Good Reads: From women senators, to Appalachia’s woes, to a shadow war
This week's round-up of Good Reads includes a look at the women Senators who reach across the bipartisan divide, lessons to be learned from Nelson Mandela's human failings and personal greatness, Appalachia's drug problem, Journalist's waning public favor, and America's war against Al Qaeda in the Philippines.
(Page 2 of 2)
Brooklyn film director Sean Dunne turned a three-week chronicle of drug addiction in Appalachia into a harrowing and award-winning documentary. But the backlash from residents of Oceana, W.Va., (dubbed Oxyana for the widespread abuse of the prescription painkiller Oxycontin) has called into question the journalistic veracity of the film and the logic of Mr. Dunne’s evasive response to those who question the same. But as Alec MacGillis explores in The New Republic, the issue involves more than just a cultural clash of hipsters versus hillbillies.Skip to next paragraph
Whistle blowing on Nigeria's corruption: Will central banker's oil allegations reverberate?
Lebanon's entrepreneurs find opportunity in turmoil
Good Reads: From snow days, to a bright tech future, to ride shares, to binge TV
Venezuela: Why are brushes with crime so pervasive?
Nearing elections, India halts new policies. It's the law.
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Residents have taken issue with Dunne’s portrayal of Oceana as “a hellscape” where, in the words of one film subject, “Ain’t nothing but junkies and hookers hanging out on the streets.” But the film has also evoked “resolute self-scrutiny” of the region’s drug problem. Frustrated residents say the addiction pandemic in Appalachia gets little attention and few resources. Mr. MacGillis wonders if documentary filmmakers should tell that broader story.
Journalists lose favor
The Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life has released its latest poll on which occupations Americans perceive as contributing to society the most. Not surprisingly, the military continues to be held in high regard (78 percent say the armed services contribute “a lot” to society’s well-being). Teachers rank second on the list of 10 professions. And lawyers rank at the bottom, close behind business executives – ironically the only group whose percentage has improved since the 2009 survey.
Americans continue to have a “middling” view of clergy (just 37 percent of Americans feel they make a big contribution to society, and still only 52 percent among regular churchgoers). But perhaps most notable, since 2009, journalists have dropped the most in public esteem, particularly among women.
The shadow war you don’t know about
War correspondent David Axe has posted an excerpt of his forthcoming book “Shadow Wars” at Medium.com – a long-form, social blogging platform. The post looks at America’s little-known “shadow war” fighting Al Qaeda-affiliated rebels in the northern jungles of the Philippines from 2001 to 2012.
All told, 600 US military and civilian personnel worked with the Filipino military over the past decade, officially only as advisers, unofficially waging a war, complete with drones and missiles (according to reports that the military denied). In February 2012, with a tip from an informant, the United States killed several key Al Qaeda leaders with an airstrike.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino saw an opportunity to extend a hand to the rebels. Perhaps foreseeing further doom, the rebels cut their alliance with Al Qaeda and joined in peace talks. “With the signing of the peace deal,” Mr. Axe explains, “America could tentatively claim victory in its Philippines shadow war.”
RECOMMENDED: Nelson Mandela: 10 quotes on his birthday