Five Best Friday Columns

Catherine Rampell on what income inequality is really about, Charlotte Allen on Leaning In and a negotiation gone wrong, Jonathan Bernstein on Rand Paul and the possibility of a 2016 run, Leigh Silver on the Divergent movie, David Brooks dissects Sting's TED talk. 

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Catherine Rampell at The Washington Post on what income inequality is really about. “People don’t hate you because you’re beautiful. People hate you because they are getting uglier. Use that logic, substituting income for attractiveness, and you’ll have a better grasp of why the 99.9 percent really resent the 0.1 percent,” Rampell writes. “Yes, anti-inequality rhetoric has grown in recent years. But it’s not the growing wealth of the wealthy that Americans are angry about, at least not in isolation. It’s the growing wealth of the wealthy set against the stagnation or deterioration of living standards for everyone else.” Heather Landy at American Banker Magazine tweets, “People would care less about Blankfein's bonus if they were getting raises of their own. Great piece by @crampell.”

Charlotte Allen at The Los Angeles Times on Leaning In and a negotiation gone wrong. “If you’re a female and you feel inspired to negotiate for a higher salary and more perks because your 'Lean In circle' says 'You go, girl!,' it helps to actually know how to negotiate. It also helps if you realize that just because you’ve decided to negotiate, your bosses or future bosses are under no obligation to negotiate back,” Allen writes. “These may seem like home truths to anyone in the business world, or in any world where negotiating is an expected part of the scene. But not to a raft of feminist commentators who are outraged at the supposed plight of 'W.,' a newly minted PhD in philosophy who decided to play tough-guy negotiator when Nazareth College offered her a tenure-track teaching job.”

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg View on Rand Paul and the possibility of a 2016 run. “In the modern era, candidates don't win with random early results and momentum. Instead, nominations are the result of a collective decision by those who have the greatest interest in the party and the most at stake: politicians, activists, campaign and governing professionals, and party-aligned interests and media,” Bernstein writes. “Think Paul has a chance? Then either convince me that he’s acceptable to the Republicans who support the policies he opposes – or show me that those people have little clout. He can win only if one of the above is true. These days, you can't be nominated by accident.” Jamelle Bouie of The Daily Beast tweets, “Great post from @jbplainblog on why you should be bearish on Rand Paul 2016.”

Leigh Silver at Complex discusses the Divergent movie. “The Divergent movie will not win any Oscars, just like the young adult novel it was adapted from will not win a Pulitzer. But you already knew that, so it’s easy to forgive the film’s (expected) flaws. And while I admit that the movie is not going to stand up to criticism, it kept me hooked like an adrenaline junkie for its entirety,” Silver writes. “My advice for fans: See it in 3D, drink a couple of beers beforehand, and don’t be too critical. Like the Dauntless jumping off a train onto a roof, Divergent is ridiculous and senseless and over the top, but you still want to take the leap.”

David Brooks at The New York Times dissects Sting’s TED talk. “At this year’s TED conference, the rock star Sting got onstage and gave a presentation that had a different feel. He talked about his rise to stardom and then about a period in middle age when he was unable to write any new songs. The muse abandoned him, he said — for days, then weeks, then months, then years,” Brooks writes. “Most TED talks are about the future, but Sting’s was about going into the past. The difference between the two modes of thinking stood in stark contrast. In the first place, it was clear how much richer historical consciousness is than future vision. When we think about the future, we don’t think about the texture and the tensions, the particular smells, shapes, conflicts — the dents in the floorboards. But Sting’s songs were about unique and unlikely individuals and life as it really is, as a constant process of bending hard iron.”

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