Comments: Week of November 12, 2018

1. Dozens of survivors of school shootings from the past 72 years allowed photographer Michael Avedon to document their scars for New York (“The Class of 1946–2018,” October 29–November 11). Zach Schonfeld tweeted, “We’re conditioned to shrug off injured survivors of mass shootings, because headlines usually focus on death counts.” Neil Redlien wrote, “Thank you, New York, for the best story I have read about the forgotten survivors of shootings. These people need way more attention in the press.” Amy J. Goldberg, surgery chair at Temple University’s medical school, responded, “It wasn’t that long ago that I was quoted in reference to the Sandy Hook shooting of schoolchildren, saying, ‘If people had been shown the autopsy photos of kids, the gun debate would be transformed.’ I have been a Trauma surgeon in North Philadelphia for over 25 years, so I have seen nearly everything that bullets can do to bodies. In the past 18 months, we have had mass shootings in schools, a UPS facility, a country-music concert, a church, a night club, a synagogue, and on the street corners of our major cities. The view that Americans get is sanitized; we see the faces of the dead during much happier times. The citizens of the United States must see the true devastation that these high-energy semi-automatic weapons can produce. If we did, the country would be receptive to compromise.”

2. Despite how fashionable it has become in some media circles to make fun of it, the Skimm is read by millions of young women every day, and Noreen Malone set out to learn the secrets of the newsletter’s success (“The Skimm Brains,” October 29–November 11). Jodi Kantor of the New York Times tweeted, “Loved this profile of the ladies behind @theskimm, who have faced condescension with perseverance and grace. Today they delivered a primer on the Yemen crisis, and what could finally end it, to seven million subscribers,” while Isabelle Chapman took issue with one element of the story: “How we describe female CEOs matters. And describing their physical appearance in the first paragraph and then comparing them to sorority sisters is Bad.” Alyssa Zeisler, a managing editor at Barron’s who’s studied the media gender gap, wrote, “The Skimm is an innovative product that addresses a mostly untapped market extremely well. But why does this market exist? We must do more as an industry to include women, not just as the target audience of specialized products and verticals, but at the heart of journalism. Our conception of news has been shaped and developed in predominantly white and male newsrooms. Let’s celebrate the Skimm’s success but also remember that we can, should, and must do more to diversify the media.”

3. New York spoke with 12 young people who’ve abstained from voting (“Vote,” October 29–November 11), and their reasons for not going to the polls led to a fair bit of scorn, not to mention parodies in the Washington Post and McSweeney’s. Matt Fuller wrote, “So this is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but with a bunch of millennials who don’t know how to mail things.” Of the reaction, Slate’s Rachelle Hampton wrote, “The series perfectly (one might even say cynically) combined … maddening non-voters and the apathy of The Youth toward treasured institutions. It’s not entirely surprising, then, that the piece immediately went hate-viral.” Others defended the value of these interviews. @AlexanderMcCoy4 tweeted, “This is a super-important and valuable type of reporting, which there isn’t enough of. Less asking Trump supporters if they still support Trump, more asking nonvoters why they didn’t vote.” And Daisy Bassen, a child-and-adolescent psychiatrist, responded, “I found the answers largely developmentally expected. At this age, people are developing their identities as voters and trying to juggle independence and connections. Many of them also raised valid points about the difficulties of registering to vote, itinerant work, living with chronic illness, and the impact same-day in-person-only voting has on young, financially unstable people. If it makes people feel better to pile on, go ahead, but I’d rather focus my energy on helping people get to the polls and showing them, by my example, how important it is.” As for what actually happened this year: Early estimates indicate that on November 6, 31 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds did vote, the highest midterm turnout since 1982.

*This article appears in the November 12, 2018, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

Comments: Week of November 12, 2018