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Comments: Week of October 14, 2013

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1. “She has her own meme manager, her own book, her own book tour, a litter-pan full of web awards, a movie deal and a company valued at $1 million. Out of all of that, strangely enough, ‘meme manager’ may give the most pause. (Or is that paws?),” wrote Kevin Melrose at Robot6 about our cover subject and her manager, Ben Lashes (Grumpy Cat,” October 7). “The article makes a point of how diligently the people making money from Grumpy Cat police uses of her likeness.” But should the same standards of artistic ownership apply to Internet animals? “As anywhere on the internet, protecting intellectual property is key for the ability of creators to make a living,” Max Read at Gawker wrote. “Grumpy Cat, though, is less a ‘creation’ than a kind of … natural resource, from which its owners extract rent. (In this way it is an excellent cover model for a package on the 2013 economy.) The real ‘creators’ aren’t Grumpy Cat’s owners but those who use Grumpy Cat’s likeness to create content: Photoshops, image macros, and so forth.” Other questions: Is Grumpy Cat exploited? “I love Grumpy Cat,” a reader on nymag.com wrote. “That said, I cannot really enjoy Grumpy any more. I feel like she’s lugged around to be manhandled by total ­strangers for cash.” Are other cats envious? “As if we were jealous or something when we saw this sourfaced downerpussy hogging the cover,” renowned feline “reviewer” Chloe wrote at the blog Shit My Cats Read. “I’m sorry: You can sell Grumpy Cat condoms, Grumpy Cat debit cards, Grumpy Cat marijuana lollipops, but true empires are not built on the accidentally humorous facial expressions of animals who probably haven’t read a book in the past six months.” As for Grumpy Cat’s appearance on the magazine’s cover, one reader wrote that he owes his mailman an apology, another that “I’m one step closer to having my parents understand my job.”


2. Molly Young’s profile of David Karp, the young founder of Tumblr who recently sold his blogging platform for $1.1 billion to Yahoo (It Was the Biggest Game of Chicken I’ve Ever Seen,” October 7), diverted briefly into the CEO’s enthusiasm for toy drones. The Daily Mail’s headline: “Tumblr Founder David Karp Loves Flying Drones”; Betabeat’s: “David Karp Wants to Talk About Drones.” Sam Biddle at Valleywag looked beyond the hobby to the question of Karp’s talents as CEO. “A rare interesting profile of Karp,” Biddle wrote. “[He] still has his youthful goofiness. But quirk won’t push stock prices. Unfortunately, his web baby has grown up into a chic ad platform, not an artists’ commune. And unfortunately, everyone else at Yahoo! has to operate in a world in which they haven’t already cashed out for $200 million, and must worry about the future, not just GIF it.”

3. As Justin Davidson noted in his review of recent urbanism books (How Do You Fix Long Island?” October 7), everyone loves to hate the suburbs, but few now grapple with how to improve them. Commenters piled on the hate: “A great deal of suburban Long Island is an aging eyesore with severely antiquated infrastructure,” wrote one. “Forget mid-century suburbia, a great deal of LI is not more advanced than it was in the 1920s,” added another. Richard Murdocco of ­Syosset wrote to us with a defense: “To judge the nation’s most populous suburb by the 110 corridor (which also is Long Island’s second largest employment center) is oversimplifying of Long Island’s regional issues. Long Islanders grapple with the delicate balance of maintaining social ­equity, growing our stagnant economy and protecting our fragile environment, all while trying to maintain quality of life and property values that our residents so cherish. What most urban residents forget is that Long Island cannot sustain the higher density ‘civilized’ developments so many tout. Bigger apartment buildings cannot be supported by our current infrastructure, or served by our existing fire departments. To tackle our issues, our residents must first fully understand them.”

Send correspondence to: nymletters@nymag.com


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