Two decades after his videotaped beating by four Los Angeles police officers, Rodney King died yesterday at the age of 47. His beating sparked outrage over police brutality. And after a jury acquitted the four police officers, that outrage erupted into riots that left some 55 dead; more than 1,000 injured; and more than $800 million in damage in the City of Los Angeles. King then posed the unanswerable question, can we all get along? which started new and sometimes painful conversations across the country.
Even before votes were counted in Egypt's first competitive presidential election, military leaders effectively seized control of the country. The ruling military council granted itself broad powers over the government, including budget control, immunity from oversight and the power to declare war.
In Jess Walter's new novel, Beautiful Ruins, there's a beaten-down character named Claire who works in Hollywood reading scripts for a living. Claire is inundated with reality TV show pitches, many of them featuring drunk models or drunk sex addicts — in short, scripts so offensive that, Claire thinks, to give them the green light for production would be akin to "singlehandedly hastening the apocalypse."