Five Best Friday Columns
Anand Giridharadas on whether New York is for the special, Julius Genachowski and Steven Waldman on what Bezos can teach the Post, Paul Krugman on economic uncertainty, Ezra Klein on the immigration debate and Owen Jones on Richard Dawkin's anti-Islam bigotry.
Anand Giridharadas in The New York Times on the changing nature of New York City: "A fair indication of where things stand may be the New York television show of the moment, HBO’s Girls," argues Giridharadas. "A show about flailing, post-collegiate millennials, it has a cast that in real life reflects the coming of a New York whose function is to help successful people transmit their advantages down the genetic line rather than discover new successes from obscurity or even Queens." Giridharadis wonders if the New York that Patti Smith wrote about in Just Kids is giving way to a city that's inaccessible to those looking for a fresh start. Economist and business consultant Umair Haque tweets, "Bingo," while Nicole Hong at The Wall Street Journal calls the piece a "must-read."
Julius Genachowski and Steven Waldman in The New Republic on what Jeff Bezos can teach The Washington Post: While running Amazon, Jeff Bezos has always been focused on the business' long term profitability, while newspapers have been incredibly shortsighted, especially where digital is concerned. "As bleak as the industry sometimes seems, the news media can be profitable—but only if companies better serve their customers, transform their business models, and alter their financial time-horizons," they write. "That includes having the kind of patience that Bezos demonstrates at Amazon." Craig Silverman at Poynter tweets that this was "maybe the best read about Bezos/Amazon/WaPo and what's next." NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen adds that "Much of the 'Bezos bought The Washington Post, now what?' commentary has been disposable. This is not."
Owen Jones in The Independent on Richard Dawkin's bigotry: Noted atheist Richard Dawkin's recent tweets about Muslims and Nobel Prizes is just one example of many examples of his anti-Islamic bigotry, Jones argues. "Dawkins has a habit of talking about Muslims in the most dismissive, generalizing and pejorative fashion. 'Who the hell do these Muslims think they are?' he once tweeted," Jones writes. Dawkins claims to give all religions equal scrutiny, but his attention towards Islam is prejudice that ultimately reflects badly on atheists. "Atheism in public life has become so dominated by a particular breed that ends up dressing up bigotry as non-belief," Jones writes. Dawkins can say what he wants, but not under the cover of atheism. Jessica Elgot of the Huffington Post UK praised Jones and tweets, "This is best thing I've ever read by @OwenJones84 esp demolition of religion & 'choice' defence often used by racists."
Paul Krugman in The New York Times on economic uncertainty We live in a time when long-held economic truths are being outed for the nonsense they are, Krugman writes. "No, monetary expansion needn’t cause hyperinflation. No, budget deficits in a depressed economy don’t cause soaring interest rates. No, slashing spending doesn’t create jobs. No, economic growth doesn’t collapse when debt exceeds 90 percent of G.D.P.," he argues. "And now the latest myth bites the dust: No, 'economic policy uncertainty' — created, it goes without saying, by That Man in the White House — isn’t holding back the recovery." Economic recovery is always slow in the aftermath of a debt-fueled bubble, plain and simple. "The problem isn't that @NYTimeskrugman keeps writing the same 'I told you so' column," tweets MSNBC's John Flowers, "It's that he has to."
Ezra Klein in Bloomberg on how dumb the immigration debate is: "Everything you know about immigration, particularly unauthorized immigration, is wrong," argues Klein. Specifically, that the militarization of the border is the cause of, not the solution to, illegal immigration. "The rise of America’s large undocumented population is a direct result of the militarization of the border," Klein writes. "While undocumented workers once traveled back and forth from Mexico with relative ease, after the border was garrisoned, immigrants from Mexico crossed the border and stayed." The data supports the theory, but the immigration debate is "stuck in 1985." Reuters reporter Joseph Ax called the piece "interesting," but Bob Ortega at the Arizona Republic begs to differ and tweets, "@EzraKlein: "everything you know about immigration ... is wrong." http://bloom.bg/17Cuade Um, not if you've read our coverage..."