1. For New York’s most recent cover story, Adam Sternbergh and Boris Kachka took stock of the booming podcast industry (“The Great Pod Rush Has Only Just Begun,” March 18–31). Pop Culture Happy Hour, which was listed in Nicholas Quah’s rundown of 100 podcasts worth listening to, was one of several programs to respond: “When you’ve been around as long as we have, in a podcast market as crowded and ever-changing as this one, getting this kind of a shout-out can still bring a tear to these rheumy old eyes.” Several readers lamented the lack of diversity in both the industry and the creators highlighted in the story. By the Book co-host Kristen Meinzer noted, “There’s a lot of great stuff in this story. But there’s also the implication that white & male podcasters deserve most of our attention. So many outstanding shows are being made by women & POC.” American Public Media’s Lauren Ober tweeted, “It should be a wake-up call for us that this is where investors are putting their money. In white men.” Clairebuoyant commented, “I’m an admitted podcast fanatic … Thus far, it’s been a (relatively) level playing field; if you had a microphone and a voice, you could start your own. I’m hoping all the influx of VC dollars isn’t going to mean that the platforms, rather than people, will drive the content.” Not every reader left convinced the medium has become essential, with Jessica Habib writing, “The only thing I want to do less than listen to podcasts is read about them.”
2. Stacey Abrams may have lost her gubernatorial bid, but her political future looks bright. In a profile by Rebecca Traister, the Georgia Democrat contemplated the different paths she might take (“Stacey Abrams, ____ ?,” March 18–31). Topic editorial director Anna Holmes tweeted, “There are SO many great insights, details and asides in this … It’s an impressive piece about an impressive woman whose ideas and policy prescriptions feel both realistic and envelope-pushing.” Julie Kohler tweeted, “My wish for the day: that we’d devote as much attention to [Elizabeth Warren’s] structural economic proposals and [Abrams’s] structural democracy proposals as we do Beto’s fund-raising.” Jamil Smith added, “[She] worked for years to get folks to participate in a democracy that eventually failed her. Then right away got to work fixing it. For all those pushing [Abrams] to run for POTUS, I first want her to win at what she’s doing now.” And The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer said the profile “shows why we’re likely to be hearing from Abrams for a long time to come.”
3. Cartoonist Cathy Guisewite’s namesake creation won her legions of fans, along with critics on the feminist left. Rachel Syme met with the artist to weigh her legacy (“AACK!,” March 18–31). Comic artist Kate Beaton responded, “ ‘Cathy’ was part of my childhood newspaper tapestry, though it spoke to adult women so it didn’t catch my attention. We didn’t identify with Cathy and her foibles. But I’ll never forget meeting Guisewite in person: warm, confident, a star. There I heard about the incident cited in the article, where organizers of a comics conference made her and other women participate in a mock pageant. I was disgusted. I thought, this woman has seen some sh*t, she has been through it, she passed through a female reality I never had to know. And she was groundbreaking.” And cartoonist Ben Towle was glad to see a reference to the essay “On Hating Cathy,” “one of my favorite pieces of comics writing in recent years. People often say that you can’t change anyone’s mind through argumentation and rhetoric, but that … article sure convinced me that I was being a big dumb jerk [with] my ‘jokey’ bashing of Cathy.”
4. Eric Levitz caught up with Between the World and Me author Ta-Nehisi Coates to get his insights on reparations, Trump, and 2020 (“Ta-Nehisi Coates Is an Optimist Now,” March 18–31). Nick Offerman advised, “This man has it going on. Please read this gently suggested way forward.” The Intercept’s Lee Fang saw more style than substance: “So many interviews with TNC and he’s rarely ever pressed on policy solutions or big ideas to address problems in society. Here, he is. Eric presses and presses and you can see TNC has little to say on any substantive reforms.” Dartunorro D. Clark simply wrote, “We don’t deserve Ta-Nehisi Coates.”
*This article appears in the April 1, 2019, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!