Gay Drama Teacher Rewritten as Straight for Rise

“Rise” by © 2017 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Editor's Note:

Also in the news: An update on conversion therapy legislation, and the author of a different Fire & Fury finds himself in spotlight. It’s your Daily Blunt!

NBC’s new show “Rise” is adapted from Michael Sokolove’s book Drama High: The Incredible True Story of a Brilliant Teacher, a Struggling Town, and the Magic of Theater, but there’s an unexpected twist: in the televised version of these events, the real-life teacher in question will be portrayed as straight, not gay. Responses from Jason Katims, the show’s executive producer, have only made this harder for fans of the book to accept. “I felt like I needed to make it my own story,” he told the press, leaning on the show’s other “LGBT elements” to make up for the change. The resulting backlash seems to be coming from those who found the premise of this show inspiring in the first place. “Rise” is scheduled to debut in March.

Here’s some better news: two Virginia lawmakers have introduced bills to ban the practice of so-called conversion therapy for minors in their state. These therapies have been widely disavowed as ineffective or even harmful by every professional medical association, but so far only a handful of states have made it illegal for parents to subject their children to them. A film inspired by Garrard Conley’s memoir on the subject, Boy Erased, is slated to premiere this September, and will star Nicole Kidman as the main character’s concerned mother.

Chalk this one up to people not reading closely enough: sales of Fire & Fury, a 2008 book about the bombing of Germany during WWII, has jumped onto bestseller lists because of people who mistakenly believe they’re ordering the Michael Wolff book of the same name. The author, Randall Hansen, couldn’t be more pleased — particularly because his book depicts the real and terrifying effects of warfare, a subject which unfortunately remains quite timely: “We’re talking about that at a moment when we have this warmongering, unstable, deranged demagogue in the White House,” he told The Guardian.

“How honest can an author be with an auditorium full of elementary school kids? How honest should we be with our readers? Is the job of the writer for the very young to tell the truth or preserve innocence?” These are the questions that children’s author Matt de la Peña is seeking answers to, in the wake of a recent Q&A with his readers. In his essay for Time, entitled “Why We Shouldn’t Shield Children From Darkness,” he describes how misgivings in these areas have informed which emotions he chooses to tap into — and which storytelling risks he’s glad he took.