1. Last week’s cover featured a split screen of Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer, two of New York’s most fantastically scandal-plagued politicians, who are putting in new bids for public office. Mark Jacobson’s article on Weiner’s return to the political ring (“Huma? Hey, Honey? Was I Happy Before I Started Running for Mayor?,” July 22) made the former congressman a little more palatable, at least to readers at nymag.com. “I don’t know whether I’d vote for him or not, but this is a great story about an interesting guy in a very strange situation,” wrote one commenter. “He might be clinically crazy, but he might also be the best mayor of the city,” added another. “I’m starting to change my mind about his candidacy.” Not everyone was as ready to give Weiner (or any of them) a chance. “Let’s face it, there is not one candidate that stands out as being comfortable with being honest, caring, curious, and excited to be responsible for the job at hand,” wrote one. “Their blatant greed for power is what stands out. Their unabashed need for public recognition as affirmation is a sign that, as a city and a culture, we are swimming on the very bottom of the barrel.” Others left politics aside entirely and zeroed in on a different detail: namely, Jacobson’s writing about Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin. “Abedin always gets good press, but this piece takes it to a new level,” noted Isaac Chotiner at The New Republic, before listing “as a public service” what he felt were the creepiest passages. “Ok, we get it. She’s a very nice lady (who could do a lot better than her weirdo of a husband),” added Dashiell Bennett at the Atlantic Wire. For the record: The passages in question were intentionally hyperbolic but we take the point.
The composite cover earned nearly as much chatter as the articles it accompanied. “Something tells us the editors of New York Magazine aren’t exactly thrilled with the caliber of candidate vying for their votes this year,” wrote the blog Twitchy about the mash-up. “The cover, an unholy half–Anthony Weiner, half–Eliot Spitzer abomination, will make walking past the newsstand a very uncomfortable experience.” Surveying the response across the web, Twitchy noted, “Reaction has ranged from ‘awesome’ to ‘disgusting.’” “If you want to sleep peacefully for the foreseeable future, please do not stare at this too hard or for too long,” warned Justin McLachlan in his post at Fishbowl DC. “The most amazing thing, or maybe the creepiest, is that at first glance, you don’t notice that these are pictures of two different men spliced together instead of a single guy having a stroke.”
2. In an nymag.com essay on the meaning of Trayvon Martin and the not-guilty verdict returned last week in the trial of his killer, George Zimmerman, the Roots’ Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson reflected on the indignity and tragic self-consciousness of being seen always as a threat by others—and training yourself over the years to withdraw rather than engage as a result (“Trayvon Martin and I Ain’t Shit,” July 16). “Imagine a life in which you think of other people’s safety and comfort first, before your own,” he wrote. “It’s the opposite of entitlement.” The essay was one of the most widely read stories we’ve ever published on the web. “Damn. As a black woman, I don’t know how I got through reading this without crying,” wrote one reader. “Quest is reading my mind,” wrote another. “I’m not quite his size but I’m not small and that coupled with dark skin equals ‘potential threat’ to a lot of people regardless of any other circumstances. I could fill a moderately sized book with stories of reactions ranging from mild surprise to abject terror that white people have had upon seeing or hearing me in various situations. There isn’t anything that I can do about how others choose to view me but whenever such things do happen I laugh a bit at first and then shake my head.”