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Comments: Week of January 25, 2016


1. Last issue’s cover story featured actors, artists, athletes, and other highly accomplished individuals discussing how they got their start (“Beginnings: The Breakthrough Moment,” January 11–24). “The next time you feel discouraged about your work or your art, click on one of these and read it,” tweeted Bloomberg’s Hannah Elliott. “I encourage young actors to read the cover story from NYMag all about Beginnings,” tweeted acting teacher David Krasner. “Clooney, Niecy, Connie Britton.” “Telling the story of the beginnings,” agreed Lindsey Engh. “SO IMPORTANT, and incredibly inspiring. We all begin somewhere.” Twitter user Alfonsolima dubbed the feature a “#Millennial Monday blues buster.” Readers were particularly interested in speechwriter Jon Favreau’s remembrances of the speech he wrote for Obama’s appearance at the Jefferson-­Jackson Dinner in Iowa in 2007, which changed the course of Obama’s candidacy. “The most charming and yet incredibly accurate depiction of life with a presidential candidate,” wrote commenter janne.nolan. “The craziness of time, ­never ever feeling up to the task, experiencing what you later learn were historical moments while feeling like you’re about to throw up on your own shoes, and then the very rare elixir second when you realize (with immense relief) that you somehow nailed it.” “I love this nymag’s beginnings feature so much,” tweeted the journalist Doreen St. Félix. “Michele Roberts’ was my favorite one.” “Faves include Dan Barber, Samantha Power, and Kelli O’Hara,” tweeted Emily Dubner Hurd. Aspiring writers were moved by author Ta-Nehisi Coates’s discussing his early days as a young reporter in Washington, D.C. “Love this photo of Coates holding up what I imagine was his first Washington City Paper cover story,” tweeted Dave Jamieson. “I know that feeling.” “I’m always a sucker for origin stories,” tweeted the Huffington Post’s Samantha Storey, after reading Carrie Brownstein’s description of the song that made her become a musician. In response to Niecy Nash’s recollection of seeing Lola Falana — “the most beautiful black woman I had ever seen in all my five years of living, on television” — and realizing she could be on TV one day, too, TheGlossier wrote: “This is everything! So glad she made her dreams come true!”


2. A story about gay spouses who went through pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood in tandem intrigued readers and became something of a viral sensation (“My Wife and I Are [Both] Pregnant,” January 11–24). “I demand monthly check-ins with these heroic and fascinating women,” tweeted author Emily Gould. Many felt the story represented and magnified the mass of conflicting emotions involved with childbirth. “So many dynamics at play,” tweeted Chatelaine’s Sarah Boesveld. At least one reader found humor in it: “The only couple that’s allowed to announce ‘we’re pregnant,’ ” joked Think Progress’s Kira Lerner. Some women in same-sex relationships were inspired to reflect on their own choices. “A friend of ours had us for dinner and told us that it would make ‘perfect sense’ for both of us to get pregnant at the same time,” read a Facebook post by the Pride & Joy Project. “We considered it for a second but knew ultimately that for us, it would be too much of a challenge ... we both have different physical needs and roles in our marriage.”

3. Jessica Pressler’s account of Sesame Street’s move from PBS to HBO left readers worried for the future of the beloved show (“What Will HBO’s Sesame Street Look Like?,” January 11–24). “I was able to watch two episodes of the new HBO Sesame Street on YouTube recently and I am really disappointed,” wrote commenter Cstarr83. “The shorter program length makes the show feel rushed and a little too fast paced for our liking. The new set looks nice but so far it looks like it’s lacking the heart 123 Sesame Street had … I hope HBO doesn’t ruin the greatest kids TV show of all time.” A self-described former Sesame Street employee felt the downhill journey of the show began long before HBO took over. “The war the article references actually started long ago, when Barney became the big dog,” wrote vet. “That was when the saccharine started getting added in heaping spoonfuls to counteract Cookie Monster’s having to like vegetables. It’s been an incremental erosion since then.” Many readers agreed with Pressler that part of the oddness of the move was that the show had originally been intended “to serve underprivileged city kids, not those in possession of premium cable.” “Sesame Street was ‘too gritty’ to look like present-day NYC so they literally gentrified it,” tweeted Maura Walz. The argument that parody skits, like a recent one about Mad Men, were central to the Sesame Street ethos didn’t sit right with the New York Times TV critic James Poniewozik: “I have a ton of old-Sesame nostalgia, but don’t buy Mad Men parodies as the ‘heart’ of a preschooler’s show.”


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