military as he sought to wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It was micromanagement that drove me crazy,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in 2014.

Trump, who has offered public adoration of generals, appears to be going in the opposite direction.

The change is being received well by Republican lawmakers.

“That’s not outsourcing,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). “He’s the secretary of defense. The president of the U.S. should always listen to his commander, chief of staff of the armed forces and the secretary of defense. That’s what they’re all about.”

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) said he had confidence in Mattis.

I’m the son of a Marine myself,” Daines said. “I think having a four-star Marine as the secretary of defense is exactly the right person at the right time.”

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), however, expressed a more moderate tone. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman said he had confidence in the military’s ability to set appropriate troop levels, but added, “We also need to be careful to maintain civilian control over that.”

Mattis, the man who is now in charge of setting troop levels in the Middle East, only recently left the military. The retired general, whose nicknames include “Mad Dog” and “Warrior Monk,” was replaced as head of U.S. Central Command in 2013 by the Obama administration for his aggressive posture toward Iran. His nomination required a special exemption from a statute that prohibited commissioned officers from serving as secretary of defense until seven years after active duty. Many Democrats joined Republicans in supporting that waiver.

The question of who allocates troop deployment is one of great significance. Military commanders, for example, have historically recommended deployment of larger numbers of troops abroad.

The issue was briefly discussed at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Thursday, where lawmakers debated drafting a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force against the so-called Islamic State. Kathleen Hicks, the senior fellow in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, testified that that both the Pentagon and the White House had responsibility for use of force.

Mattis “should be held responsible for decisions on use of force, and so should the president, obviously,” Hicks said in response to questioning by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.). “So there is a civilian that remains, but it’s just one.” 

Other ways for Congress to maintain oversight over the military, Hicks added, included passing a new authorization of force, strictly enforcing the War Powers Act, and the power of the purse.

Trump’s decision to delegate troop levels “makes all the more of a compelling case for an AUMF to be passed,” Menendez said in agreement.

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jun 21 17, 01:55
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First Muslim Is Elected President Of The College Chaplains Association

A national organization of university religious leaders elected its first Muslim president last week in a move that could influence college diversity for years.

The National Association of College and University Chaplains recently elected Imam Adeel Zeb to be its next president. Zeb serves as the Muslim chaplain at the Claremont University Consortium in Southern California and will assume the one-year, volunteer position at NACUC this summer. 

For Zeb, his election serves not only as a personal milestone but also as one he hopes will inspire other non-Christian religious leaders to enter the field of college chaplaincy.

“When we were being sworn into our new positions, it felt like a civil rights moment,” Zeb told The Huffington Post. 

College chaplaincy has traditionally been dominated by Christians. And it still is, with the exception of a handful of non-Christian deans of religious life and top university chaplains around the country.

There are a number of reasons for that lack of diversity. One is that the majority of Americans identify as Christians, though the percentage appears to be dwindling. “So when they’re looking to hire chaplains, universities typically hire Christians,” Zeb said.

Another issue is that colleges frequently have one position that fills the roles of both top spiritual director and minister of the campus chapel. Since many colleges have Protestant roots, that role typically needs to be filled by a minister of that faith.

“It’s important to remember that many of our universities started affiliated to a seminary or with some denomination, all Christian,” Rabbi Dena Bodian, current NACUC president, told HuffPost.

But Bodian added that having non-Christian voices both in campus chaplaincy and in national associations that represent the field “helps to reframe the conversation about campus religious life in really important ways.”

Most research universities and liberal arts colleges have an office of religious life or an equivalent. One dean or chaplain typically heads up that office. The school may also have an associate dean, as well as a number of other chaplains specific to different faith communities.

Those affiliate chaplain positions aren’t always full-time, salaried positions with the universities. Some are operated on a volunteer basis and others are funded by outside organizations.

Zeb said he knew of roughly 13 full-time Muslim chaplains serving at colleges in the U.S. and Canada. Many of them are paid by outside nonprofits and mosques, he said, and none hold their campus’ top spiritual leadership position.

But campus religious leadership is going through a transition. This academic year, Dartmouth College appointed Rabbi Daveen Litwin to its top chaplaincy position. Another rabbi, David Leipziger Teva, became the founding director of Wesleyan University’s office of religious and spiritual life in 2007. The following year, the University of Southern California hired Varun Soni, a Hindu lawyer and scholar, to head its office of religious life.

The change has been slow. These recent hires are a significant minority, and Soni admitted he has been lonely being one of the few non-Christian deans of religious life in the country.

“As all of us think deeply about diversity in higher education, it’s clear that chaplaincy is pretty far behind the conversation,” Soni told HuffPost.

“We still haven’t seen a Muslim dean of religious life, or a Sikh or Buddhist or humanist one,” he added. “We haven’t seen the kind of diversity in chaplaincy that we see in our student bodies.”

