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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Who is Atticus Finch?; Israeli Consul General on nuke deal

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jul 17, 2015 9:28 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, July 17, 2016:

Harper Lee's novel Go Set a Watchman, the prequel, sequel, or re-edited version of Lee's classic To Kill a Mockingbird has left many uneasy.

First of all, there are questions about how the manuscript was discovered after 50 years, but that controversy pales compared to the content of the story.

Atticus Finch, the white southern lawyer who heroically represented a black man accused of raping a white woman in Mockingbird is portrayed as a racist who believes blacks are inferior to whites.

Spero Lappas, who wrote his doctoral dissertation in part on To Kill a Mockingbird appears on Friday's Smart Talk to discuss both books.

Also, The Consul General of Israel for the Mid-Atlantic region joins us to explain why Israelis are so vehemently opposed to a nuclear deal announced earlier this week with Iran.

Finally, as the state budget stalemate drags on, we'll hear from WITF's Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Wilson on whether any progress is being made two-and-a-half weeks past the beginning of the new fiscal year.

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Spero Lappas

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  • Scott LaMar img 2015-07-17 10:11

    Scott says...
    While I have not yet had a chance to read Go Set a Watchman, I am looking forward to reading it specifically to see what Atticus is in this book. Though the conversation seems to be "upsetting" at his becoming a bigot, and a far drop from his actions in Mockingbird (although more movie than book), how often have our heroes from childhood, bright white against the pitch black of the world, fallen into the haze of gray once we've grown up? Surely if such things can happen to the likes of Bill Cosby, surely that just makes the case of Atticus Finch all the more realistic.

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-07-17 10:22

    Tracy writes...
    I would encourage you to read Go Set a Watchman.

    Yes, Atticus is seen in a different light, but I think we as faithful readers of Harper Lee need to stop considering Go Set a Watchman a prequel or sequel — it is simply another side to the story of the South that she wished to tell.

    In Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee is pouring out her anger over the racial injustice and social inequality embedded in the majority of the South. She is expressing her very heated frustration that this world MUST CHANGE and it must change NOW.

    In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee tells her story with a cooler head. She is more focused on skillfully drawing her reader to inevitable conclusions about what is right and just for every human being.

    A great article posted on NPR - http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2015/07/16/423257877/go-set-a-watchman-is-a-revelation-on-race-not-a-disappointment?sc=tw - more clearly defines the gray world of Go Set a Watchman and the black & white world of To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Both books are an education to read.

    Thanks for today’s program — very informative.

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-07-17 10:23

    Craig adds...
    I was inspired by Atticus Finch when in seventh grade I read mocking bird. I read it again many years later when introducing the book to my daughter when she was that age. I felt then a certain disappointment in Atticus as an adult not as a racist but as someone who had a "live an let live attitude" even to evil. I am thinking of his neighbor's treatment of boo Riley. I have not rear watch men, but how much is the character in that book simply more of the tolerant of evil variety as opposed to actively engaged in the wrong doing. Remembering that what evil needs to triumph is such tolerance....

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-07-17 10:24

    Robert comments...
    Why are you talking to an Israeli about the Iran deal? Israel has NOTHING to do with it. Israel refused to participate in any way.

    Where is your representative of Iran? Of the Obama administration? Of any of the other nations that participated?

    Looks like bias to me.