Also in the news: a new high-tech answer to plagiarism, and a casting switch-up in The Hate U Give. Welcome to the Daily Blunt!
You can only win so many pro-wrestling titles before you find yourself longing for different forms of success. Superstar John Cena has already crossed over into matinee idol territory, most recently voicing a certain bovine peacenik in “Ferdinand,” but 2018 is the year when he storms the literary world: his new children’s book series will kick off with a book entitled Elbow Grease, due for release in October. Cena promises his literary debut will be “a fun and engaging way to learn about the power of ambition, dedication, and heart.”
Young fans of Angela Thomas’s The Hate U Give can’t wait to watch the big-screen adaptation, but the film’s production has been momentarily put on pause by the replacement of Kian Lawley. The YouTube star had already filmed his scenes as the lead character’s boyfriend, but has been axed from the film after a video surfaced in which Lawley was recorded making racist comments (he has also been dropped by his representation at CAA following this reveal). For what it’s worth, the young performer seems to understand the enormity of his mistake, sharing a lengthy apology with his fans in a series of posts on Twitter. “I never want to be who i was yesterday,” he writes. “We’re in a constant battle to become a better version of ourselves.”
Speaking of so-called “youthful indiscretions,” universities are kicking the tires on a new form of anti-plagiarism software that’s meant to track each student’s writing style, scanning for content that varies significantly from one paper to the next. The program has been developed to curb “contract cheating,” in which students purchase pre-written essays online to submit as their own work. What happens if someone experiments with a new style or otherwise falls afoul of the machine’s sensor? As ever, be prepared to show your work.
Mark Twain cautioned against arguing with anyone who “buys ink by the barrel.” That’s what President Trump’s ongoing war against free speech (one of many fronts he’s currently fighting on) amounts to, and he can only suffer for it in the long run. Most recently, author Rebecca Solnit recaps the irreparable damage this administration has already done, attacking institutions many Americans didn’t realize they were taking for granted. Solnit chooses her shots carefully, calling out the “knowingly duplicitous” Nunes memo scandal as the latest sign that we’re bearing witness to something truly historic: the birth of a new Federal government that’s “less accountable, more discriminatory, more free to punish at will, offering far less protection to the natural environment and far fewer services and rights to residents of the USA.” If that’s not the world you want to live in, then it’s time to make your voice heard.