5 Best Friday Columns

Dierdre Bair on the 40-year itch, Michael Gerson on politics and sex and more

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  • Dierdre Bair on the 40-Year Itch  With news of Al and Tipper Gore's separation after 40 years of marriage, the author considers in a New York Times op-ed why long-married couples may decide to divorce. She says, "Divorce is easier now. Our retirement years are longer and healthier. Both men and women often have enough money to make changes. And the stigma of divorce has long since faded." She also adds that "many couples seem to have an 'aha!' moment when they realize that it’s time to split up. No matter how comfortably situated they are, how lovely their home and successful their children, they divorce because they cannot go on living in the same old rut with the same old person."
  • Mike Rose on a Lesson for Teachers  In a Los Angeles Times op-ed today, Mike Rose, author of "Why School? Reclaiming Education for All of Us" writes a letter to young teachers, explaining the ropes of and asking doling out advice on how to navigate their way through a "profession at a troubled time." He says, "Teachers are universally praised as the solution to our educational problems — and condemned as the root cause of all that's wrong with our schools. Underlying this craziness is an ideological battle to define what teaching is. And though there's not much you can do to revive the economy, you can be tough-minded and vocal about what it means to teach."
  • Michael Gerson on Politics and Sex  In The Washington Post, Gerson delivers one of the most thoughtful pieces on politics and sex scandals in recent memory. "Sexual behavior can reveal our shared foolishness. Or it can reveal coldness, compulsion, cruelty, exploitation, arrogance and recklessness. Who can deny that these traits of character are potentially dangerous in a political leader?" asks Gerson. But "moral conservatives need to admit that political character is more complex than marital fidelity," while liberals must admit that "the failure of human beings to meet their own ideals dose not disprove or discredit those ideals." For example: "The fact that some are faithless does not make fidelity a joke." He quotes C.S. Lewis on "the sins of the flesh" to back up his own, central observation: "I have known politicians who are cold, arrogant, reckless--and faithful to their spouses. And I have known politicians who have been unfaithful and served the public well." He ends on a poetic note: "All human journeys are part pilgrimage, part farce. Whenever we mock moral shoddiness, laziness and frailty, we mock into a mirror."
  • Charles Krauthammer on Israel's Options  Krauthammer takes a measured, if decidedly pro-Israel, look at the blockade. "Why did Israel even have to resort to blockade?" he asks. "Because, blockade is Israel's fallback as the world systematically de-legitimizes its traditional ways of defending itself--forward and active defense." He runs through the options Israel has had closed off by international law and opinion. 
  • Jonah Goldberg: 'Gandhi's Back, and This Time It's Personal!'  Goldberg is somewhat less measured, and somewhat more colorful. "Question," he barks at readers: "If Israel is always hell-bent on murder, massacres, and genocide, why is it so bad at it? If its battle plan called for a slaughter, why kill 'only' nine people? Why not sink all of the boats?" He's spectacularly unconvinced by the idea that the Israelis were attacking neo-Ghandis. "On the last boat the Israelis boarded," he writes, the humanitarians "beat the Israelis with metal bars and even threw one Israeli overboard." Goldberg ponders his recollection of the Ben Kinsley movie: "Maybe there was a sequel with Chuck Norris as the Mahatma?"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.