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Comments: Week of September 2, 2013

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1. Actress, writer, and director Lake Bell appeared on the cover of our Fall Fashion issue wearing nothing but a temporary tattoo (August 19–26). “If you didn’t know who Lake Bell was before then you will for sure know her now!” wrote Perez Hilton. “You sure know how to dot an i,” noted reader Paul Barlo. “The cover of the new New York Magazine can only be described as breathtaking as far as I’m concerned,” wrote Chez Pazienza at the Daily Banter. “The interview inside is pretty damn good as well.” A few other readers managed to tear themselves away from the cover image to read Amanda Dobbins’s accompanying profile of Bell, whose new movie In a World … was her first feature as writer, director, and producer. “I think she’s delightful and cannot wait to see this movie!” wrote a commenter on nymag.com. “Go, girl and bring us more intelligent, lovely films!” gushed another. “I’m glad to hear about her crusade against vocal/glottal fry. It’s bad enough hearing it in person, but it’s torture hearing it in a film,” wrote a commenter, referring to Bell’s distaste for the commonly heard Valley Girl accent. But not everyone was onboard with her campaign against sexy-baby voice. “She is advising women that they should sound more ‘sophisticated and sexy’ while wearing the bumper sticker of pre-teendom: a temporary tat,” observed Tess Lynch at Grantland’s Hollywood Prospectus blog. “Picking at the vocal quirks of your own gender is just as much of a nuisance as harping on the bodies that belong to them.”

2. “People are always asking Marc ­Jacobs what he’ll think [about his tattoos] when he’s 80,” Amy Larocca wrote in an essay on the rise of tattooing in the fashion world, and that world’s own copiously inked grand duke, Marc Jacobs (“Ink on Ink,” August 19–26). “His answer is: Who knows what he’ll think about all of this 30 years from now? But even more than that: Who cares?” Commenters did. “They’re fun tattoos, not overwrought designs. They appear rather spontaneous,” wrote one reader on ­nymag.com. “Perhaps the best one of all is Jacobs’s super-meta cartoon version of himself, complete with mini-versions of his other actual tattoos,” wrote Isabella Biedenharn at Fashionista. Others were equally impressed with Jacobs’s use of his body as a canvas. “You’ve got to be fundamentally sure of yourself and your decisions to take the leap of finality with the ink,” wrote the blogger at Man Repeller. “On the other hand though, you may very well just be, as Larocca later puts it, adhering to ‘the culture’s shift toward tattoos.’ ” But some were less positive about the permanent body art. “His body, while I’m sure a wonderland, looks like a Monopoly board,” wrote one commenter. “Tattoos are so corny,” added another. “People who suggest that tattoos will always be relevant are kidding themselves.”

3. “Feeling beautiful is a subjective experience,” the novelist Lionel Shriver wrote in a fashion-issue meditation on weight, “a short-lived little crack high that I would argue we overrate” (“Warning: I Will Employ the Word ‘Fat,’ ” August 19–26). The essay “says so much about humankind—what motivates it and leaves it desperately strung out—in so little space. Amazing,” wrote Rich Juzwiak at Gawker. But commenters at nymag.com took issue with Shriver’s argument, particularly her suggestion that we are hardwired to find obesity distasteful. “I won’t argue with the aversion to the concept of fat,” noted a commenter. “But I do argue with your defeatist stance that fat is fat is fat, and it will never be beauty. The problem never was fat, it’s been beauty all along.” “Has she not heard of the ancient Venus figurines?” asked another. “Or all of the plump Buddha statues in Asia?” Others were more judgmental—though not of Shriver. “Being fat is a decidedly human failing,” wrote one reader. “It is the greatest drain on our health care system and it should be treated as a disease, just like any other addiction.”

Send correspondence to: nym.letters@nymag.com


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