Your Weekend Reader for June 18-19

by | Jun 18, 2022 | Arts and Entertainment, Miscellaneous, Weekend Reader | 0 comments

Have an event you’d like to submit to this calendar? Email me at [email protected]

Happy Father’s Day weekend. If you’re wondering what might be a good movie to stream for the occasion, Atlantic writer Tom Nichols has an unusual suggestion: “Road to Perdition,” the somewhat underrated 2002 gangster flick in which director Sam Mendes craftily cast both Tom Hanks and Paul Newman against type. You might think this is an unusual choice for a Father’s Day flick, but Nichols makes a compelling case.

I’ll have a couple of other streaming movies to call to your attention later in this edition of the Weekend Reader, but let’s get to the news first.

I presume you’ve been watching at least part of the riveting hearings being held by the House of Representatives committee examining the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Maybe you’re thinking that the hearings have undercut, once and for all, the big lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Maybe you’re also thinking that the hearings will prompt Republicans who have fallen into the orbit of former President Donald Trump to finally come to their senses. Well, in November 2024, after Trump has won the presidency again, you’ll want to remember this piece from The New York Times by Jonathan Weisman about how Republicans by and large are just shrugging off the hearings.

Meanwhile, Julia Shumway of the Oregon Capital Chronicle had an update on the five Oregon men facing trials for their roles in the Jan. 6 attack. One of the five, Reed Christensen, was a GOP candidate for governor in the recent Oregon primary. He didn’t win, but he did collect some 3,000 votes.

State Sen. Sara Gelser Blouin, D-Corvallis, was in the news again this past week: Alex Baumhardt of the Oregon Capital Chronicle reported that Gelser Blouin has been looking into reports that school districts throughout Oregon, faced with staffing issues, are telling parents that they won’t be able to provide summer services for students with disabilities. It’s potentially a violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act — and it comes despite legislative action this February to allocate $150 million to schools and community organizations to offer summer learning programs.

Lynne Terry of the Capital Chronicle had an update this week about the plans to locate a massive Foster Farms chicken operation near Scio. The state Department of Agriculture had approved the facility, which would raise 3.4 million chickens annually. But this week, opponents of the facility appealed the decision, arguing — among other points — that it would damage water quality in the area. Opponents also took note that Foster Farms recently has been sold to an equity company, and how that sale could lead to an expansion of industrial chicken plants in the Northwest.

You remember how last week, mid-valley residents like me were grousing about another rainy weekend, the most recent one triggered by what experts were calling an “atmospheric river?” Turns out that we really had nothing to bellyache about — but that atmospheric river played a significant role in triggering the devastating floods in Yellowstone National Park and parts of Montana. This Associated Press story makes the connection. Back when I was working in the Gazette-Times newsroom, I often lamented how the mid-valley has what I called “boring” weather — which is to say, it rarely yielded interesting news. I think I’ll just shut my mouth about that now.

Here’s a new story from The Oregonian/OregonLive about how (and why) Oregon is currently awash in unreported COVID cases. I am not proud to tell you that the experience of the COVID sufferer quoted by reporter Fedor Zarkhin almost exactly mirrors my own: I got careless about masking, went to a public event, experienced a sore throat two days later that I (just like the person Zarkhin quoted) initially attributed to dust allergies, woke up the next morning feeling like Proud Boys had beaten me about the head and shoulders throughout the night and knew I had COVID even before an at-home test confirmed it. (An email from another participant in the public event offered additional confirmation.) So I am among the thousands of Oregon residents with an unreported case of COVID. I’m feeling better now, and tested negative on Friday — but, as we now know, those negative at-home tests essentially are meaningless. But I’m not letting my mask down any time soon. And if you haven’t picked up your second booster shot, let me urge you to do so. This story from The Oregonian, by the way, is a subscriber exclusive; I wish The Oregonian would follow the lead of The Atlantic and move its coronavirus coverage outside its paywall.

What happens when local news outlets aren’t up to the job of covering their communities — an not-uncommon occurrence as newspaper owners slash their newsrooms? A new study from the United Kingdom has the depressing, but not completely unexpected, answer: Residents turn to Facebook and other social-media platforms. Laura Hazard Owen, writing for the Nieman Lab at Harvard, has the details.

