5 Best Thursday Columns

Karl Rove on state elections, George Will on coddling teenagers, and more

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  • Kim Elesser on Gender-Neutral Oscars  In a thoughtful guest column at The New York Times, Elesser, a research scholar at UCLA's Center for Study of Women, argues that it's time to combine the Best Actor and Best Actress categories in the Academy Awards and other entertainment awards shows. "In the 21st century women contend with men for titles ranging from the American president to the American Idol," Elesser observes. In her view, keeping the categories separate "helps perpetuate the stereotype that the differences between men and women are so great that the two sexes cannot be evaluated as equals in their professions."
  • Karl Rove on November's State Races The Wall Street Journal columnist provides a thorough breakdown of which local and state elections will have national party implications this year. The victors in state-legislature contests get to reshape the congressional districts of their state, Rove explains, a process that in turn can affect policy at the highest levels of government. After forecasting a sunny year for GOP candidates, Rove can't resist a parting dig at the chief executive: "It seems that no Democrat, at any level, is immune to the politically poisonous effects of the Obama presidency."
  • Nicholas Kristof on an Unlikely Yemeni Celebrity  Writing in The New York Times, Kristof relates the story of Nujood Ali, a 10-year-old Yemeni girl who obtained a divorce from her husband, who was more than three times her age. Now 12, Ali is an author and nationally recognized figure. Kristof, who has written about child brides extensively in the past, uses Ali's story as a launching point to explain how Yemeni society could become a great deal more prosperous and secure if it abandoned its systemic oppression of women.
  • Glenn Greenwald on Liz Cheney's Ad  The Salon blogger is moved beyond his usual outrage at Cheney and Bill Kristol's 'Al Qaeda 7' ad, calling it "one of the more repugnant political ads of the last decade, if not the most repugnant." Greenwald fumes the ad is most offensive and slanderous to the group of civilians who tried to uphold the rule of law.
But that disgusting duo is also smearing countless civilian lawyers whose work since 9/11 has been nothing short of heroic: representing the most demonized and despised group of individuals, and devoting massive amounts of time, energy and resources to doing so, almost always for free and -- particularly in the early aftermath of 9/11 -- at substantial risk to their reputations and professional relationships.
  • George Will on Education and Teenagers After reading a new book on child-rearing, the Washington Post columnist submits that teenagers suffer in many areas because of a lack of sleep and that parents coddle their children too much. "Children incessantly praised for their intelligence (often by parents who are really praising themselves) often underrate the importance of effort. Children who open their lunchboxes and find mothers' handwritten notes telling them how amazingly bright they are tend to falter when they encounter academic difficulties."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.