This week, Nation interns tackle media bias. What is "sharia" law? What's missing in common debates about "labor"? How do white male tech writers feed the Silicon Valley myth of meritocracy? Read on for these and other reflections.
— Alleen Brown
Alleen focuses on education.
“Venture Capital's Massive, Terrible Idea For The Future Of College,” by Maria Bustillos. The Awl, January 31, 2013.
Maria Bustillos uses the voices of two ideologically opposed academics to freshen up the debate over what MOOCs mean. Are Massive Open Online Courses an opening of educational access to those traditionally shut out? Or a cynical substitute for better-funded college courses?
— James Cersonsky
James focuses on labor and education.
“Grin and Abhor It: The Truth Behind ‘Service with a Smile,’” by Sarah Jaffe. In These Times, February 4, 2013.
Why does Nicholas Kristof feel the need to rescue sex workers from abusive working conditions—but not restaurant workers? In this powerful narrative, Sarah Jaffe discusses the "emotional labor" often explicitly demanded of service sector workers, especially women. If only more so-called labor reporting used this analytic lens, or, for that matter, shouted out to Selma James and Angela Davis. Sigh.
— Catherine Defontaine
Catherine focuses on war, security and peace-related issues, African and French politics, peacekeeping and the link between conflicts and natural resources.
“Marching Through the Monarchies,” by Emma Sky. Foreign Policy, February 1, 2013.
Two years after the Arab Spring, Emma Sky went to Saudi Arabia, Oman and Jordan to see whether governments in the region have successfully implemented changes in response to protests in the Middle East and North Africa. This article highlights what the people living in these three monarchies think of their leaders and how they view the Arab Spring. At the end of her journey, Sky realizes that “the Arab Spring was not viewed as a movement toward greater freedom and democracy, but rather as the breakdown of society into violence and chaos.” People in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Jordan never speak of political freedoms, though they reject corruption and ask for job opportunities, better incomes and more transparent governments. According to Sky, they would certainly agree with Ibn Taymiyya, a medieval Islamic scholar, who famously said: "Better 60 years of tyranny than one night of anarchy."