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Ear to the Ground

Sir Ian McKellen Speaks Ill of the Dead

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Posted on Apr 19, 2013

The British actor says what the obituaries are leaving out about Margaret Thatcher—her administration was nasty, especially when it came to homosexuality; gruesome images, like those taken during the Boston Marathon attacks, can teach us true sympathy and should not be censored or ignored; and maybe our Founding Fathers are to blame for the seeming impossibility of gun control. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

Margaret Thatcher
The official obituaries have been, as often happens, partial in both senses: sympathetic and incomplete, writes Sir Ian McKellen.

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Did Our Founders’ Lack of Foresight Doom Gun Control?
When the Senate took up the bill to expand background checks for gun purchases this week, we heard plenty rationalizations for opposing it similar to the one offered recently by Heidi Heitkamp, the newly elected Democrat from North Dakota: “In our part of the country, [gun control] isn’t an issue. This is a way of life. This is how people feel, and it is extraordinarily difficult to explain that, especially to grieving parents.” Heitkamp’s bottom line: “I’m going to represent my state.”

What We Can Learn from Extremely Violent Photography
It did not take long, after the attacks at the finish line of the Boston marathon, for images of the carnage to start rocketing around the web.

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