David Ignatius at The Washington Post on Obama's secret diplomacy. The Iran nuclear deal "began by [President Obama] authorizing carefully concealed meetings back in March, through Oman, the most opaque and discreet nation in the Persian Gulf. The president sent as his personal emissaries two low-key, quintessentially gray men, Bill Burns and Jake Sullivan, the deputy secretary of state and vice presidential adviser, respectively," Ignatius writes. And so the deal was done "out of sight." Most importantly, "it’s a beginning of a process that could make the world less dangerous." Middle East scholar Andrew Exum tweets, "FWIW, Bill Burns and Jake Sullivan are two people in government of whom I think very highly."
Roxane Gay at Salon on Michelle Obama's feminism. Politico recently published an essay titled "Michelle Obama: Feminist Nightmare?" Gay responds, "The shame here is clear: Motherhood, fitness and early education are beneath feminists. [Michelle] Cottle further trivializes Obama’s healthy eating initiatives as 'gardening.' She gleefully references Obama’s fashion choices and toned arms." Gay calls the essay a "rankly condescending piece of shallow provocation." She argues that the First Lady is navigating difficult waters: "Women so often face impossible choices in life, in work, in feminism. We are either 'independent and empowered' or we’re tools of the patriarchy. For black women, our choices may seem even more impossible because there are so many persistent, damaging cultural tropes about black women." She concludes, "I have to believe we can inspire better, more complex and inclusive feminist conversations." Emily M. Keeler, a contributor to the Los Angeles Review of Books and The New Inquiry, tweets, "Kudos to @rgay for this piece on Feminism, politics, and Michelle Obama's actions as FLOTUS."
Jonathan Chait at New York on Obama's next crisis. "With healthcare.gov lurching toward functionality, the next wave in Obamacare disaster coverage revolves around President Obama’s oft-repeated promise, 'If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,'" Chait writes. "Let me spoil the suspense: Not everybody is going to keep their doctor." But "Keep Your Doctor is not even close to a clear-cut broken promise." Further, "people may like the idea of being able to go to any doctor or hospital, but what they really want is to pay low insurance premiums. The market is giving them what they want. Some people are not keeping their doctors because, it turns out, they don’t want to pay for the privilege."
Jonathan Weil at Bloomberg View on the Supreme Court's unpaid interns. "One day I hope some young turk's lawsuit complaining about an unpaid internship makes it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, because there it would put a spotlight on a great irony: The Supreme Court has unpaid interns, too," Weil writes. Interns "work 8-hour days, five days a week" and don't have time to get a paying side gig. "Someday the justices may have to ask if what's good for the court is also good for the rest of the country. The example the court is setting speaks volumes already," Weil argues. Politico deputy managing editor Anne Cronin tweets this quote from a former Supreme Court intern: “I was paid in experience.”
Maria Konnikova at The New Yorker on first-person shooter video games. "What is it that has made this type of game such a success?" Konnikova asks. "It’s not simply the first-person perspective, the three-dimensionality, the violence, or the escape. ... the first-person shooter combines them in a distinct way: a virtual environment that maximizes a player’s potential to attain a state that the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls 'flow' — a condition of absolute presence and happiness." The "appeal is unlikely to disappear any time soon." London Business School professor Kevin Bodreau tweets, "Psychology, design of most popular video game of all time."