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Comments: Week of February 11, 2013

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1. Last week’s cover story was a long and unusually intimate profile of City Council speaker and mayoral favorite Christine Quinn, by Jonathan Van Meter (Madam Would-Be Mayor,” February 4). But it was the cover photo, a close-up of Quinn in a high-collared black coat, that caught readers’ eyes first. Last Tuesday, the day after the magazine hit newsstands, the New York Post published as its own front cover a reproduction of the image, under the headline “Mayor Dracula: Quinn Vamps It Up,” by Tara Palmeri. “What should have been a publicity scoop—­including an eight-page profile—left political analysts and celebrity stylists scratching their heads with a photo that screams elite fashionista at best—or Countess Dracula at worst,” she wrote. The Post even ran a follow-up story the next day, but others were less shocked—or faux shocked. “Our girl Christine Quinn’s unflinching, defiant, and dramatic gaze on NY Mag—plus the revealing article that accompanied it—only made us dig the Speaker more,” wrote Leila Brillson at Refinery 29. “The Speaker of the Council, if you haven’t noticed, is a woman. She is also a very open lesbian, and a Democrat. These three things make her an anomaly: New York has never had a female mayor, much less a lesbian, and a Democrat hasn’t been in control of the city since the early ’90s. But, for some reason, it’s this ‘woman’ thing that is troubling for a lot of Quinn’s critics—including snark for her sleek NY Mag turn.” “I’d rather be a woman in politics than a man in politics,” the speaker herself told the Post, responding in particular to the tabloid’s critique of her outfit (and her flair in wearing it). “All they get to do is wear the same old boring blue, gray, tan suits over and over again. The thrill of their life is picking a tie. We’ve got pins and earrings and bracelets … I feel bad for them. And the one thing they get to pick is choking them all day.” Readers found a lot more of that outspokenness in Van Meter’s profile, most of them applauding it. “Loved the piece, loved the writer’s take on it,” wrote a commenter at nymag.com. “I saw no fluff, only a personal look at a candidate who was willing to talk.” But one comment in particular from the mayor raised eyebrows. “This week’s cover story is, unintentionally perhaps, peppered with witty one-liners that would make RuPaul and Michelle Visage jealous,” wrote Ami Angelowicz and Julie Gerstein at The Frisky. “The highlight is Mayor Bloomberg’s little cameo where he gestures toward a woman in a very tight floor-length gown standing nearby and says ‘Look at the ass on her.’ Sure, this can be seen as objectifying skeeviness, but when, in the next paragraph, Quinn talks about how Bloomberg doesn’t like her in flat boots, you get the picture that these two are the catty, shade-throwing queens of City Hall.”


2. “I just don’t think movies matter as much anymore, culturally,” director Steven Soderbergh told Mary Kaye Schilling in a long interview published just before his retirement, at 50, from one of the most idiosyncratic, and prolific, of contemporary filmmaking careers (In Conversation: Steven Soderbergh,” February 4). Readers seemed more charmed by Soderbergh as conversationalist—“Thank you, this has been the best thing I’ve read on the internet in forever”—than as director. “The fact is Soderbergh is not one of the cinema’s passionate directors—so this news is not surprising,” wrote one commenter at ­nymag­­­.com. “He is a talented director who seems just ‘curious’ about his subjects. This will always separate him from, say, a P. T. Anderson or Tarantino. Him retiring from film is a natural extension of the attitude of his cinema. It does not go the extra mile, it is not marked by a sense of passion.” Added another: “He’s been remarkably ambitious, which causes everyone to forget that he’s really only successful about 40% of the time.” And a third was even more cutting: “Oh no, where am I going to go for slow-paced, pointless star vehicles?”

Send correspondence to: nymletters@nymag.com


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