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Comments: Week of September 28, 2009


1. The openly gay actor Neil Patrick Harris doesn’t just have fans. If the response to Emily Nussbaum’s portrait of the groundbreaking star (“High-Wire Act September 21) is any guide, Harris inspires an almost unhealthy intensity of devotion. “I don’t know if he’s lucky or just that talented, probably a healthy mix of the two, but he is great in everything,” gushed one commenter on “NPH was so damn good as the Tonys host I blew off friends to stay home and watch it,” admitted another. Others went deeper to respond to the complicated nature of being an out Hollywood star. “What’s different about them [Harris and Ellen DeGeneres], and why I admire both immensely, is their achievement of effortlessness with the gay thing,” wrote Andrew Sullivan on his blog, the Daily Dish. “They both seem real. Their sexual orientation is part of who they are, but who they are is also larger and more complicated than that.” Another commenter expressed his concern, saying, “I love the article, but it makes me anxious. I want it to be not that big a deal that he’s doing so well right now. I want it to be cool, normal, and not newsworthy. So that other aspiring actors can emerge from their niches and join him up there.” While readers seemed universally thrilled with the story itself, some were less enthused about the cover image of Harris applying bright-red lipstick. “The article is all about this great actor breaking down gay stereotypes, and on the cover you have him putting on lipstick,” wrote one reader. Not everyone found the image offensive, though; one commenter noted, “If a straight comic actor would put on lipstick, it would be considered funny. If a gay comic actor does that, he is being offensive. That’s you biting your own tail here, folks.”

2. The 53 hours that Nepalese visitor Krishna Gurung spent lost in Queens, as traced by Michael Idov (“Krishna Gone Missing September 21), drew compassion from many readers. “I live in Woodside, and I remember reading her missing-person ad at the entrance to the 7,” recalled one commenter. “It’s good to know that she was found. And I think it’s kind of funny that she remembers Pop Diner and the Elk statue. I never fail to miss those going down Queens Boulevard.” Said another, “I sympathize for her daughter most of all, who must feel responsible for Krishna’s inevitable nightmares of ghosts and cemeteries and being lost in a place with 24-hour lights coming from empty buildings. She must have been so frightened.” Some commenters shared their own memories of getting lost. “When I first arrived as an immigrant, I got lost many times. One of the worst times was at night, pouring rain, in New Jersey. I had missed my bus stop, which by day I could recognize. At night everything looked different,” said one. “Reminds me of getting lost in Rome for the better part of a Saturday,” said another. “I kept asking everyone where the Vatican was and they just laughed, because it was too hard to explain, and too far to get to on foot.”

3. Mark Jacobson’s story about the uneven enforcement of marijuana laws (“The Splitting Image of PotSeptember 21) introduced the legalization question into the comments section on “In a rational society, the full-page photo of a smoldering marijuana bud in the print version of this article would instead have been a (highly paid for) advertisement,” asserted one commenter. “But the alcoholic-beverages lobby would rather die than see marijuana legalized. This matter is not decided on the abstract merits. Marijuana remains illegal chiefly because the alcoholic-beverage industry wants it to remain illegal.” Well, not only that industry. “A healthy society,” wrote another reader, “ is not one that sanctions its members getting high on drugs.”

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