Five Best Friday Columns
David Brooks on the VP generation war, Dana Milbank on Biden framing the campaign, Iain Martin on the EU peace prize, Kathleen Sharp on EPO culture, and Laura Ling on North Korea.
David Brooks in The New York Times on the VP generation war To independents, who want people with respectful politics, "Biden will seem like an off-putting caricature of the worst of old-style politics." Beyond manners, the style suggests how future challenges will be handled. Ryan is from the "era of the workout gym," where media culture is pervasive. "This is a generation armed with self-awareness. In this generation, you roll your eyes at anyone who is quite so flamboyantly demonstrative as the vice president."
Dana Milbank in The Washington Post on Biden framing the campaign Biden's emphasis on congressional Republicans gave Democrats a favorable way to frame the campaign: As "a choice between Obama and the dimly regarded Republican-led House, which would be in a dominant position under a President Romney," Milbank writes. "Romney’s views may be all over the lot, but the positions of Republicans on Capitol Hill are clear and stark."
Iain Martin in Daily Telegraph on why the EU Peace Prize is "beyond parody" "Has the committee which runs the Nobel Peace Prize been infiltrated by satirists or opponents keen on discrediting the organisation?" Martin writes. "We have no idea how the experiment to create an anti-democratic federation will end. Hopefully the answer is very peacefully, but when Greek protesters are wearing Nazi uniforms, and Spanish youth unemployment is running at 50 per cent, a look at history suggests there is always the possibility of a bumpy landing."
Kathleen Sharp in The New York Times on the problem with EPO culture The USADA's recent report on Lance Armstrong's drug use did not explain the permeating seduction of EPO, a drug that increases red blood cell count. The drug boosts energy and became commercialized soon after its discovery. Health wise, "too many red blood cells turn your blood to sludge and make the heart work overtime," Sharp writes, but the real shame is how our culture enables "this blood-doping scandal — both on and off the race course."
Laura Ling in Los Angeles Times on the media changes in North Korea Ling, one of the journalists taken prisoner by North Korea three years ago, writes that in spite of tightly controlled media in the country, people are not totally unaware of pop culture like "Gangnam Style." With smuggled products from China like smartphones, "North Koreans won't be living in Gangnam style any time soon. But the more they can break through the government's information blockade and learn about life outside the Hermit Kingdom, the more the regime will have to adapt and change."