Five Best Monday Columns
Jeff Bauman on the Boston bombing "Wheelchair Photo," E.J. Dionne Jr. on why conservatives should love AmeriCorps, Adam Minter on the unfortunate state of China's water, Jordan Fraade defends the millennial label, Alex Pareene on the "shocking rise" of liberal fascism.
Jeff Bauman at the Guardian on the Boston bombing “Wheelchair Photo.” “I remember when the photograph was taken. The famous one, I mean. The one of me being rushed from the Boston Marathon bombing without my legs. There had been a controversy: was the photo too graphic? Was it exploitative? In Boston, friends told me later, everyone was talking about it,” Bauman writes. “Part of me, I guess, wishes the picture had never been taken at all. I wish I wasn't the face of the victims – three lost near the finish line and hundreds injured – because then everyone would forget about me, and I could recover in peace, and at my own pace. But I'm not angry about it. Not at all.” CBC’s Lisa Mayor tweets, “The Boston bombing photo is about rescue, says Jeff Bauman.”
E.J. Dionne Jr. at The Washington Post on why conservatives should love AmeriCorps. “If we can agree on anything across our philosophical divides, surely we can support efforts to promote voluntary service by our fellow citizens and to strengthen our nation’s extraordinary network of civic and religious charities. At a very modest cost to government AmeriCorps gives mostly young Americans a chance to spend a year helping communities and those in need while nurturing thousands of organizations across the country,” Dionne writes. “One politician who speaks often about the importance of civil society groups is Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) Yet Ryan’s new budget comes out against apple pie. It zeroes out AmeriCorps. The best move for someone who loves the activities of the nonprofits as much as Ryan says he does is to try to trump the president.” Jonathan Chait at New York tweets, “Paul Ryan's budget contains so many huge disasters that many moderately-sized ones go unnoticed. @EJDionne finds one.”
Adam Minter at Bloomberg View on the unfortunate state of China’s water. “On Friday the government of Lanzhou, China, informed its 3.6 million residents that their drinking water would be carcinogenic for the next 24 hours. Today, reports from state media revealed that the benzene had been released into the environment as a result of oil pipeline explosions -- in 1987 and 2002. Some 34 tons of contaminated soil, however, were left in place, the benzene allowed to migrate into an underground water duct that empties out via household faucets,” Minter writes. “It’s a horrifying revelation, but not an uncommon or surprising one. Water pollution is a long-term problem, and it’s likely to persist long after China’s skies have turned blue.” Bloomberg View’s David Shipley tweets, “Don't breathe the air in China. Best not to drink the water, too. Says @adamminter.”
Jordan Fraade at Al Jazeera America defends the millennial label. “Late last year, Web developer Zeke Weeks created a browser extension that replaces all references to “millennial” and with ‘pesky whipper-snapper.’ It hit enough of a nerve that Salon’s Prachi Gupta reported on it and wrote, ‘Regardless of what you think about millennials … we can probably all agree that the term ‘millennial’ is an annoying and overused buzzword that needs to go away forever.’ We can all agree?” Fraade writes. “Now that nearly every form of institutional authority — religion, government, the financial sector, higher education — has been discredited along with the two major political parties, millennials are left with few resources left to form ties of identity and solidarity. What we are left with, in short, is our fellow millennials.”
Alex Pareene at Salon on the “shocking rise” of liberal fascism. “Liberal fascism is alive and well, and seemingly everywhere one looks these days. First, a bunch of Twitter users got mad at Stephen Colbert, leading to Comedy Central agreeing to end his show — forever. It was just the warmup for the unprecedented onslaught of rage unleashed against Brenden Eich, the former CEO of Mozilla, who was hounded from his job merely for donating $1,000 to a political campaign organized around stripping same-sex couples of the right to have their unions recognized by the state,” Pareene writes. “Mussolini got his start as a sort of Italian proto-”hashtag activist,” uniting his “followers” against Slavic people and socialists.” Radio Dispatch’s Molly Knefel tweets, “*enthusiastic standing ovation given to @pareene*”