Speaking of journalism, an alert reader of the Weekend Reader called my attention to this item from the Pew Research Center: The center recently asked journalists what they thought news outlets did well in performing their core functions. Nearly two-thirds of the journalists surveyed said they believed news outlets did a very good or good job of covering the big news of the day and reporting the news accurately. Unfortunately, Pew also asked members of the public the same question — and just 41 percent said news outlets were doing a good job of covering the big stories and only about a third thought the news was being reported accurately. These results suggest a big flaw in those campaigns you see urging citizens to support local journalism: They’re asking news consumers to dig deep to support outlets readers think aren’t doing a good job. With that said, though, let me repeat a point I frequently make: Even if the owner of your local news outlet is making big cuts in its newsroom, even if the paper is a shadow of its former self, it’s still worth supporting. You’ll miss those independent news outlets when they’re gone.

Finally this week, a word about those movies I mentioned above: Two new movies have opened this weekend on streaming services that might be worth your attention: Emma Thompson is earning perhaps the best reviews of her distinguished career for her new movie, “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande,” in which she plays a widowed woman who hires a sex worker. The movie has received plenty of coverage because Thompson, at 63, appears naked in it — but her performance, as you would expect, transcends that. The movie is playing on Hulu.

And Apple TV+ is showing what people are saying might be the next “CODA”: Cooper Raiff’s “Cha Cha Real Smooth,” in which the 25-year-old Raiff plays a recent college graduate, now working as a party starter for bar mitzvahs, who gets involved with the 30-something mother of an autistic teenager. Raiff also wrote and directed the movie, which Apple bought for a cool $15 million after it wowed audiences at the Sundance Film Festival — a similar trajectory to the one “CODA” traced as it went on to win the Oscar for best picture.

These are the types of movies that have a hard time finding space at the multiplex, clogged as it is with blockbusters. Also, they tend to appeal to older moviegoers, who are still having a hard time making their way back to the multiplex unless it happens to be showing “Top Gun: Maverick.” In fact, “Leo Grande” isn’t playing in domestic theaters at all, which will disqualify Thompson from what would have been a shoo-in Oscar nomination. In The New York Times, Thompson seemed unperturbed by this, saying it might be better to see an intimate, character-driven movie like “Leo Grande” in an intimate setting such as one’s living room. But I’m not sure I’m happy at the prospect that only movies with guns or superheroes or car chases (or, better yet, all three) get a shot on the big screen. I wouldn’t mind the chance to see a movie like “Leo Grande” on the big screen — even if it means occasionally overhearing the explosions and gunfights leaking over from the blockbuster showing in the theater next door.

That’s it for this week. Have a happy Father’s Day, and I’ll be back next weekend.

Want your art event listed?

Read more published work

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Recent Blog Posts

Your Weekend Reader for June 15-16

Your Weekend Reader for June 15-16

Suicide in the West. Kristof’s harsh words for liberals. Wildfire smoke. OSU’s athletics budget. Minutes from the county commission. Transcriptions from your iPhone. Weird scenes at the amusement park. Funny highway signs. And Biden bingo. It’s a good edition of Your Weekend Reader.

read more
Your Weekend Reader for June 8-9

Your Weekend Reader for June 8-9

New angles on the rural-urban divide. Rising seas. OHSU layoffs. The British (journalists) are coming. A federal Project Turnkey? A swiped statue. An old scam, with an FBI twist. And look on the bright side of life. It’s all in the new edition of Your Weekend Reader.

read more
Your Weekend Reader for June 1-2

Your Weekend Reader for June 1-2

Unexpected ramifications from the Trump verdicts. Life at a newspaper’s democracy desk. Fact-based journalism. Oregon politics. California ponders psychedelics. What’s wrong at the box office? All of this, and more, is in the next edition of Your Weekend Reader.

read more

Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company.

Comments on this website are the sole responsiblity of their writers and the writers will take full responsiblity, liability and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment.

We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason whatsoever.

More Blog Posts

Your Weekend Reader for June 15-16

Suicide in the West. Kristof’s harsh words for liberals. Wildfire smoke. OSU’s athletics budget. Minutes from the county commission. Transcriptions from your iPhone. Weird scenes at the amusement park. Funny highway signs. And Biden bingo. It’s a good edition of Your Weekend Reader.

read more

Your Weekend Reader for June 8-9

New angles on the rural-urban divide. Rising seas. OHSU layoffs. The British (journalists) are coming. A federal Project Turnkey? A swiped statue. An old scam, with an FBI twist. And look on the bright side of life. It’s all in the new edition of Your Weekend Reader.

read more