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Comments: Week of June 15, 2015

1. Our June 1–7 issue took on the hamburger from every possible direction (“This Is the Story of the Hamburger”). Ben Wallace described the evolution of the burger from lowly patty to exalted member of the “aristocracy of foods,” while the Underground Gourmet’s Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite created a taxonomy of the 11 types of New York burger and Adam Platt hunted for the perfect veggie burger. Surprisingly, some of the strongest reactions to the issue came from vegetarians—from those who lusted after the carnivorous versions despite themselves, like Bettina Makalintal, who tweeted, “NYMag’s burger coverage is so tantalizing and clever that I almost want to start eating meat again,” to those grateful for the issue’s in-depth look at the race to create synthetic meat and to Platt for giving the veggie burger its due: “Thank you for including this, Platt,” wrote commenter ktd. “Some day in the future, people will marvel at the fact that we had huge concrete ‘farms’ where we bred and kept billions and billions of animals in horrific conditions, even as we learned through scientific discovery that the parts of their brains that process pain are quite like our own.” “‘Veggie Burger’ is an oxymoron,” responded ValerieV. “If you want to make a good one, take 1/3 pound of fresh ground angus sirloin …” A few readers discerned a secret pro-vegetarian agenda in the cover as well, which depicted a cow’s head made entirely out of ground beef. “How do I unsee that NYMag burger cover,” tweeted Natalie Roterman C. “Your burger cover is enough to make me go Vegan,” added KarenB on Twitter. Even if the story wasn’t a covert vegetarian campaign (trust us, it wasn’t), many readers still found a message larger than pure burger gluttony: “This is a very ­subtle satire on how New Yorkers fetishize things, including burgers,” wrote commenter killerbee0925. “Right?”

2. “Jeb Bush is more ruthless than he looks, more conservative than moderates like to believe, and possibly more appealing to Latinos than Marco Rubio,” read the opening of Jennifer Senior’s profile of the former governor (“Not the Bush You Think He Is,” June 1–7). “Jeb is exactly the Bush I think he is,” retorted commenter RobertB7. “I always thought he was ruthless and never believed for a moment he was moderate.” Breitbart’s Dan Riehl thought Senior went too easy on Jeb. “You wouldn’t know that the fawning New York Magazine piece on Jeb Bush was written by someone who ‘agrees with exactly nothing the governor says,’ if they didn’t tell you,” he wrote. “Clearly, Jeb is the choice of liberal Democrats. Perhaps they inherently sense that Hillary Clinton would make short work of him in a general election. What Democrats see in Jeb is more likely a pliable Republican, the kind they know would be little different than a Democrat were he to win the White House. And that’s precisely what the current GOP base is tired of.” Commenter rayward thought the piece spoke to a larger truth about the 2016 primary: “This essay proves that what Jeb Bush did as governor of Florida and what Marco Rubio did as Speaker of the House in Florida or in the U.S. Senate are irrelevant to this campaign; indeed, short of becoming barking mad, what either says during the campaign, about issues or other candidates, matters little—appearances will determine the outcome,” rayward wrote. “In an era when perceptions are the product of images created or promoted by the media, elections don’t reflect the voters’ preferences with respect to issues but rather the more appealing image.”

3. “Sports are politics and vice versa,” wrote Will Leitch in his column on the major corruption in FIFA and America’s obsession with fair play (“Sports Imperialists,” June 1–7). “We are now the world’s sports cop. We are being welcomed as heroes, mostly.” The piece left many readers uncomfortable with the idea of America’s receiving accolades for what they viewed as its selective pursuit of justice. “Yes,” wrote commenter norman.kelley, “the U.S. government can spend millions of dollars on prosecuting a foreign sports organization, having officials arrested, but can’t seem to find the political will to investigate and prosecute American bank officials who engaged in fraudulent mortgages and numerous other financial shenanigans which led to the 2008 financial implosion.” Commenter Michael_Emmett agreed: “I can’t help but wonder why the feds didn’t act similarly with the banks for the last 15 years. Maybe FIFA should have labeled the bribes as ‘bonuses’ and they would’ve walked away with a fine and returned quickly to business as usual.” Commenter suntzu took issue with Leitch’s assertion that the NFL’s Roger Goodell, for all his mistakes, was never corrupt in the way FIFA officials are ­alleged to have been. “Mr. Goodell’s presumed virtue may be a result of his HUMONGOUS salary [more] than any moral virtue,” wrote suntzu. “If one makes $40 million a year, why taint yourself with mere bribes? So, inadvertently, Will Leitch has revealed the secret of keeping American sports execs bribery-free … just pay them a ridiculous salary.”