On the Opinion Page: March 13, 2008


In which The Gay Recluse scores selected opinion pieces in The Times.

Gail Collins/Unwelcome Surprises

The Short Version: Who knew?

In her words: “Memo to future disgraced politicians: The nation has discussed this at length, and we do not want to see any more stricken spouses at the press conference. ”

Score: B (Boring)
We generally like Collins — and there’s certain a few humorous moments in this column — but much of what she has to say about Spitzer & Company sounds a few days old.

Nicholas Kristof/Do As He Said

The Short Version: Prostitution is bad.

In his words: “We do not permit indentured servitude or polygamy, or employment for less than the minimum wage. So why permit people to work in the unusually dangerous business of selling sex?”

The Score: D (Depressing)
The legalization of prostitution is a complicated issue, and though Kristof conveys some understanding, like so many of his columns, we finish this one feeling scolded and depressed.

Roger Cohen/The Global Rose as Social Tool

The Short Version: Ahh, the sweet smell of globalization!

In his words: “Look at the global economy one way and Buyaki earns the equivalent of seven bunches of roses for a month’s labor. That smacks of exploitation. Look at it another and she has a job she’d never have had until globalization came along.”

The Score: D (Depressing)
We almost always hate reading Cohen, and today is no exception. We’re not always opposed to international trade, but we don’t pretend that it’s the secret of happiness, either. Maybe this makes us “dumb,” (Cohen’s term), but we also question whether it’s really sustainable to ship flowers and many fresh food products around the world, given rising costs of energy, land and pollution.

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