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Comments: Week of January 18, 2010

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1. Larry Kramer has spent a good deal of his life making people mad, but that was not the general reaction to Jesse Green’s profile of the activist, novelist, and professional curmudgeon (“4,000 Pages and Counting,” January 4–11). “I respect Larry Kramer. He didn’t sit on his hands and let the world push him uncomplainingly into the grave. I only wish I had one-tenth of the passion of Larry Kramer to make a difference in this homophobic world,” said one commenter. “I’m thankful for all his work, all his anger, so that I can live in relative peace as a young gay man. I might not agree with everything Kramer says, but I agree with his intent. And he will always have my respect and gratitude,” wrote another. Others talked of the ways Kramer inspired them. “Even before any of us had heard of HIV/AIDS I read Faggots. They were words that shook me. Not long afterward, HIV arrived and I knew I simply had to get off my ass and do something! I doubt I would have the courage or stamina to set up the first European response to HIV without his inspiration,” commented Martyn Butler, one of the founders of the Terrence Higgins Trust in Britain. Andrew Sullivan wrote movingly about Kramer’s impact on his life at his blog the The Daily Dish: “I owe my life in part to his and others’ activism. The gay community is, alas, criminally indifferent to its history. The memory of the plague has been wiped clean in millions of young minds. And the kids have moved on. That they barely know who Kramer is any more tells you a lot about their callowness, shallowness and also the success of the movement he helped galvanize. Larry has given many people hope, even as he has enraged others. One day, I pray that hope comes back to console him as well.”


2. Adam Platt set his dining-out agenda for the year (“Where to Eat 2010,” January 4–11), which many readers saw as an invitation to voice their own opinions. “Platt hits all the hot spots in this guide,” wrote the blog the Right Pick. “Love it or hate it, the guide is a gold mine for where you should really be setting your sights in the coming months!” A blogger at Eater noted that “Plattypants does stray from the pack a bit by shoveling praise on sleeper Seasonal and the divisive Sho Shaun Hergatt.” A commenter on nymag.com made that divisiveness clear, describing the food at Hergatt as looking “like something you would find at Michel Bras in 1990!” Platt’s list of tired trends (which included chocolate snobbery and Mason jars) also raised some commenters’ hackles. “There is a lot of nuance when it comes to chocolate,” griped one. “When it comes to desserts the percentage of cacao matters!” Swine enthusiasts took umbrage at Platt’s claim that the Great Pork Decade was over. “This slight to the animal I love so dearly is unforgivable and has transformed my indifference toward him to deep-seeded hatred,” cried one pork lover. Another simply vowed: “I will eat toasted bacon cubes until my heart explodes.”

3. Erica Orden’s profile of the new head of P.S. 1, Klaus Biesenbach (“Herr Zeitgeist,” January 4–11), brought out the usual art-world bickering. “The problem with Klaus is that he has no real eye for art! Being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right people is not a credential for being a curator. Does anyone remember a show he curated? No,” groused one commenter. Yes, countered another commenter: “Many of his exhibitions are quite memorable to me: Pipilotti Rist, Olafur Eliasson, Doug Aitken, to name just a few. In short, they were beautiful!”

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