Five Best Friday Columns
Alan Light on loving Nirvana on the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death, Catherine Rampell on the advantages of hiring women, Kavitha A. Davidson on what World Cup ticket sales say about Americans, Noam Scheiber defends liberal "bed-wetting", Michael Grunwald on why Republicans want the U.S. to be Europe.
Alan Light at the Guardian on loving Nirvana on the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death. “Twenty years after Cobain's suicide, there is no question that my resistance to Nirvana was proven wrong, that their music wasn't just a fleeting phenomenon. They deserve their spot in the canon of classic rock radio. But beyond the merit of the work, determining Kurt Cobain's legacy is tricky business,” Light writes. “So, yes, Nirvana changed the world, at least for a moment. Less clear, however, is what lasting effect the group actually had on rock and roll. If the kids who grew up on their music looked at the emotional and physical pain Kurt Cobain lived and eventually died with, and concluded that it would be more fun to write rhymes or learn to DJ, it's hard to blame them. But the songs live on.”
Catherine Rampell at The Washington Post on the advantages of hiring women. “There are many feel-good, fairness-based reasons to hire and invest in women. There’s an even better reason that is less frequently cited. Women, you see, will make you money,” Rampell writes. “It’s not just in corporate settings that estrogen seems good for business. In an analysis of Hollywood films for FiveThirtyEight.com, Walt Hickey recently argued that 'films that feature meaningful interactions between women may in fact have a better return on investment, overall, than films that don’t.' And perhaps the best argument for why hiring women will help your firm’s bottom line: They still, amazingly, come at a discount. At least for now.” Lena Sun at The Washington Post tweets, "Hiring women can boost the bottom line — they’re cheaper."
Kavitha A. Davidson at Bloomberg View on what World Cup ticket sales say about Americans. “Despite grim predictions for the U.S. squad and the sport’s relative lack of popularity back home, it seems Americans are more eager than most for a trip to Rio de Janeiro in June. According to a news release by FIFA on Tuesday, 1,591,435 tickets have already been sold through general public sales, with 65 percent (1,041,418 tickets) allocated to fans from the host country. Of the remaining tickets, the majority have been sold to fans from the U.S. (154,412 tickets),” Davidson writes. “For the U.S. to outpace all other countries in World Cup ticket sales means at least one of three things: Americans are surprisingly optimistic about their team’s World Cup chances; Americans have more disposable income to spend on international sporting events; and Americans are really, really into sex tourism.” James Gibney at Bloomberg View tweets, "Brazil needs to get ready for the World Cup Yankee invasion."
Noam Scheiber at the New Republic defends liberal “bed-wetting.“ "Now that over seven million Americans have enrolled in Obamacare, everyone who dismissed the goal as wildly implausible has some reckoning to do. All of us have become fat targets for sterner liberals, who gleefully point out that 'the bed-wetters were wrong,' in the words of Time’s Mike Grunwald. Well, fair enough. But I'd still like to put in a few good words for bed-wetting,” Scheiber writes. “I’d argue that bed-wetting on the part of Democratic pols — as opposed to activists, pundits, and intellectuals — can be fantastically self-defeating. The suggestion by Bill Clinton and several Democratic senators that Obama let everyone keep their pre-Obamacare insurance threatened the program's survival. Those of us who kibitz from the sidelines have an obligation to pipe up when we see trouble ahead. When we don’t, we invariably subject them to much bigger disasters later on.”
Michael Grunwald at Time on why Republicans want the U.S. to be Europe. “The party that talks the most about the dangers of America going Continental is the one dead set on making it happen. When it comes to economics, the GOP is the party of croissants and lederhosen. But the policies that created the mess in Europe are not Obama’s policies. They are the policies — especially tight money and fiscal austerity — that Republicans have pushed for America,” Grunwald writes. “None of this seems to infiltrate media coverage. Republicans don’t like universal health insurance or welfare, so they’re seen as 'anti-European.' But the Europeanization of the GOP continues. The Europeanization of America, on the other hand, hasn’t happened, because the party that always talks about it is still in the minority.” Cristina Lara, Young People For (YP4) Fellow, tweets, "The Europeanization of the US?"