An early review (and excerpt) of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, which will be published tomorrow, has shocked Lee’s fans by revealing that the hero of To Kill a Mockingbird, crusading lawyer Atticus Finch, is a racist in the new novel. Go Set a Watchman, which some are calling a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, tells the story of a grown-up Scout Finch (now known as Jean Louise) returning to Alabama to visit Atticus in the 1950s. We learn that Atticus has attended a Ku Klux Klan meeting, and he has some unkind things to say about desegregation, the NAACP, and “negroes” in general. There have long been questions about whether Lee was taken advantage of in order to publish Watchman (she suffered a stroke in 2007 and now lives in an assisted-living facility), and it now seems clear the the book was a kind of trial run for Mockingbird rather than a novel that was meant to be published in its own right (there are still conflicting stories about how it was found). Some critics and scholars are welcoming the new, more-complex version of Atticus, but since he was written before the Mockingbird version, perhaps the flawed Atticus was simply a rough draft.
Gawker head Nick Denton provides an exhaustive account of the Hulk Hogan v. Gawker lawsuit so far.
A new book, A Time for Truth by Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, has been left off the New York Times bestseller list because the paper says it has found evidence of “strategic bulk buying” meant to pump up the stats. As Philip Bump points out in the Washington Post, this is a “win-win” for Cruz, because he can now freely stoke outrage over the “liberal media” (etc.) and get lots of publicity for his book, which, so far, has sold about eleven-thousand copies.
At Reddit, CEO Ellen Pao has resigned and will be replaced by the site’s original CEO, Steve Huffman. Pao has endured harassment, revolt, and a petition to oust her that garnered more than 200,000 signatures. She wrote of her departure, “In my eight months as reddit’s CEO, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly on reddit. The good has been off-the-wall inspiring, and the ugly made me doubt humanity.”