Five Best Wednesday Columns
Lucy P. Marcus on how GM can recover from the ignition switch recall scandal, Ruth Marcus on why Jonathan Pollard should be freed, Esther Breger on the infuriating 'How I Met Your Mother' finale, Ben McGrath asks what Kobe Bryant stands for, Henri Myrttinen on how women aren't the only victims of sexual violence.
Lucy P. Marcus at Reuters on how GM can recover from the ignition switch recall scandal. “Congress will question why Barra’s most recent predecessors didn’t catch the defective switch. A likely explanation is that the board and senior management were so focused on digging GM out of bankruptcy that they weren’t paying attention to what else may have been going amiss,” Marcus writes. “The ignition switch recall has been a big test for Barra, and one that she has so far managed well. She reportedly learned the full extent of the problem on January 31, two weeks into her tenure as CEO. If Barra works closely with her executive team and board — and the board is committed to strong oversight and strategy — GM has a fair shot at succeeding.”
Ruth Marcus at The Washington Post on why Jonathan Pollard should be freed. “Today, no longer young, I woke up to the news that President Obama is considering releasing Pollard in a bid to keep Israeli-Palestinian peace talks from collapsing. It seems like time. I hold no brief for Pollard, now 59. He betrayed his country — for money. On the other hand: He spied for an ally, not an enemy. The sentence seems comparatively harsh,” Marcus writes. “But here we are, with release again on the table. Of course, there is something disconcerting — repulsive is only slightly too strong a word — about having justice used as a diplomatic bargaining chip. So here are words I never imagined writing when I stood outside his Dupont Circle apartment so long ago: Go ahead. Free Jonathan Pollard.”
Esther Breger at the New Republic on the infuriating 'How I Met Your Mother' finale. “''How I Met Your Mother' has been called the “Lost” of sitcoms: ambitious in its non-linear storytelling, structured around flashbacks and flash-forwards and unreliable narration, filled with clues for fans to exhaustingly catalogue. And so perhaps it’s not surprising that last night’s series finale added one more similarity to “Lost”—a deeply unsatisfying, even infuriating, ending,” Breger writes. “'How I Met Your Mother' had a few seasons of excellent comedy—funny, heartfelt, innovative—and this finale doesn’t erase those. But it leaves a sour aftertaste to everything that came before.”
Ben McGrath at The New Yorker asks what Kobe Bryant stands for. “I had no particular expectation of controversy when I asked Kobe Bryant about the Miami Heat players’ Twitter activism in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death, posing in hoodies as a protest against racial profiling. Bryant said, “I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American. That argument doesn’t make any sense to me,”” McGrath writes.“Bryant told me that the seven years that he spent living in Italy, as a child, while his father played professional basketball there, inspired in him a strong sense that there is “a much bigger world out there.” His ambitions have long seemed international in scope, if inchoate, such that he might not want to be perceived as speaking exclusively for a subset of the domestic population.”
Henri Myrttinen at the Guardian on how women aren’t the only victims of sexual violence. “Over the past few years, the topic of sexual violence, especially in the context of violent conflict and war, has increasingly made it on to the international political agenda. Currently much of the focus is almost exclusively on sexual violence in the context of armed conflict against women and girls, who tend to form the largest group of victims. In addition to women and girls; men, boys and sexual minorities are also, though rarely acknowledged, direct and indirect victims of sexual violence,” Myrttinen writes. “In spite of under-reporting, 9% of reported sexual violence in the UK and 15% of rapes in the US are against men and boys. Sexual harassment, exploitation and violence to the point of murder against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex persons is depressingly common across the globe.”