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Comments: Week of December 16, 2013


1. “Epic as it’s been, there’s a pettiness and a tactical ugliness to the struggle, along with a roster of hustlers out of an Elmore Leonard novel,” wrote Steve Fishman in a cover story on the lurid Miami-area wheeling and dealing behind Major League Baseball’s investigation of the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez for steroid use (Chasing A-Rod,” December 9). “Baseball vs. Alex Rodriguez has left Elmore Leonard’s territory and entered James Ellroy’s. This is seedy and great,” wrote Tim Marchman of Deadspin. “South Florida is something else,” tweeted the New York Times’ Ross Douthat. “Amazing how much spray tanning ­figures into the A-Rod story,” responded his colleague Paul Smalera. “I knew that the downfall of major players and even MLB itself would come from people so low down on the totem pole,” wrote a commenter on “I’m completely unsurprised this whole situation came about by a pathetic $4K owed to an even more pathetic deluded, spray-tan fanatic.” The MLB and A-Rod both came in for a heavy share of abuse from fans. “Bud Selig is nothing but a thug in a suit,” wrote one reader about the baseball commissioner. “A-Rod is just ­another textbook narcissist who blames ­others for the script he and he alone wrote,” argued another. “He’s just a bad guy who makes dishonorable choices and cries like a baby when those choices come back to bite him.” Others found sympathy, after a fashion, for the slugger. “His only crime might be that he’s not all that bright,” wrote Mike Cardillo at the Big Lead. “It would be unrealistic to think a kid who grew up as a star athlete and was drafted No. 1 overall at age 18 out of high school would be able to break down string theory, recite Proust and hit close to 700 career home runs. Still, the more details you read about him, the more A-Rod seems to have a totally vacant ­Patrick Bateman–level personality. It’s as if there’s an idea of what A-Rod wants to be, but you can’t quite figure out the humanity behind it.”

2. In an as-told-to memoir, Joe Jonas, one third of the Disney-made boy band and former tween sensation the ­Jonas Brothers, gave a rather transparent account of his years in the Disney machine and the struggle with megafame at a young age, including stories about dating starlets, smoking pot for the first time, and how much pressure executives put on the band’s creative process (My Life As a Jonas ­Brother,” December 9). Readers praised the star for daring to be so frank. “A revealing tell-all,” wrote Tara Aquino at Complex. “To say the least, it’s a ballsy piece.” “Practically every word is a revelation to me, as I have basically gone out of my way not to know anything about the Jonas Brothers,” admitted Amelia McDonell-Parry at the Frisky. “I have had some assumptions about the JoBros in general based on what little has managed to slip through, and this incredibly juicy profile squashed almost all of them.” “Disney execs are probably freaking out right now,” wrote Erin Donnelly at Refinery29. “The singer may catch flack for telling tales out of school, but it’s pretty refreshing to see a celebrity getting real about the pressures of fame.” Anne Helen Petersen of the Hairpin saw something a little more cynical in the reveals, tweeting, “This is a brilliant move—by owning up on how fake his image was, he makes his new image seem authentic.” Demi Lovato, whose relationship with Jonas was explicitly detailed in the article, lent her voice in support of her ex-boyfriend, tweeting, “love you brother. #family/friendsforever.” But other Disney stars had differing opinions on what it means to work for the Mouse. ­Zendaya Coleman, star of ­the program Shake It Up, tweeted, “I admire @joejonas and his honesty … so real and brave … but that’s his journey, not mine … don’t worry about me #igotthis.” “I think it’s bullshit that [the Jonas Brothers] were being robbed of choice or creativity. If they wanted to, they could have told Disney ‘NO,’ ” argued Dylan Sprouse, who starred on ­Disney’s show The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. “The only reason they didn’t is because, like many of the people on that channel, I think they fell for the allure of fame … Nowadays artists just assume they have to do what they are told by their proprietors because there is a ‘rigid structure to achievement’ … If you believe this, not only are you incredibly foolish, but you are a BAD ARTIST.

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