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Comments: Week of May 5, 2014

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1. “Just because anyone can post a ­video doesn’t mean that anyone can build an audience,” wrote Joe Coscarelli in the introduction to last week’s cover story highlighting a new breed of celebrity—startlingly young and social-media savvy—and 20 of its biggest stars, born of YouTube and Vine and aggressive self-promotion (Post-Hollywood,” April 21–May 4). Fans of the various personalities took to one of their favorite platforms, Twitter, to declare their emoji-filled joy. “Tyler’s half smile gives me life and I love it more than anything … ever” … “Lil TerRio is in @NYMag. If only Al Gore knew how much the Internet would change the game” … “CALLIN’ ALL ­BASIC BITCHES! Congrats ­@LOHANTHONY on the feature!” But far and away the most praised were the two cover gentlemen, Vine-video star Andrew Bachelor (better known as King Bach) and tween Instagram fashion plate Mike the Ruler. “So excited for @KingBach. #swag,” tweeted @KaliHawk. “Congratulations king on that cover! That’s a big look! On to the next level!!” tweeted @nativeone. “A brief, but dope piece that confirms that it’s deeper than a trust-fund kid flexing Mom’s credit card,” wrote Frazier Tharpe at Complex’s website about Mike the Ruler. Elsewhere, the package revealed a generational divide, even among those under 25: “Makes us feel some toxic combination of alienation, self-righteousness, poorly defined nostalgia and a smattering of annoyance. Do we feel OLD??” wrote the NYU Local blog. “Does it just get worse from here? Is the only salvation the silent grave? Hail, attractive annoying teenagers. They can inherit our WordPress. They can have our Twitter.”

2. “It is a travesty that [UConn guard and NCAA tournament MVP] Shabazz Napier goes to bed hungry the night before he makes millions upon millions for a bunch of balding white men,” Will Leitch wrote in a column examining the uncertain future of college athletics now that student athletes have been permitted to unionize (Amateur Hour,” April 21–May 4). “As much as I love all college sports,” he wrote, “I’m ready to light the match.” Readers on nymag.com were almost uniformly in agreement that the current system should change. “I don’t know if college athletes should be getting salaries. But when you’re making bank like that for a school, you shouldn’t be going to bed hungry,” opined one reader. “I do agree the players are being exploited. On the other hand, the 85th scholarship player on a team is doing some exploiting himself,” another reader offered. “He’s reaping rewards out of scale with his inputs. I wonder what rearranging the system to be equitable to a relative handful of stars with pro potential does to actual amateur student-athletes in nonrevenue sports.” “Let the NBA and the NFL own, operate, and fund their own minor-league systems instead of allowing learning institutions to foot the bill for those services for them free of charge,” groused another. Still another placed the blame at the feet of college supporters: “Fans who are willing to watch ten minutes of commercials for every five minutes of play in the NCAA final are the suckers who enable this system.”

3. “With 23andMe, Anne Wojcicki wants to do with DNA what Google did for data—because, after all, DNA is data,” Lisa Miller wrote in a story about Wojcicki, the estranged wife of Sergey Brin, and her crusading effort to build the world’s largest genetic database, mine it for medical insights, and revolutionize health care—in defiance of the FDA, which has (temporarily, at least) ordered her to stop (The Google of Spit,” April 21–May 4). “So you pay 23andMe for the privilege of giving them your DNA to own it and make money off it while in return they offer you an interpretation of your DNA that offers no meaningful information,” wrote one commenter at nymag.com. “That’s quite the parlor trick.” Wrote another: “I found the data from 23andMe useful and well worthwhile. [But] it is also important to understand that a likelihood is not a certainty … The FDA in making its decision was concerned that this information given to a layperson may be misunderstood. I can remember when pharmacy prescriptions were numbers and all reference to content removed.

At the National Magazine Awards on May 1, New York was honored to receive the Ellies (that’s what the lethal-looking trophies are called) for General Excellence among general-interest magazines, Best Website, and Best Design.

Send correspondence to: nymletters@nymag.com


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