Dan D'Addario at The New Republic on Dan Savage's politics What kind of wisdom does sex columnist and gay activist Dan Savage impart? Dan D'Addario considers Savage's collected columns, in which he flays conservative figures for not accepting gay people into mainstream society: "In doses, Savage's writing is exhilarating—he may be viciously angry, jubilant, or poignant ... but between two covers, reading Savage is a jarring experience. Language that seems lively and spirited in column form becomes an argot of righteous rage, self-congratulation, and derision. ... Savage’s apparent strengths can seem like blunt instruments, used so indiscriminately that their impact practically vanishes." Chandler Burr at The Washington Post disagrees: "Reconciliation is at the heart of everything Savage writes and says. He’s not throwing bombs at all. Or rather, if he is, they are bombs aimed at shaking up small minds to extend traditional institutions to people considered outside them." Noah Cruickshank at The A.V. Club adds, "Savage can write cogently about anything ... [but] the only thing connecting these disparate topics is Savage’s own personality, and while he’s incredibly winning, he doesn’t show enough of himself to create a through-line."
Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post on victory in the War on Terror Eugene Robinson seeks a conclusion to the War on Terror, the decade-long U.S.-led effort to eliminate terrorism. "President Obama wisely avoided the phrase 'mission accomplished' in his major speech last week about the 'war on terror,' but columnists aren't obliged to be so circumspect: It is time to declare victory and get on with our lives," he writes. "Obama could never say this, of course, because there will surely be future terrorist attacks that kill Americans both at home and abroad. But he came close when he said that 'the scale of this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11 — in other words, before we rashly declared war on a tactic rather than an enemy." The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald was less persuaded by Obama's rhetoric: "This speech was designed to allow progressives once again to see Barack Obama as they have always wanted to see him, his policies notwithstanding: as a deeply thoughtful, moral, complex leader who is doing his level best, despite often insurmountable obstacles, to bring about all those Good Things that progressives thought they would be getting when they empowered him."
Blake Zeff at Salon on Anthony Weiner's mayoral chance "It's true that the tabloids will try to one-up each other with penis puns," argues Blake Zeff, in his meditation on disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner. "But two other things are also true. One, his scandal is a story that voters know already. Unless more developments rapidly unfold (which is possible), it’s a fairly static story at this point, about which voters have likely already made up their minds. ... The second, less appreciated truth about New York tabloids, is that many candidates serve as their target and still manage to win races in New York; they’re called Democrats." He adds, "One of the great anomalies of the New York media scene is that the city’s signature tabloids often do not come close to representing the political views of their readers." Over at New York, Chris Smith weighs in: "Weiner will dominate coverage for the next several weeks. This is good news for Christine Quinn, in the short run: It denies her rivals the spotlight they very much need to gain name recognition and ground ... but Weiner could be a serious headache for the vulnerable front-runner, if he chooses to aggressively articulate the case against her and grabs a decent share of outer-borough white votes."
David Dennis at The Guardian on the hidden side-effects of unpaid internships David Dennis begins by asking a provocative question: "Does your publication use unpaid interns as the prevalent mode of determining full-time jobs? If so, then I'm sorry to inform you that your publication is perpetuating a privilege-based upward mobility, and it's ruining journalism." He continues: "How many journalists can say they have firsthand knowledge of the mentality of someone from the inner-city? Many of these voices have been muted just because they simply can't navigate the landscape of privilege that most modern journalism encourages." Meanwhile, the investigative group ProPublica has decided to raise funds for a report on America's intern economy. On the report's Kickstarter page, the group writes, "The news media have yet to take a really deep look at this emerging workforce. And protection for interns – especially unpaid interns – has fallen through the cracks. That's why we’ve decided to investigate."
Ayaan Hirsi Ali at The Wall Street Journal on the Muslim reaction to violence How should the world's Muslim communities address violence performed in the name of Islamic extremism? Ayaan Hirsi Ali tries to untangle a difficult decision: "The question requiring an answer at this moment in history is clear: Which group of leaders really speaks for Islam? The officially approved spokesmen for the 'Muslim community'? Or the manic street preachers of political Islam, who indoctrinate, encourage and train the killers—and then bless their bloodshed?" She continues: "This week, Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson have repeated the reassuring statements of the Muslim leaders to the effect that Lee Rigby's murder has nothing to do with Islam. But many ordinary people hear such statements and scratch their heads in bewilderment. A murderer kills a young father while yelling 'Allahu akbar' and it's got nothing to do with Islam?" But Russell Brand at the British newspaper The Sun blamed larger cultural forces beyond religion: "The main narrative thrust of The Bible though, like most spiritual texts including the Koran is: Be nice to each other because we’re all the same. When some football fans smash up shops and beat each other up that isn’t because of football or football clubs. It’s because loads of white, working-class men have been culturally neglected and their powerful tribal instincts get sloshed about in riotous lager carnivals."