Five Best Thursday Columns

Katherine Connell defends Kirsten Dunst's take on gender roles, Nicholas Kristof on what the GOP gets right, Bill Schneider considers an election that Democrats can win, Alex Beam on Errol Morris' Donald Rumsfeld documentary, Paris Lees on the Veet ad that caused an uproar.

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Katherine Connell at National Review defends Kirsten Dunst’s take on gender roles. “The actress Kirsten Dunst shared some thoughts about femininity and relationships in the May issue of the U.K. edition of Harper’s Bazaar. As is now standard when women celebrities voice more-traditional opinions on such topics, Dunst’s views were immediately met with mockery and derision on feminist blogs and Twitter,” Connell writes; Dunst told the magazine, “I feel like the feminine has been a little undervalued.” “Dunst is just as qualified to offer an opinion on that subject as anyone who thinks she’s insufficiently schooled in gender theory.” Robert Vane at Veteran Strategies tweets, “Feminists Attack Kirsten Dunst Over Her Gender Preference”.

Nicholas Kristof at The New York Times on what the GOP gets right. “Republicans may seem like ultimate Scrooges. Many want to slash food stamps, unemployment benefits and just about any program that helps the needy. So they know nothing about poverty, right? Wrong. Actually, conservatives have been proved right about three big ideas of social policy. Liberals may grimace, but hear me out on these points,” Kristof writes. “Strong families, job creation, and school reform. So, come on, Republicans! One more thing: These aren’t just abstract policies. These are ethical issues, touching on our obligations to fellow humans. If we offer the needy nothing but slogans and reprimands — “Strengthen your family! Get a job! Get an education!” — then our antipoverty programs are a cruel joke as bankrupt as Marie Antoinette’s ‘Let them eat cake.’”

Bill Schneider at Reuters considers an election that Democrats can win. “Obamacare versus Ryanomics. That’s the battle line for 2014. It’s also a battle Democrats can win. Why? Because most Americans are pragmatists. Pragmatists believe that whatever works is right. Ideologues believe that if something is wrong, it can’t possibly work — even if it does work. That’s the Republican view of Obamacare: It’s wrong, so it can’t possibly work. But it now looks like Obamacare may work,” Schneider writes. “It will be difficult, if not impossible, to repeal a law that gives health insurance to so many Americans. Still, it’s too early to conclude that the law will work. Democrats will run against Ryanomics. Republicans will run against Obamacare. Remember the rule of pragmatism: Whatever works is right.” Daily Beast contributor Lloyd Green tweets, “#Paul Ryan may have thrown the 2014 Dems a life raft.”

Alex Beam at The Boston Globe on Errol Morris’ Donald Rumsfeld documentary. “[Errol] Morris flogs Rummy, a low-hanging pinata if ever there was one, relentlessly with his wet noodle of condescension and scorn for 103 minutes, but kudos to Rumsfeld for getting the last laugh. Morris is the wabbit chaser extraordinaire,” Beam writes of his new film, "The Known Unknown." “I’m sick of Morris’s highbrow sermonizing — he’s the D.W. Griffith of the ABD (All But Dissertation) set. Morris has a yen for former secretaries of defense; case in point is his 2003 movie,“The Fog of War,” starring a reasonably articulate, 85-year-old Robert McNamara. So what’s the profound message here? War is hell? Morris fancies himself a student of complexity, and loves to pull at the loose threads of gargantuan balls of yarn.” Beam tweets that his take on the film is “waspish.”

Paris Lees at the Guardian on the Veet ad that caused an uproar. “It turns out that women are actually men if they don't shave their legs, or epilate, or Veet. It's big business because – wait for it – adult women have hair on their legs even though it's essentially banned. I know, I know, all this sounds like that miserable feminism where you burn bras and never have any fun,” Lees writes. “To be a woman is frequently to hate oneself. Absolutely nothing about your body – you are told and, indeed, tell yourself – is good enough in its natural state. So when you tell us how unwomanly womanly body hair is, Veet, we will get angry because we already get it.” Sociologist Jane Pilcher tweets, "the politics of (women's) body hair - 2 news stories of interest."

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