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Comments: Week of September 1, 2008

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1. The Olympics long ago lost any claim to innocence, but if the response to Will Leitch’s less-than-rah-rah assessment (“Daily Intel: Why the Olympics Are the Reality TV of Sports,” August 13) is any indication, people still feel oddly sentimental about the Games. All Leitch was trying to do was explain that to a sports obsessive like himself, the Olympics rate only moderate interest—he for one would much rather watch his beloved St. Louis Cardinals—and that was enough to open the floodgates of scorn, ridicule, and wounded national pride. “Well, Will, now you know how we nonfans feel the rest of the four-year span listening to you sports dudes yammer away about the never-ending cycle of football, hoops, soccer, baseball, hockey,” wrote one of the aggrieved. “Boredom. Pity. Disbelief. Mild panic that the monologue will never end.” Another lover of the Olympics wrote: “How do you not enjoy rooting for your country in any athletic endeavor?” Leitch’s own fans volleyed back, and then there were a few comments we weren’t entirely sure about, such as: “You don’t watch for the purity of the sport, you watch to see your team win,” wrote a reader, testing our ability to detect parody. “And obviously you don’t love America or you would consider that one of your teams as well. I bet you didn’t even wear a flag pin when you wrote this.” This guy’s joking, right? Either way, as a precaution, Leitch has been forcibly enrolled in Archery Appreciation class, compelled to recite the Pledge of Allegiance daily, and told to lay off the Cardinals for the duration of the Games.


2. We don’t often get comments left on nymag.com in Spanish—but then we also don’t often show a Majorcan man-god like Rafael Nadal shirtless on the cover, either (“Fall Fashion,” August 25). “El mejor, sin duda. España está orgullosa de él y yo voy al U.S. Open a verlo en la final! Porque Nadalete estará en la Final y ganará! Yo confío en él, y él confía en él. Que yo lo sé! Olé … olé y olé!!!!!” (Translation: “The best, no doubt. Spain is proud of him. And I’m going to the U.S. Open to see him in the finals! Because Nadalete, he’ll be in the finals and he’ll win! I believe in him and he believes in himself. I know it! Olé!!!!”) English-language commenters were no less stoked: “Breathtaking”; “Oh my God”; “Most beautiful man on the planet—inside and out!” As for Christie Brinkley, who graced the other of our two fashion covers, the verdict was more mixed. While some praised her for aging beautifully—“The woman just has it! Still as drop-dead gorgeous as ever”—others felt compelled to recall the fact that, decades ago, she “unceremoniously dumped the first husband for the race-car guy.” Some also noted her dull personality and her phony perma-smile, which inspired this defense of her honor: “What a cliché to say that she has no edge. What exactly is an edge anyway? And someone talks about how she needs to see a shrink because she is happy and smiling. Oh please.”


3. There was a curious reaction to Nathaniel Johnson’s circumspect view of the Function line of health drinks (His Magical Elixir,” August 18)—a number of commenters felt moved to proclaim their love of the company’s products in terms that sounded, well, like marketing slogans. “I have found great success with the Function line”; “Low calorie and delicious”; “A miracle in a bottle.” This flurry of hype constituted what one reader referred to as “the Josh Bednarsky syndrome.” If you have to ask who that is, you have not been reading the “Comments” page closely enough! We wrote about Bednarsky two weeks ago, remarking on the suspicious outpouring of support for him on nymag.com after he was featured in the magazine (Artifact: Big Tights to Fill,” August 11) as one of the hundreds of young actors who went to the open casting call for the Broadway production of Spider-Man. Don’t worry if you didn’t get a callback, Josh; you’re already famous.

Please send e-mails to: comments@nymag.com


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