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Comments: Week of February 17, 2014

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1. “Anyone who loves @jimmyfallon has to read this. Makes you love him even more,” tweeted @em_pelant about Jada Yuan’s cover-story profile of the indefatigable heir to The Tonight Show (Last Night With Jimmy Fallon,” February 10). “Jimmy is magic,” said a commenter on ­nymag.com, one of many charmed by Fallon’s exuberance. But not everybody was optimistic about the move to 11:35. “I’m going to get all gloom and doom here and predict that this is a disastrous move,” wrote one commenter. “Fallon, while amusing in his current non-threatening time slot, doesn’t have the weighty presence and confidence of, say, Kimmel, Letterman, Stewart.” Wait, Kimmel? “The silly games with guests are the funniest part of his show,” argued a Fallon fan. “It’s refreshing to see positivity on screen ­after years and years of snark.” There was also a lot of discussion of Fallon’s monologue, which was a rapid three minutes for most of his Late Night run but which Jay Leno advised him to extend to eight or ten. “The monologue is the weakest part of his show,” argued one commenter. “I could easily see him starting the show by walking out, saying a quick hello and then rolling into his hashtags, thank-you notes, talking about the hot topics of the day (non-monologue style),” another agreed. “Jimmy, you have the opportunity to change what late night has redundantly become.”

2. Last month, Washington Post blogger and wunderkind wonk-hero Ezra Klein announced he was leaving the newspaper to start his own website; last week, Benjamin Wallace profiled the 29-year-old on the verge of his new venture, a sort of constantly updated news primer he calls “a truly significant, central news property for the digital age” (Here, Let Ezra Explain,” February 10). “[Project X] sounds ­extremely helpful if not all that revolutionary,” noted Dylan Byers in his blog at ­Politico. “So far—and I’m willing to believe Klein has more up his sleeve—‘Project X’ just sounds like a smarter, more reliable version of Wikipedia.” “When it comes to the category ‘working hard continually to improve what he does,’ in the very top tier of people I have met—ever—is Ezra. Also Paul Krugman,” wrote Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution. “These people deserve special appreciation, no matter what else you might disagree with them on. And furthermore these people should never be underestimated.” “Definitely the best long look at my friend Ezra Klein’s career and his theories of web journalism,” wrote Slate contributor Dave Weigel on his Facebook page. He did have one complaint: that Wallace didn’t spend enough time on Klein’s involvement with the private liberal e-mail list that, when it was made public by a rival journalist in 2010, got Weigel fired from the Post for politically prejudicial comments. “There could have been more of a look at what JournoList actually was. The occasional weird ad hominem argument aside, JournoList was largely a way for academics and journalists to talk to each other. Young reporters could find out where to find, say, health care or election data … You can draw a straight line from the JournoList idea to Ezra hiring a bunch of reporters to write competition-beating policy coverage, based (in part) on interviews with the right experts and academics and think-tankers.”


3. “Is gentrification all bad?” Justin Davidson asked in an essay that used the rapidly changing neighborhoods of Inwood and Bedford-Stuyvesant as case studies (February 10). “Davidson comes to the conclusion that while gentrification might indeed make life harder for communities that have been in neighborhoods for some time, a rising tide lifts all ships,” wrote Max Rivlin-Nadler at Gothamist. “Except maybe some people have to tread a bit harder just to stay afloat. So is gentrification a malignant tumor or a partially beneficial phenomenon whose evils have been overstated? Somewhere in between, probably.” “One froyo outlet, or even two, need not spell doom for a neighborhood,” suggested Shaunacy ­Ferro at Fast Company’s website. “Recent studies have backed this idea up, finding that gentrification improves the finances of original residents, and that people aren’t necessarily bound to move out once affluent neighbors move in, though not everyone is convinced by the idea of a gentrification trickle-down effect. In between the extremes of a poverty-stricken food desert and the bougie condo wonderland lies a middle ground, an economically diverse neighborhood where everyone can benefit from changes.” “I like yuppies,” added a commenter on nymag.com. Responded another: “I like Yuppies when they are fried and served with a small side salad.”

4. On February 18, Grand Central will publish a new book by our business and technology reporter Kevin Roose, who writes regularly on the culture and characters of Silicon Valley and Wall Street, both in the magazine and on Daily Intelligencer. In Young Money: Inside the ­Hidden World of Wall Street’s Post-Crash Recruits, Roose follows a class of finance initiates as they try to take over the world in the years just after the 2008 crash.

Send correspondence to: nymletters@nymag.com


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