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Comments: March 31, 2008

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1. As befits a gubernatorial scandal with unending lurid subplots, readers had strong feelings about our cover treatment of Governor Eliot Spitzer. One online commenter derided us for ripping off Barbara Kruger, the well-known artist, until we pointed out that the cover was created by Barbara Kruger, the well-known artist. As for the image itself, reactions were never ambivalent. The blog Jerry’s Ink called it the “best magazine cover ever”—which meant a lot to us given that “Jerry” is Jerry Della Femina, the advertising legend (Pan Am, Meow Mix) who was cited as one of the “100 most influential advertising people of the century” by Advertising Age. Another Website, Mark Pasetsky’s Cover Awards, wrote, “I haven’t seen a better cover on the Eliot Spitzer scandal or a better cover this year.” Many readers agreed. “It has been a while since I have gone to my mailbox and got a chuckle, but yesterday’s cover delivered! It is a classic!” wrote Susan Cahn of New Jersey. Sara Ingram wrote, “Love the Spitzer cover—it says it all. I’ll wager that 100 percent of the comments you receive from women agree that it’s perfect. The percentage of men might be lower.” Well, women weren’t quite 100 percent in favor. “I was offended and disappointed,” wrote Teresa Barile of Astoria. Others felt that Spitzer had suffered enough. “It’s just puerile and tasteless,” wrote Judy Brooks. “It actually made me feel a bit sorry for Spitzer, and even sorrier for his family for having to look at such a stupid and insulting picture on all the newsstands of New York.” We take the point, though we’d suggest that right now our former governor has bigger things on his, er, brain.


2. “I am disappointed in Mr. Kolker’s sensationalization of the very real problems experienced by people living on the street,” wrote Stephan Russo, executive director of the Goddard Riverside Community Center, of Robert Kolker’s A Night on the Streets,” profiling a number of this city’s homeless (March 24). Russo goes on to detail his agency’s success in housing more than 220 individuals since September 2007. But others applauded our attention to this problem—just one of many that are too often overlooked. “Mayor Bloomberg’s failure to address New York’s homelessness problem is also an egregious failure to address the city’s aids epidemic,” wrote Charles King, CEO of Housing Works. “aids is the number one killer of women in the city shelters and the number two killer of men.” And one commenter on our Website offered a personal perspective. “I live in a shelter. It’s run, I’m told, like a jail. However, I’m safe, and with a hot shower available morning and night, and a small locker for my meager possessions. I have a master’s degree. Homelessness is not only for addicts.”

3. Where PETA goes, controversy is sure to follow. Responding to our recent article Home on the Asphalt (“Intelligencer,” by Lloyd Grove, March 24) about recent efforts to persuade the city to ban horse-drawn carriages, Peter Kobel of Friends of Animals wrote, “The story suggests that it’s mainly PETA and a few celebrities working on this campaign”—which, he points out, includes the Humane Society and the ASPCA. A livery driver, however, saw the piece as unabashed PETA PR. “It enrages me to see an article that paints the lunatics that harass us as some sort of noble army of truth,” writes S. Ryan Rzepecki, who then adds, “I know how these comments pages work. You select a few zingers from some people and print the most witty. [That is true.] I think this deserves a more serious look than that.” Also true—which is why we’ll point him, and you, toward the comments about this story on our Website, where a high-horsepower conversation is taking place right now.


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