July 21, 2017

Tony Kushner. Photo: Ed Ritger

Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner is working on a production about Donald Trump. Rather than a symbolic character, the play will focus directly on Trump during the two years leading up to the 2016 election. “He’s the kind of person, as a writer, I tend to avoid as I think he is borderline psychotic,” Kushner said about the difficulties of writing the play. “I definitely think that incoherence lends itself well to drama, but he really is very boring.”

Bloomberg looks at the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the country’s largest network of TV stations, which requires their affiliated stations to include “must-run” clips of conservative political commentary that promote the Trump administration’s agenda in their broadcasts. “The segments look like something you might see on Fox News,” Felix Gillette writes, “but only if you stripped away Fox’s high-end graphics, state-of-the-art studios, tailored wardrobes, perfect dental hygiene, and polished scripts.” Sinclair is currently in the process of purchasing Tribune Media Co., which will add forty-two stations to the company’s portfolio.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s upcoming book will be published by Viking in 2018. The untitled work will detail Clapper’s life and career, as well as “the growing threat of cyberattacks, his relationships with presidents and Congress, and the truth about Russia’s role in the presidential election.” Wondering if “everyone in politics is writing a tell-all?” The New York Times says yes.

The Rumpus talks to Barbara Browning about ukuleles, writing fiction about real-life friends, and how politics can affect the writing process.

The 92nd Street Y has announced its literary events for the 2017-18 season. Highlights include Jennifer Egan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Zadie Smith.

BuzzFeed examines MTV’s struggle to stay relevant as cable subscriptions decline. Facing stiff competition from the internet—which Scaachi Koul notes offers free, on-demand entertainment “created by the very young people the network is trying to court—the channel has resorted to short-form video and reboots of old shows like My Super Sweet 16 instead of creating new content. “MTV used to be closely in tune with what youth culture wanted, and they were adept at leading the conversation around it,” Koul writes. “Now, it looks like they’re just trying to catch up.”

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