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Comments: Week of December 15, 2008

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1. “Steve Fishman’s cover story on the last days of Lehman is a must-read” (Burning Down His House,” December 8), wrote the Big Picture blog. “The narrative of Fuld’s failure to find a buyer explains exactly why the government couldn’t and shouldn’t have saved the firm.” As for Dick Fuld, former Lehman CEO and current poster boy for the mortgage meltdown, several self-proclaimed ex-Lehmanites weighed in on our Website with their own impressions of their former boss. “I worked at Lehman for eleven years,” wrote one. “I came in just as it was being spun off from American Express. I can say that Fuld always inspired employees with fear as well as optimism in those first rocky years.” Another commenter was less sympathetic. “I worked at Lehman. They knew better. It was an evil place, and it was the worst experience of my life.” Fuld, of course, has been widely demonized as a symbol of Wall Street arrogance and greed—which is what we were trying to illustrate on our cover, though one reader, among several, felt it went too far. “I received my copy and assumed someone mistakenly placed an issue of Mad in my mailbox. Hold the horns. This isn’t preschool.”

2. While it didn’t tackle anything as important as the total meltdown of the global economy, Adam Sternbergh’s story explaining Quality Show Fatigue (The Mad Men Dilemma, December 8), about legions of Mad Men fanatics trying to convert him to the show, raised the ire of legions of Mad Men fanatics. Commenter Matahar summed up their worldview: “People want their friends to watch Mad Men because it is an off-the-charts brilliant show. It is composed of brilliant writing, acting, directing, and art directing. Its aesthetics are brilliant. It’s breathtakingly original on every possible level. It is thrilling, incisive, literary, witty, profound, heartbreaking, suspenseful, sexy, sensuous, sardonic, ironic, historically accurate, nostalgic, and groundbreaking. Unlike the tedious blather of this article, Mad Men is a phenomenon deserving its acclaim.” Dirty Red Shirt took issue with the fact that, in an article about why he hasn’t watched Mad Men, the author admitted he hadn’t watched Mad Men. “Who the hell appointed this writer to this story? Okay, I get it: He’s raising questions about show juggernauts, TV being better than ever, social and cultural viewing normatives, blah, blah, blah. He hasn’t even seen the show. Do your frickin’ homework!!!”


3. Hiding in Plain Sight (December 8), Jeff Coplon’s story of an undocumented family living in Sunset Park, touched off a similarly spirited conversation. “To the person who posted that undocumented/illegal citizens are getting a free ride, you obviously didn’t read the article,” wrote one commenter. “They pay the same consumption taxes that citizens do.” Another reader shared a story: “When I first graduated college I had an employer promise to sponsor me for a green card, but he strung me along to get a few months of cheap labor out of me. I had nowhere to complain to—and I was legal with a college education, so I can’t imagine what Alberto must have felt like.”

4. Last, readers reacted joyously to two new technological developments: Our food blog, Grub Street, launched an interactive map (“Fantastic!” “Righteous!” “Can we get this developed as an iPhone app?”), while all our blogs are now available direct to your mobile phone. (Yes, iPhones too.) “Oh, happy day,” said Xtina succinctly. Another commenter, Travelina, wrote, “I want to be able to read Daily Intel in elevators and taxicabs, and I don’t have an iPhone or Treo. Can you arrange? Also in the bathroom.” Dear Travelina: Our tech team is working on the beamed-directly-to-your-brain app. In the meantime, we’ll remind everyone that the paper-and-ink magazine remains a remarkably versatile and portable technology.


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