Happy Friday! It’s been a quieter week, probably because we’re preoccupied with the fact that our planet is falling apart. Here are top five things you need to know to stay informed as the world burns around us:
1. California Fires Spread
Southern California has evacuated over 27,000 people due to the fires caused by the Santa Ana winds. It's being reported that over 150 houses have been burned, but firefighters predict that the number is most likely hundreds more, as they haven’t been able to access a lot of the burned areas yet. Schools in West Los Angeles, Ventura, Ojai, and other Southern California cities have cancelled all classes for the week, and the 405 freeway has closed down. Doctors are saying this is some of the worst air that California has ever dealt with, so for those in Southern Cali, be sure to stay inside as much as possible, and keep the firefighters who are risking their lives in your thoughts.
2. Time Magazine Person Of The Year Announced
Last year, Time Magazine chose President Trump to be their Person of the Year, which didn’t get them the most street cred. In fact, a lot of people were genuinely upset about it. This year, they clearly aimed to not make that mistake again, and instead chose the “Silence Breakers” as their Person of the Year. Among those silence breakers are Ashley Judd, Taylor Swift, Rose McGowan, Alyssa Milano, Tarana Burke, Selma Blair, and other women who spoke out in 2017 against sexual misconduct. The polarity between last year’s choice and this year’s really shows that despite the chaos going on at the White House, we have moved forward culturally as a country.
3. LA Weekly Boycott Gathers Steam
On Nov. 29, the new owners of the LA Weekly fired the staff out of nowhere. The new owners, led by former OC Register opinions editor Brian Calle, gutted all but four of the 13-person staff and have not yet replaced the editorial team. It is unclear what Calle and his cohort have planned for the future of the paper. The ex-staffers have started a revolt, demanding that LA Weekly’s advertisers stop working with them, insisting that freelancers discontinue writing for them, and asking readers to stop looking at their newspaper and website. The former staffers have stated that they hope to buy back the paper from the new owners, who are known as Semanal Media. In the meantime, they are leading a growing boycott of LA Weekly and are arranging a protest outside of the LA Weekly offices this Friday at noon.
4. J.K. Rowling Backs Johnny Depp
The author of Harry Potter, arguably the most famous book series of all time, has sided with Johnny Depp and defended the decision to keep him as one of the main actors of the new Fantastic Beasts film, for which Rowling wrote the screenplay. Depp infamously assaulted his ex-wife, Amber Heard, but his career hasn’t suffered much from that. Many Harry Potter fans were furious that Rowling would support him as an actor in the film, especially considering that she fired an actor from the franchise for drug use. Rowling put out a statement completely siding with Depp, stating that she’s so glad he is part of the franchise. Not only is this controversial, but it brings into question Rowling’s morals and ethics as a person, especially considering that she has been very vocal about the fact that she herself was a victim of domestic abuse from her first marriage.
5. Senator Al Franken is Resigning After Sexual Harassment Claims
A sixth woman recently came out with sexual harassment allegations against Al Franken, stating that he made inappropriate advances towards her. In response, and under pressure from the Democratic Party, Franken has resigned from the Senate. Upon announcing his resignation, Franken put out a statement saying, “I of all people am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.” He was oh-so-bluntly referencing President Trump in his statement, and while his words were more than true, his statement comes off as an effort to distract from his own unfortunate decisions.