Five Best Tuesday Columns

Çağlar Keyder on the demonstrations in Turkey, Emily Bazelon on the Supreme Court's DNA decision, Kirby Dick on the Pentagon's handling of rape, Conor Friedersdorf on bike-sharing paranoia, Jenny Davis on Facebook's teenage exiles.

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Çağlar Keyder in the London Review of Books on the demonstrations in Turkey Considers the origins of the recent demonstrations in Turkey over the new construction in a public square in Istanbul, Keyder writes, "Taksim Square has been symbolic of Turkey’s Western aspirations: it is the centre of the European section of the city, adorned with a monument to the founders of the Republic where official ceremonies are held and officials lay wreaths ... But this is not the point: the worry is that the Islamist neoliberal party that [Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan leads, the AKP, is rapidly becoming more Islamist and posing a real threat to secular urban middle-class lifestyles. Erdoğan’s increasingly imperious inclination aggravates the anxiety." Slate's Cinar Kiper doubts the demonstrations will have an impact: "Between Erdogan downplaying the protests, the local media trying to ignore it, and the sheer size of Istanbul, most of the city doesn’t even feel the scope of the uprising, which is exactly what the ruling party wants."

Emily Bazelon at Slate on the Supreme Court's DNA decision Should police be able to swab the cheeks of arrestees who have not been convicted of crimes in order to collect their genetic material? Emily Bazelon weighs the new Supreme Court opinion in which the nine justices ruled, narrowly, in favor. "Surely the wave of DNA collection that the court unleashed Monday will catch some future McVeigh, she concludes. "But processing all that information may gum up the works, proving overall to be a big and misguided distraction. ... You might expect the Supreme Court to take it into account before letting the government file away the genetic coding of millions of people it hasn’t proved have done anything wrong." Noah Feldman at Bloomberg View notes how oddly formed the opinion was: "Even Justice Scalia ... thinks there would be nothing wrong with sampling every arrestee’s DNA if the purpose really were just to keep tabs on them. ... However, these two functions — bureaucratic identification and crime solving — can probably never be fully separated in the real world."

Kirby Dick in The New York Times on the Pentagon's handling of rape Why does the Department of Defense trust its own officers to investigate sexual crimes within the military? "Sexual assault crimes are among the most difficult to prosecute, which makes it doubly absurd to have anyone other than professional prosecutors decide whether to pursue these crimes," says Invisible War director Kirby Dick. "We wouldn’t tolerate a senior commander’s operating a helicopter unless he or she was fully trained to do so. Similarly, we should not allow commanders, who are not trained as prosecutors, to make final determinations as to whether the military should adjudicate sexual assault crimes. Our military readiness will be compromised unless the military quickly begins to bring sex predators in its ranks to justice." The Daily Beast's Kayla Williams decries the military's tendency to valorize its own members as a kind of institutional blindness: "The majority of troops are great. Honorable. Upstanding. But there are some total jackasses. Losers. Criminals. ... We can admit that some awful people make it into the service without undermining our faith in the military as a whole."

Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic on bike-sharing paranoia Conor Friedersdorf assesses the arguments of The Wall Street Journal's Dorothy Rabinowitz, who was seen attacking New York's new Citibike bike-sharing program as a tyrannical regime "begriming" the city's neighborhoods, by noting her place in a larger, mostly coastal trend. "Their preference for road use loses out to the preferences of other Angelenos with different wants," he writes, referring to a pair of popular Los Angeles radio hosts. "That's politics. No one lives in a major city and gets their way all the time." At the Village Voice, Sydney Brownstone identifies an even larger, stranger trend: "Rabinowitz isn't the only person to argue that environmental initiatives like bike-shares are governed by an agenda to control the free will of the American people. In other states, Tea Partiers have been pointing to Agenda 21, a non-binding UN sustainable development plan from 1992, for years—arguing that pretty much any environmentally-minded public good is part of a secret, totalitarian plot."

Jenny Davis at The Society Pages on Facebook's teenage exiles Teenagers, we're told, are leaving Facebook en masse. Jenny Davis tries to get a grip on what's really going on here. "Teens are not 'logging off' of Facebook, fleeing for the new and more popular interactive platform, but rather, actively constructing a sophisticated interactive ecology. Here, teens utilize platforms to fit varied interactive needs: privacy, connectivity, humor, support, information sharing, romantic exploration. ... Within this ecology, in which multiple spaces maintain varying degrees of integration with one another, teens navigate the complexities of social life, decoupling pieces of the self through technologically mediated means, negotiating holistic selves which none-the-less maintain multiple dimensions." Gawker's Max Read called Davis's consideration a "smart corrective," while Search Engine Journal's Bernadette Coleman notes that Internet users remain discerning and aware of rival sites: "Within moments of the [Yahoo's acquisition of Tumblr] being announced, more than 72,000 switched their Tumblr accounts to rival platforms."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.