1. In New York’s latest issue, Simon van Zuylen-Wood asked, “When Did Everyone Become a Socialist?” (March 4–17). Susan Simon responded, “The answer to your cover question … resides on the cover of your [Hudson Yards] issue,” which featured stories that portrayed the new development as a gilded community for the one percent. Of the socialism feature, Armin Rosen wrote, “Man, this is good. Really illustrates the weirdness of environments where everyone more or less thinks the same.” Others took exception to the focus of the story, which opened at a party. Maya Kosoff tweeted, “A more honest and incisive and less decadent story would have been one about organizers in New York and not media people at a party.” Emily Cameron wrote, “The stereotypes of ‘the nearly all-Caucasian DSA left’ depicted in this piece give the wrong view of socialism. As a 25-year-old queer Latina and co-chair of DSA Fresno in California’s rural Central Valley, I can assure you that the DSA I know is not a circus of ‘white, 21-to-36-year-old Tecate drinkers’ on dating apps, listening to podcasts, obsessed with Bernie Sanders. I wish DSA chapters outside the media bubble got attention. DSA is growing precisely because the left as a whole is growing. The American left is complex, diverse, and beautiful. That’s why we’re winning.” In the story, van Zuylen-Wood explains that when social theorist Michael Harrington founded DSA in 1982, the “group occupied the ‘left wing of the possible,’ a sensible enough mantra that excited nobody and helped the organization stay minuscule for decades.” Harrington’s biographer and DSA charter member Maurice Isserman, challenged that assessment: “Harrington’s DSA was founded in the midst of the Reagan Revolution, not exactly a propitious moment for any left-wing group — reformist, revolutionary, or otherwise. Harrington deserves a little credit for creating what proved to be the institutional base for today’s much-expanded DSA. Moreover, what is behind DSA’s recent growth, if not a variant of operating as the ‘left wing of the possible’? Isn’t that what Bernie Sanders represents? And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? They are working within the Democratic Party to push it leftward.”
2. Peter Bogdanovich, that notorious director of Hollywood’s last golden age, held nothing back in his interview with Andrew Goldman (“In Conversation: Peter Bogdanovich,” March 4–17). Bill McCuddy tweeted, “This you gotta read. Cher can’t act. Burt Reynolds is a prick. The list goes on. Really terrific. And sad in a few spots.” Channing Thomson said, “This is fascinating. He made a handful of great movies in the 1970s, but he strikes me as being an odd personality who hindered his own success through word and deed.” And Philip Concannon wrote, “There’s an Odd Couple–style sitcom to be made about the time Orson Welles spent living in Peter Bogdanovich’s house.” Other readers were less charmed. @TheIndieHandbk tweeted, “Bogdanovich comes across as something of a scumbag in this interview, as do at least half the people he talks about. And all I can think is, Man, maybe the people of Hollywood deserve each other.” Susan Braudy took issue with the director’s characterization of his ex-wife and collaborator Polly Platt: “I arranged to meet Platt in the late 1980s partly because so many of my Hollywood friends told me she was instrumental in the making of Bogdanovich’s early and best films. If Platt had outlived him, she would be much kinder about their collaboration. The record speaks for itself: Bogdanovich did his best films working with her.”
*This article appears in the March 18, 2019, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!