The Week Unwrapped: Presidential secrets, stolen art and a new Barbie

Why are US presidents in trouble with the National Archives? Is art confiscated by the Nazis heading back to its rightful owners?

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days. With Arion McNicoll, Julia O’Driscoll and Suchandrika Chakrabarti.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

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Classified documents

This week the US National Archives asked several former presidents to check their properties for classified papers. The request followed the discovery of secret documents at the homes or offices of Donald Trump, Joe Biden and Mike Pence. The political consequences of these cases have been widely discussed, but what about the implications for national security – and open government? Is the US classifying too many documents in the first place?

Art restitution

Pablo Picasso’s Woman Ironing has been at the Guggenheim museum in New York since the 1970s, but the relatives of a Jewish man who fled Nazi Germany during the Second World War are suing the Guggenheim Foundation and calling for the artwork’s return – or equivalent compensation. As collectors and galleries face a growing number of challenges over looted art, will 2023 become a year of restitution?

A doll with scoliosis

A new addition to the Barbie doll family, a daughter who goes by the name of Chelsea, comes with a back brace, which she will wear to counter the effects of scoliosis. It is, according to the toy maker Mattel, an attempt to encourage children to develop a sense of empathy around disability and difference, following the release of another doll last year who sported a hearing aid. Will children benefit from the new approach? And will it make up for the body image projected by the Barbies of the past?

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