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Comments: Week of October 31, 2011

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1. Noreen Malone’s temperature-taking cover story on twentysomethings got a lot of people talking about the mix of malaise and self-regard among those coming of age in the recession (“The Kids Are Actually Sort of Alright,” October 24). Many young readers saw themselves in the portrait. “I found a lot within the article to relate to: I’m certainly a member of the creative class, or at least, I’m trying to be; I’m overeducated and underemployed; and until I figured out what it was I wanted to do with my life, I had a hard time reconciling the idea that I could be ‘anything [I] wanted to be’ with careers that I found appealing,” wrote Tasha Caswell at Open Salon. “I’m not sure how I feel overall about this story, which attempts to paint a sweeping portrait of What It’s Like to Be a Twentysomething Today. But several passages really resonated with me,” wrote Emily Matchar at Newdomesticity.com. “As a recent grad, I know how easy it is to start down that slippery slope of dreary worthlessness, but I know that I’m in control of my future, and any change that I want to see starts with me,” added one optimistic commenter at nymag.com. Others found that self-confidence grating. “I don’t feel bad for these people,” wrote another commenter at nymag.com. “They are a bunch of malcontents with a sense of entitlement.” “This is what happens when kids don’t have jobs: They write long, sad-sack articles,” snipped blog The Call Up. At Chicago Reader blog Bleader, Tal Rosenberg objected to the essay’s broad descriptive claims. “The article does little to account for its subjects’ backgrounds,” he wrote. “Like the subjects in the photo slideshow, they’re cardboard cutouts of young, fashionable people that supposedly represent everyone. Like their parents’ generation before them (ta-da), the twenty-something is little more than a marketing term. Is there anything more absurd than an article that tries to ‘define a generation’?” But many readers found the survey very much worthwhile. “This article may only capture the experience of a slice of young America,” wrote one commenter, “but I personally needed this. It helps to know that there are others in my boat, feeling both empowered and lost.”

2. In Benjamin Wallace’s profile of Zachary Quinto (“What’s Up, Spock?” October 24), the actor casually acknowledged he was gay, and both the news and the low-key style of the announcement raised eyebrows, generating commentary in People, the Advocate, and everywhere in between. “Quinto came out of the closet (as we suggested he should last year!) and not even with one of those ‘I’m A Big Gay Clay Aiken’ covers!” wrote Max Read at Gawker. “No, he just kind of went for it in a dependent clause—set aside with (implied) commas!—while answering a question … So, good show to Zachary Quinto, who we think made a good Spock and comes across as a nice guy in the interview.” Kaiser of Celebitchy.com also admired Quinto’s approach: “I think that’s one of the better ways for an actor to announce to the world that he or she is gay. Just drop it in an interview like it’s nothing,” she wrote. In a note on his website, Quinto explained that he’d been moved to come out by the death of Jamey Rodemeyer, the 14-year-old who committed suicide in September after years of bullying and just months after posting his own “It Gets Better” advocacy video. “Jamey Rodemeyer’s life changed mine. And while his death only makes me wish that I had done this sooner—I am eternally grateful to him for being the catalyst for change within me. Now I can only hope to serve as the same catalyst for even one other person in this world.” By Tuesday, he already had, inspiring an equally nonchalant on-air coming-out from ABC’s World News Now anchor Dan Kloeffler, who was reporting on Quinto’s decision when he made the announcement and later wrote, “for the same reason that Zach decided to come out, I too no longer wanted to hide this part of my life … I don’t want to stand silent if I can offer some inspiration or encouragement to kids that might be struggling with who they are.”


3. Fans of Joan Didion swarmed to Boris Kachka’s profile of the writer in widowhood, wrestling with the death of her daughter in a new memoir (“I Was No Longer Afraid to Die. I Was Now Afraid Not to Die,” October 24). “Lately, no one has gone long on great American writers like @nymag,” tweeted @AndrewKroll. “Really well done—a moving and beautifully written look at this great woman—it was one of those pieces that New York does so well, that makes you stay on the subway far past your stop so that you can finish it,” wrote a commenter at nymag.com. “I couldn’t get past the second page, what a total takedown,” protested another. “Is it required that every profile of Joan Didion mention her weight, her height, or her seeming fragility?” wondered an exasperated Ellen at blog Wormbook. “Show some respect to a dignified older lady.”

Send correspondence to: nymletters@nymag.com


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