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Comments: Week of February 24, 2014

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1. Lupita Nyong’o graced the cover of our “Spring Fashion” issue, talking with Alex Morris about her heady trip from drama student to Oscar-nominated “It” girl (Zoom,” February 17–24).“She certainly has the poise and grace of a bonafide star,” wrote Jamie Feldman at HuffPost Style. “Perhaps that’s why her look is a bit more … conservative than Lake Bell’s Fashion Issue cover from last season.” (Which, for those who don’t recall, featured Bell wearing tattoos and little else.) Others found Nyong’o’s demeanor more “defended” than “poised.” “Lupita kind of reminds me of Rooney Mara personality-wise, which scares me,” wrote one commenter. “The use of ‘aloof’ is never a good thing.” “[Lupita] seems to be a public-relation rep’s dream, carefully selecting every word to talk about her rise,” wrote Rachel Hislop at Global Grind (she added some unequivocal praise for Erik Madigan Heck’s portfolio of Nyong’o portraits: “We can barely deal with how stunning they are.”). But at Fashionista, Eliza Brooke argued there was an upside to a careful public presentation: “It only adds another measure of mystery to the actress’s much buzzed-about image,” she argued. “And in an age of fashion stars crafted by stylists, it’s nice to at least believe that Kenyan Nyong’o arrived in Hollywood already inclined to wear a bright red Ralph Lauren cape.

2. Elsewhere in the issue, Benjamin Wallace pulled back the veil on Leandra Medine, the woman behind cheeky blog Man Repeller, which has found a niche by playfully puncturing the fashion world’s presumptions (Push Pull,” ­February 17–24). “The power of the site lies in its fresh, take-no-prisoners voice. Their take is bringing a new truth to a business that’s rarely authentic,” wrote a fan on nymag.com. “They throw water balloons at the fashion industry while pointing out what it’s doing right. She’s needed.” Added another: “She’s expressed a lot of the thoughts in our minds we never give voice to.” A third went further, noting, “Medine is the Dorothy Parker of fashion.” “It’s a really contemporary feminist manifesto of what women should think of themselves & should think of other women,” tweeted @anglagosj. Naturally, Man Repeller also repelled some respondents. “Rich white woman wears outrageous, expensive outfits to get attention. She’s such a maverick,” snarked one commenter. And a reader with more delicate sensibilities noted, “She is an entertaining writer, if too vulgar sometimes for my taste (I’m prissy).”

3. “There are a lot of power pretenders in tech right now,” Kevin Roose wrote in a dispatch profiling several of them who are hoping “to translate Silicon Valley’s ethos of innovation and disruption into a political force, a coalition that can bring new ideas to staid industries and energize depressed regional economies” (The Valley ­Politic,” February 17–24). “Overall tech culture is a mix of idealism and cynicism, anti-tax crusading and government grant-seeking. An issue in my eyes is that engineers and successful businesspeople fall into the same trap that politicians like Mitt Romney do—thinking that success on one area can be applied to another as is,” wrote Bay Area native Andrew Mackay at Unspoken Politics. “Broadly speaking, Bay Area politics are stable and boring … My representative … has been in Congress since I was 2 years old … If Democratic politics is to brush aside techno-libertarianism and dismissive smugness, it has to be done well, and integrate with what already exists.” But at least one commenter at nymag.com (with some seemingly representative tech-world views) thought the politicization of the industry could prove productive: “Ideally, the Valley could mold both political parties and put them (and the country) on a better trajectory. The GOP understands the need for free markets and a smaller government, but socially seems to be as dynamic as a New Jersey country club, circa 1950. The Dems get it socially, but economically they are stuck in 1932, with the Warren Wing ready to take us back to 1917. ­Getting the best of both parties would be tough, but maybe the Valley, with its influence and money, could do it.

Send correspondence to: nymletters@nymag.com


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