Five Best Thursday Columns

Jonathan Capehart on Arizona's defeated anti-gay bill, Raúl M. Grijalva on Obama's approach to the Keystone XL pipeline, David Thomson on why the Best Picture Academy Award is a sham, David Lammy on why London needs rent control, Susan Schorn on the limits of dancing for the cause. 

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Jonathan Capehart at The Washington Post on Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s anti-gay bill veto. “Never before have I seen such full-throated tri-partisan opposition to a piece of anti-gay legislation. By tri-partisan I mean Democrats, Republicans and corporations. That Democrats were against the measure was a no-brainer. That Republicans and businesses joined them to not only decry the bill’s passage bill but to also demand that Brewer veto it was remarkable,” Capehart writes. "In the face of overwhelming resistance from all quarters, Brewer had no choice but “to do the right thing for the state of Arizona.” I’m glad she stood her ground against discrimination in her state. The right thing for Arizona and the right thing for LGBT people are not mutually exclusive.” David Beard at The Washington Post tweets, “What’s right about Arizona.”

Raúl M. Grijalva at The New York Times on Obama’s troubled approach to the Keystone XL pipeline. “If the president approves the Keystone XL pipeline on the basis of the lobbying and bad science that has been offered to support it, much of his good work will be undone and a business-as-usual atmosphere will settle back on Washington like a heavy cloud. It would be a bad end to what could still be a very strong environmental legacy,” the Democratic congressman from Arizona writes. “The administration’s approach to the pipeline is a throwback to the time when endangered species were defenseless in the face of corporate moneymaking. That’s why Keystone is about more than one pipeline. It is about establishing once and for all whether we have moved on from the disastrous Bush-Cheney view of environmental policy. President Obama doesn’t want that to be his legacy. Neither do I. And I am hardly alone.”

David Thomson at The New Republic on why the Best Picture Academy Award doesn’t matter. “First of all, remind yourself that “Best Picture” is not a certificate of value passed down by God. It is a construct, and a con, dreamed up by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (which never had anything to do with God or academia) as part of a suggestion that the film business has attempted to make “good” pictures, or even the “best,”” Thomson writes. Thomson believes that 12 Years a Slave, while not a “spectacular, innovative or “dazzling” picture,” should be the favorite to win. “But how can you take a list of nine nominees for Best Picture seriously if it excludes All Is Lost, Fruitvale Station, The Place Beyond the Pines, Blue Jasmine, Blue Is the Warmest Color, Stories We Tell, The Selfish Giant, and Spring Breakers?” Sean Fennessey at Grantland tweets, “David Thompson is so trill.”

David Lammy at the New Statesman on how to solve London’s rocketing housing prices. “The facts are stark. Private rents in London have risen nine per cent since December 2011. Property price growth has returned to pre-2008 levels and is on the brink of exceeding it. Higher rents make it difficult to save a deposit, and rapid house price growth pushes the size of that deposit further and further out of reach. Indeed, those two factors combined mean that the projected average age by which a young person will be able to buy their first home in London is now 52,” Lammy writes. “With the monthly rent for a one-bedroom flat in Wandsworth sitting well above £1,100, it has become patently obvious that London needs some form of rent control. I mean rent controls that nod to the market but allow for the realities of what it is to have a home to live in; the type that are espoused by those who could hardly be called left-wing ideologues, including Angela Merkel and Michael Bloomberg.” Shiv Malik at The Guardian tweets, “The first salvo over housing policy has been fired.”

Susan Schorn at The Hairpin on the limitations of dancing for the cause. “Last year, when I first heard about One Billion Rising, the day of action Eve Ensler had declared to "break the silence" about violence against women, I did not immediately think, "Oh hooray, the famous vagina lady is doing something about violence!" Instead I thought, "They're going to tell us to dance, aren't they." And indeed: Ensler wrote, "we are inviting, challenging, and calling women and the people who love them to… dance. To dance with our bodies, our lives, our heart," Schorn writes. “Anyone involved in feminist causes knows that dancing is something you're going to be urged to do now and then. But I'm not a dancer; I'm a black belt, and I always resist these exhortations. Ensler's conflation of dance with activism unsettles me. I have little faith in dance as a tool of social change. Dancing may make you feel great, but it doesn’t get people to the polls to vote, or persuade Supreme Court Justices, or inform policy debates.”

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