Five Best Tuesday Columns
Frank Bruni on Jenny McCarthy's sudden pro-vaccine stance, Michael Daly on how Chicago became 'Chiraq', Stephen Mihm on the anti-semitic chain of events that led to Ivy League selectivity, Jonathan Chait on Tax Trutherism, Charles C. W. Cooke on Chelsea Clinton's "royal baby."
Frank Bruni at The New York Times on the skepticism surrounding Jenny McCarthy’s sudden pro-vaccine stance. “For much of the past decade, McCarthy has been the panicked face and intemperate voice of a movement that posits a link between autism and childhood vaccinations. And then, earlier this month, she said the craziest thing of all, in a column for The Chicago Sun-Times. ‘I am not ‘anti-vaccine,’ ” she wrote, going on to add, 'For years, I have repeatedly stated that I am, in fact, ‘pro-vaccine’ and for years I have been wrongly branded,'” Bruni writes. “When did it become O.K. to present gut feelings like hers as something in legitimate competition with real science? That’s what interviewers who gave her airtime did, and I’d love to know how they justify it.”
Michael Daly at The Daily Beast on how Chicago became 'Chiraq'. “President Obama may have gotten our troops out of Iraq, but the gunfire in his hometown of Chicago is still earning it a searing nickname coined by young people who live there. Chiraq. On Easter weekend, 45 people were shot in the city, six of them children,” Daly writes. “FBI Director James Comey happened to be in Chicago the following Monday, and he ascribed much of the violence to the gang culture so deeply ingrained in the city. But Comey had little to say about what Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy recognizes as the core problem. ‘Until we do something about guns, don’t expect things to change overnight,’ McCarthy said.” U.S. Naval War College professor John Schindler tweets, “There were more casualties in Chiraq (AKA Chicago) than in #Ukraine last (Easter) weekend. Good to remember this.”
Stephen Mihm at Bloomberg View on the anti semitic chain of events that led to Ivy League rejection. “Despite their perfect grade-point averages and SAT scores and stellar extracurricular activities, the number of top-achieving high school seniors who made the cut at the most elite universities reached record lows this year. This may look like meritocracy reaching its ultimate rarefaction, yet the motives that led top colleges and universities to introduce highly selective admissions a century ago were far from lofty. The aim was to keep out one group in particular: Jews,” Mihm writes. “High-achieving students probably will find little consolation in the knowledge that their failure to get into the college of the dreams may have less to do with a lack of merit than admissions procedures adopted by anti-Semitic college administrators almost a century ago.” Journalist Remy Scalza tweets, “On the Ivy League and historic antisemitism”.
Jonathan Chait at New York on Tax Trutherism. “The belief that President Obama not only should but can lure Republicans to support higher taxes on the rich is the most insanely wrong thing that is believed by respectable people. The interesting thing about Tax Trutherism is not only that is is shared by esteemed elites but that, somewhat like the predations of Bernie Madoff, esteemed elites are the only people who are taken in by it,” Chait writes. “Tax Trutherism sustains itself among elite political and business circles through constant repetition by fellow believers, creating a cocoon, much like the Alex Jones listening audience, where the preposterous becomes mundane. Unfortunately, that cocoon includes large sections of the seat of government of the United States.” The New Republic’s Danny Vinik tweets, “Good stuff from @jonathanchait”. Writer and producer Alex Bowles tweets, “Jonathan Chait does better when he demurs on race and focuses on idiots.”
Charles C. W. Cooke at National Review on Chelsea Clinton’s “royal baby.” “In the abstract, at least, Americans prefer to think of themselves as being congenitally opposed to aristocracy and the trappings of monarchy,” Cooke writes. “At the risk of sounding curmudgeonly, I should say that it is not at all clear to me why it is a “pretty big deal” that a married woman whose father was president one and a half decades ago is going to have a child — especially given that there is no throne that requires filling. It may be especially galling to watch Barack Obama flit between condemning income inequality and partying with Jay-Z, but it remains true that the White House itself was more profligate under George W. Bush and no less celebrity-happy under Ronald Reagan.”