1. Sometimes it’s the magazine that inspires the outrage of readers, and sometimes it’s the people we write about. This week, we saw equal amounts of both. The major source of reader agitation was “William,” the secretly gay man profiled by David Amsden (“Married Man Seeks Same for Discreet Play,” July 30). “I am the older, and hopefully wiser, sister of your wife; not by birth, but by experience,” wrote Patti H. of Oceanside, California. “Unlike you, however, [my ex-husband] had the courage to be honest with me before he chose to become sexually involved with a man.” Detractors came from both sides of the aisle. “For the record, I never ran around like this on my wife while living with her,” went a post on the blog Coming Out in Mid-Life in Red America. “I find this behavior dishonorable.” The magazine was also chided for presenting William’s situation as novel. “This isn’t a new discovery on Amsden’s part,” wrote Funky Brown Chick. “Didn’t E. Lynn Harris establish his entire writing career, in part, by crafting books about life ‘on the down low?’”
2. In the same issue, the profile of Fred Thompson (“The Actor,” by Stephen Rodrick) was another tale of a man unable to make up his mind—in this case about running for the presidency. Slate remarked on the piece’s “takedown tone,” describing it as “a 50-year highlight reel of Thompson’s indiscretions, gaffes, and disingenuous political postures.” The consensus was that this was “not exactly what I would call a flattering portrait” (that’s from the blog Tennessee Guerilla Women), but many readers found it persuasive. “This hostile profile affirms my sense of Thompson as a professional pol, well past his prime, snowing the voters, and snowed in turn by a restless, ambitious wife,” wrote Fresh Bilge. Finally, the depiction of Thompson as a creature of the Deep South drew charges of old-fashioned New York parochialism, albeit from an unusual source. “Yes, red staters are all Larry the Cable Guy–loving rubes. Or at least that’s the view from Manhattan,” wrote the political blogger for the Manhattan-based New York Sun.
3. “Cheap Eats” is among our most popular issues, but this year it also sparked a populist backlash—over our working definition of cheap, which we broadly interpret as anything that costs under $25. “After complaining about the expensive restaurants in my neighborhood,” wrote Escape Brooklyn, “I discover one of them on … The Cheap List.” The Midtown Lunch blog wrote that “it’s almost as if they want to piss people off by putting things on the list that, while reasonably priced for what you are getting, would never be described as cheap … Cheap, to most people, is a $5 lunch—not a $15 dessert-tasting menu.” In our defense, we refer you to our cover, where the term is “pretty cheap food” (emphasis added). Please also see the entry about the 99-cent slice of pizza. Cheap!
FROM THE VAULT
The five most popular pre-2007 stories from our Website, ranked in order of page views.
Every few months, we see a surge in traffic to an old story. This week, it was Naomi Wolf’s “The Porn Myth,” which was linked to on digg.com. No. 1 is the breakout story of Paris Hilton’s sex tapes—four years later, it still crops up in the ratings. Some, like the 2003 “Intelligencer” article announcing the arrival of sporting wives Cynthia Rodriguez, Kristian Rice, and Joumana Kidd, spike when there’s related news, like Alex Rodriguez’s recent Strippergate fiasco. No. 4 on the list is likely owed to this fall’s movie adaptation of that story. No. 5 has no clear link other than that dieting apparently never goes out of fashion.
REPORT FROM A READER
We spoke with subscriber Sally Rumble, 30, of Harlem, about the July 30 double issue.
David Amsden’s article, about the closeted gay husband, was pretty addictive reading. I felt kind of sorry for him and that he wasn’t being honest with himself. I also wanted more sordid details of his hookups. And maybe more info about the wife and what she’s like. I also flipped to the “Cheap Eats” section. It bugged me that it was so Fort Greene/Williamsburg/Jackson Heights based. I also don’t care what chefs eat. I appreciate that they are educated when it comes to food, but I am too.