Five Best Monday Columns

Kevin Blackistone on Donald Sterling’s latest racist outburst, Jonathan Chait thinks the election won’t be about Obamacare after all, Willie Osterweil on the rise of the sports management movie, Adam Minter on the resurrection of a Chinese Twitter account, James Carroll on the South Korean ferry disaster.

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Kevin Blackistone at The Guardian on Donald Sterling’s latest racist outburst. “Decades of racist policy renting housing in Los Angeles, which turned Sterling into a real-estate mogul wealthy enough to buy and run a professional sports team, didn't elicit any such furor. But all those years, not enough people looked at Donald Sterling as the racist landlord the law so bore him out to be,” Blackistone writes. “The sudden Sterling backlash exposed a mythology that we've allowed to grow in sport's billion-dollar commercial industrialization: sport leads social change. In many cases, however, such as the blind eye cast to racial discrimination of prodigious proportion, sport is a laggard in social reform, its leaders tacit supporters – if not propagators – of unethical and immoral behavior.” The Nation’s Dave Zirin tweets, “This piece by @ProfBlackistone about Sterling's history of housing discrimination is your must-read of the day.”

Jonathan Chait at New York thinks the election won’t be about Obamacare after all.  “Since at least October, the assumption has held that the midterm elections will revolve thematically around Obamacare. A series of new developments is suddenly making that once-rock-solid assumption look questionable. To date, Republicans have made good on their vow to make the elections a referendum on the health-care law. It simply hasn’t worked very well,” Chait writes. “The Party remains poised for a strong showing due to its reinforcing structural advantages: Senate races staged in overwhelmingly friendly terrain, a Republican-tilted House map, and an ingrained tendency of Democratic voters to skip midterm elections. Obamacare remains unpopular. The trouble for Republicans is that repealing Obamacare remains unpopular, too.” Law360’s Jeff Overley tweets, “Midterms about turnout. Right will still hate #Obamacare. Q is, will Medicaid + immig boost left? (Jobs = wildcard.)" NBC’s Michael Oates Palmer tweets, “Jonathan Chait, reassuring me.”

Willie Osterweil at Al Jazeera America on the rise of the sports management movie. “The American sports movie always proceeds in the same fashion. A ragtag group of misfits and nitwits come together, put aside their personal problems and form a team. There will be a mandatory training montage, a romantic entanglement, a moment of great doubt and a coach who really believes. Together they prove, somehow, to be much more than the sum of their parts — and, reliably, the joint solution to all of their personal problems. But it’s quickly growing outdated,” Osterweil writes. “‘Draft Day’ is just an extreme example of this new breed of films. One major function of the sports management movie is racial reappropriation. The sports management movie performs another important ideological function: the transfer of popular sympathies from workers to management.” The Los Angeles TimesMatt Pearce tweets, “"‘What happens when fans start to think like owners, to dream of firing players rather than join them on the field?’" The New Inquiry’s Atossa Abrahamian tweets, “Must read: @WilbotOsterman on the Sports Management Movie”.

Adam Minter at Bloomberg View on the resurrection of a controversial Chinese Twitter account. “A sense of humor requires the ability to reflect on oneself critically, if not whimsically. Both of these qualities, unfortunately, are absent from the Chinese Communist Party and its official mouthpiece, the People’s Daily newspaper. Proof, if any was needed, came last Thursday when the English-language version of the paper used its Twitter account to tweet a demand that Twitter ‘rectifyThe Relevant Organs, a semi-retired salacious People’s Daily parody Twitter account with more than 14,000 followers, most of who are Sinophiles who get the jokes,” Minter writes. “It’s unclear why People’s Daily chose to attack the parody account now, but that it’s happening at all is very much in keeping with the Communist Party’s long-term interest in promoting Chinese ‘soft power.’” Bloomberg News’ Chitra Somayaji tweets, “China Rectifies Relevant Organs via @BV great read by @AdamMinter”.

James Carroll at The Boston Globe on the South Korean ferry disaster. “The sad story of the Korean ferry, with a captain who thought only of himself, suggests a far more disturbing image: that of a shipwrecked commonwealth in which positions of ostensible leadership have been cut off from any sense of common good. Yet the ferry disaster, with its rogue captain on the run, offers a parallel to what Americans now see throughout our society: the detachment of a rich and powerful elite that looks out for its own advantage, with no regard for the welfare of the rest of those aboard,” Carroll writes. “But the metaphor is wrong. The elite are not the captain; they are the high end of first class, with more and more of the passengers consigned to steerage. By analogy, all Americans are urged (by Republican party orthodoxy, for example) to ignore their own peril and advance the interests of the elite, approving policies (on taxation, say) that destroy the broader common good.”

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