America’s shift away from Christianity and organized religion is happening rapidly on college campuses. Students increasingly identify as religiously unaffiliated and are looking for creative outlets for their spiritual lives, Soni said. In a 2013 survey, two-thirds of college students identified either as secular or more spiritual than religious, according to USA Today.

That doesn’t make the job of campus chaplains any less significant, but it tasks universities with finding spiritual leaders who can cater to the needs of a vastly diverse student body.

“We need university chaplains who are thinking really creatively about how to support students with these perspectives,” Soni said.

As the Muslim chaplain at Claremont, Zeb meets with both Muslim and non-Muslim students. His personal faith doesn’t particularly matter to the students who come seeking counsel, he said. When they arrive in his office, their concerns are usually universal.

“Sometimes I don’t even know what their faith is. The issues the students are facing most of the time are not religious in nature. They’re human in nature ― things like family issues, relationships and mental health.”

While faith shifts toward a more spiritual, universal lens on college campuses, it has become increasingly polarized in the political arena. As a Muslim, Zeb belongs to one of the most targeted religious communities in the U.S. But his role with NACUC may inspire other Muslim leaders to push ahead in spite of bias.

“Adeel is also a trailblazer,” Soni said. “I consider him to be a pioneer, and his appointment is significant. He will inspire other Muslim leaders to think about university chaplaincy.”

Zeb said hopes universities will start to pay attention, too. “I do feel that in the future people will start looking at the candidate not because of their faith but because of what impact they can have as ethical leaders for their college campus.”

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feb 14 17, 03:05
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Margaret Atwood Speaks Out Against Anti-Abortion Legislation In The U.S.

Since her classic 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale was adapted into a TV series for Hulu, Margaret Atwood has used the story as a jumping-off point for discussion around current events.

In a recent call for more public library funding, Atwood reminded fans there are no libraries in Gilead, her fictional authoritarian regime. (“It’s no coincidence,” she added.) Atwood noted that a free press was not protected in Gilead, either, in a letter distributed by PEN America earlier this year regarding censorship and free expression.

Most recently, the author brought up Gilead at New York City’s BookCon 2017 this past weekend, likening recent abortion legislation in Texas to “a form of slavery.”

Atwood spoke on a panel alongside “The Handmaid’s Tale” showrunner Bruce Miller, discussing the historical precedents for Gilead and the intersection of their art and activism.

“I’m not a real activist,” Atwood explained, because activists get paid for their work, and she, on the other hand, doesn’t “have a job.” Her perch as an artist, she continued, makes it possible for her to say the things that others want to say, but feel unable to. For this reason, she said, she would never survive a fascist society because artists are usually targeted first.

“So, you are not yet living in a fascist society,” Atwood told BookCon crowds. “Whoopee.”

When the panel opened up to audience questions, Atwood was asked to put her speculative fiction abilities to use to predict what’s in store for the United States.

“I’m not a clairvoyant,” Atwood said. Instead, she said she looks at what’s happened in the past ― and what’s happening in the present ― when creating future, fictional worlds.

“I was born in 1939,” she said. “What was going on in 1939?”

Atwood continued to explain that she’s read a great deal about fascism, and is an avid reader of prisoners’ diaries. In fact, when asked what further reading she would recommend to fans of her book, she suggested The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: a History of Nazi Germany by William L. Shirer.

So, The Handmaid’s Tale arose from her imagining what fascism would look like in America. “It wouldn’t be atheistic,” she said.

While she didn’t feel qualified to comment on America’s possible future, she did provide a lengthy, impassioned comment on the current state of affairs ― regarding a question about abortion legislation in Texas.

“I’m [...] waiting for a lawsuit that says if you force me to have children I cannot afford, you should pay for the process,” she said. “It is really a form of slavery to force women to have children that they cannot afford and then to say that they have to raise them.”

Atwood also addressed the ways in which the Hulu adaptation of her book takes seriously the issue of climate change. Pollution and other environmental concerns catalyze the establishment of Gilead in the book, but in the show, the changing climate is more central to the plot.

The update to the show, Atwood said, was made to reflect what’s currently happening in the world. The author cited the example of everyday plastics affecting male fertility.

“But you’re not allowed to say that,” she noted.

Fans of The Handmaid’s Tale ― both the book and the TV show ― will know that her comments fit with the world Atwood wrote about. In her fictional Gilead, women bear the burden of society’s fertility issues, while male infertility is either ignored or dealt with in secrecy. That Atwood ensured her story was drawn from events and trends already existing in real life makes her vision of a possible future that much more frightening.


Editor’s note: The author of this article moderated the BookCon panel featuring Margaret Atwood and Bruce Miller.

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jun 5 17, 19:48
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