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Comments: Week of December 21, 2009


1. The aughts was a very long decade (or maybe it just felt that way), and though we tried to log every high point and lowlight in our recent retrospective (“The 00’s: A Million Little Cultural Pieces,” December 14), there were, according to our readers, a few things we either neglected or severely underplayed. Including, but not limited to: Monk,Bones, Gossip Girl (surprise!), Michael Jackson, “Lazy Sunday,” TV’s talented female show-runners, The Corrections, “Rick-rolling,” and Harry Potter. (“I mean, come on … you mentioned that wretched Twilight series twice.”) Some commenters, though, were appreciative of our analyses of aughts culture, such as the one who wrote of Emily Nussbaum’s “When TV Became Art” (“The Critical Decade”), “An ode like this makes me totally not regret the hours of my life that I have devoted to TV. It’s like the longest relationship of my life, and despite the rough times, the high points make it all worthwhile.” Another reader thought Jay Bulger (“The 00’s: Prince of the Professional Nobodies” ) did a similar favor to Jon Gosselin, who has a lot to do with TV but not much to do with art. “Jay Bulger has done the impossible: He has humanized a walking derelict.” Another worried about the children, otherwise known as the “Plus 8” in Jon & Kate Plus 8. “They’re absolutely adorable, and the reason why I first watched the show. I can’t imagine how they’ve managed to cope with everything.” But frequent commenter Scott Rose felt our take on the aughts, particularly as expressed in Michael Hirschorn’s lead essay, “The Ferality Show,” was entirely too negative: “In the field of chemistry alone between 2000 and now, there have been discoveries previously undreamed of. Look at Kurt Wüthrich’s work in structure analyses of biological macromolecules, for example. The ‘something more elevated’ is all around us, if we’re looking in the right places.”

2. No cultural or political event in our aughts issue inspired as much commentary as did a piece of recent wedding news: the engagement of Chelsea Clinton (not Jewish) to Marc Mezvinsky (Jewish) (“Intelligencer: A Jewish Clinton,” by Jennifer Senior, December 14). Levi Fishman of the Jewish Outreach Institute suggested that “this might be a case of what we call the ‘celebrity exception’ for Jewish intermarriage. In other words, the outspoken acceptance of intermarried couples from the Jewish community only seems to happen when one or both of the spouses have a high profile. We believe the Jewish community would be stronger if all intermarried families—not just celebrities—were made to feel welcome.” Other readers reacted to yet another intermarriage with something less than a hearty mazel tov. “Jews haven’t been around for over three millennia by marrying outsiders,” wrote one. “Jews are an endangered species.” Still others defended intermarriage by looking at the big picture: “Interfaith marriages are the best way to promote world peace. Who are you going to hate if you have ancestors of different religions and races? And of course you have so many more holidays to celebrate.”

3. Lastly, speaking of Madoff, our March 2 cover, which featured the infamous pyramid-schemer in Joker makeup, was chosen by Time magazine as the No. 1 magazine cover of the year. The cover image, illustrated by Darrow, was pronounced “timely and emotionally resonant,” making it “the hands-down winner.” Another New York cover, this from our October 12 “Swine Flu and You” issue, photographed by Horacio Salinas, was selected at No. 8. (“This cover is a triumph of styling and careful planning.”) We, of course, thank Time for the acknowledgments, as well as, indirectly, Bernie Madoff and our own sickly pig, who, we assure you, is back in perfect health.

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