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Comments: Week of October 24, 2011


1. Design geeks went nuts for Wendy Goodman and Justin Davidson’s urban-design cover story (“The City As ­Laboratory,” October 17). “Urban global design issue is amazing, kudos to Wendy Goodman and Justin Davidson,” tweeted @Gothamist1. “Feeling inspired,” added ­ @eteng. At Curbed, Sarah Firshein called the special design issue “epic”; her coworker Kelsey Keith elaborated: “Davidson swoops in to suggest pilfered ideas, some controversial (from Hong Kong–like high-rise density in Williamsburg, Willets Point, and Queens Boulevard and pedestrian boulevards and bike lines à la Copenhagen) to the New York–South Korean hybrid of Songdo, where Kohn Pedersen Fox has devised an ‘anti-utopian plan.’ Davidson also addressed newly anointed Times favorite Via Verde in the Bronx as harbinger of what should be—though fully admits that one building can’t make an entire neighborhood. Time to get crackin’!”

2. Evan Hughes’s group portrait of Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Franzen, Mary Karr, and David Foster Wallace as young writers (“Just Kids,” October 17) warmed the hearts of readers, especially those who seemed to be writers themselves, or aspiring ones. “I was tremendously moved by this article,” wrote one commenter on ­ The blog Reading in LA went further: “This piece feels quasi-religious … It’s so gratifying, so thrilling really, to read about these writers as young people, floundering around in failed or failing marriages, struggling with addiction and depression, trying to figure out how and why to write, and griping to each other with equal parts bitter jealousy and ardent love.” Even Salman Rushdie was impressed: “I grew up with Amis, McEwan, etc. Here’s a really good account of another bunch. Becoming a writer is HARD,” he tweeted. “Does @evanhughes ever nail the halcyon days when Franzen, Eugenides and DFW were young literary turks,” wrote @sarahw. Blogger Poop Reads was skeptical that all the writers deserved the hagiography. “Like a Brat Pack for hipsters, I guess?” he wrote. “I don’t know, it sounds like they were all just dominated by David Foster Wallace the way Calvin Johnson is dominating every d-back in the NFL right now. Just nothing you can do. One guy is six foot five, runs a 4.3 forty and has a 45-inch vertical, the other guy was a visionary philosopher who knew more about grammar than Jesus. Nothing mere mortals can do but eat it.”

3. Readers combed through Benjamin Wallace’s profile of Piers Morgan (“Piers Morgan Isn’t Sleeping Well,” October 17) for juicy bits about the CNN host’s time as editor of the Daily Mirror, where he engaged in the dark arts of tabloid journalism and may or may not have approved phone-hacking (he says not). “Morgan has certainly felt pressure of the scandal’s resurfacing, having to publicly comment on the allegations, refute accusations, and mull over stories he published in his memoir time and time again,” wrote Rebecca Shapiro at the Huffington Post. “NYMag CAT scans @PiersMorgan searching for evidence of humanity and humility,” tweeted the New York TimesDavid Carr. (“Overrated virtues,” Morgan tweeted back.) Commenters on ­ were largely uncharitable to Morgan. “Piers Morgan is a despicable man who keeps getting rewarded here in the United States for his unethical, ­immoral, and possibly criminal behavior,” wrote one. “His days as a tabloidist will eventually catch up with him.” “I’m no Larry King fan, but Piers Morgan makes Larry look like a paragon of talent,” quipped another. But there was at least one dissent. “Morgan is the most intelligent, quick-witted, masterful interviewer to hit TV in a very long time. Watching him have such a good time at work is extremely appealing.”

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