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Comments: Week of July 8, 2013

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1. “Could you imagine a workplace where nobody’s in charge, you don’t work your way up from a cubicle to the corner office, and employees vote on who gets promoted?” asked Carolyn Gregoire, at Huffpost Healthy Living, about ­Matthew Shaer’s survey of a new breed of nonhierarchical, even bossless offices (The Boss Stops Here, June 24–July 1). Some readers didn’t find it so far-fetched. “Things are run without traditional bosses and more like King Arthur’s round table where no one is seated at the head, and everyone sort of self-­governs,” explained Mike Dang at the Billfold. “It’s not perfect, but it’s working.” But commenters at nymag.com were a little more skeptical. “This is a very nice thought and a feel-good fuzzy idea,” wrote one. “And would turn into Lord of the Flies in most offices within a week.”

2. Graeme Wood became obsessed with the reputation of a college classmate who had faced federal tax-evasion charges and then reinvented himself online as a philanthropist, philosopher, and journalist. When Wood followed the trail of those claims, however, he found himself knee-deep in the dark side of the reputation-management business, in which whole Potemkin villages of websites tout false achievements and ­distinctions, likely for the benefit of trawling search bots rather than discriminating human eyeballs (Scrubbed,” June 24–July 1). “I’m ­completely creeped out by this piece,” wrote one commenter at nymag.com. “The guy’s charges were dropped, but some insanely jealous guy he barely knew in college is obsessed with making sure he suffers anyway. A Google alert to keep abreast of an acquaintance’s troubles? Nutso.” Other readers found the reputation-scrubbing business the more worrisome part of the story. “The author’s motivation was kind of weird, but the larger point he’s making about how wealthy people like Upham get scammed … was perfect,” wrote one. Other commenters went further. “I found the story fascinating and convincing,” wrote one. “What I can’t tell is whether all of the comments attacking the author/article are real (standard Internet trolls) or another attempt to shape the perception of the Interwebs through not-so-subtle manipulation.”

3. “This past April, [Nelson] Castro had to resign his Assembly seat when it was revealed that he’d been indicted for perjury, after which he was a government informant for almost his entire tenure in the State Assembly,” wrote Steve Fishman in a profile of the former assemblyman that doubled as a portrait of backroom Albany (Nelson Castro in the Machine,” June 24–July 1). Some thought the problem went well beyond Castro and those he secretly recorded: “The wholesale corruption of the city’s Democratic Party, an example of which is evidenced here, is reason enough not to elect a Democrat as mayor,” wrote one commenter at nymag.com. “The ­Democratic Establishment has waited twenty years to regain City Hall and the patronage, graft and contracts they have missed. As a Democrat I have become ashamed of my party and will not vote for one to be mayor. It’s enough they’re ­robbing State government.

4. “I would like to dedicate this song to a girl, a lady,” Stevie Nicks announced, just before launching into “Landslide” at Fleetwood Mac’s June 22 Jones Beach show. “Her name is Jada, and she wrote the most beautiful article about me.” That article was Jada Yuan’s recent profile of the singer at 65 (The Fairy Godmother of Rock,” June 17). “She got something that nobody that has ever written about me before has ever gotten, and I just wanted to tell her how much I appreciate that. I’ll never, ever forget it.”

5. Legendary photographer Bert Stern passed away last week, after a long career as one of Hollywood’s premiere portraitists, with a special talent for capturing its female stars. We were lucky enough to work with Stern twice in recent years, once publishing portraits of Kate Moss and once Lindsay Lohan, in a restaging of his iconic last-days series of Marilyn Monroe (February 25, 2008), for one of our best-selling issues of all time.

Send correspondence to: nymletters@nymag.com


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