1 For New York’s latest cover article, the Rookie founder and early influencer Tavi Gevinson asked, “Who Would I Be Without Instagram?” (September 16–29). Many related to Gevinson’s feelings about growing up in the social-media age. Otegha K. Uwagba tweeted that Gevinson’s “understanding of our online selves, influencer culture, the media landscape is unparalleled.” And Charlie Warzel wrote, “Not sure I’ve read a better description of what being raised on social networks does to your sense of self than this.” Lou Papineau critiqued the magazine’s decision to feature the story on the cover, writing, “Trumpeting a faux celeb whining about ‘what Instagram did to [her]’ instead of highlighting David Wallace-Wells’s extraordinary feature on Greta Thunberg … is frivolous and shortsighted.” New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose praised the story: “It’s very revealing that the winners of social media’s engagement sweepstakes are the ones speaking out against it now.”
2 In anticipation of the Climate Action Summit opening at the U.N., David Wallace-Wells profiled 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg (“It’s Greta’s World,” September 16–29). David Hogg, Parkland survivor and March for Our Lives co-founder, wrote to New York, “There is no question that climate change is the greatest threat to human life on this planet, just like gun violence is one of the greatest preventable threats to American society today. But young people won’t be able to do this alone. We can and will inspire a global movement, but we need adults to step up and stand with us. The question I ask is: Do parents love their kids enough to vote for politicians who protect the planet, not profits? Thank you, Greta, and all young people who have fought environmental injustice for decades but don’t get on the news — by doing what the adults in power have failed to do and working together for something much bigger than ourselves, we can save our planet.” Ben Kirshner, who studies youth activism, wrote, “The power of youth activists such as Thunberg is their prophetic criticism and bold actions; they are making moral arguments as much as policy ones as they call older generations and wealthier nations to account for our shortsightedness and inertia. Prophets are never popular with those in power. But efforts to dismiss them are telling — and we should be alert to the ways that critics use age as a distraction.” Vox’s David Roberts added, “Whatever you think about climate or politics or anything else, the story of Greta Thunberg is, in simple human terms, extraordinary.”
3 In “Big Tech Romance” (September 16–29), Gabriel Debenedetti documented the acrimonious breakup between Silicon Valley and the Democratic Party. Eric S. Maskin, the Nobel laureate economist, responded, “I sympathize with the impulse to break up big tech — just as I understood the impulse to break up big banks a decade ago. But, for big tech, introducing well-crafted regulation would be a more effective — and less drastic — policy response. It certainly was the right remedy for banking. Big tech companies cause harm mostly because they misuse the customer data they collect and facilitate the spread of misinformation, not because they are big per se. Why not attack those abuses directly by constraining companies’ actions?” Robert D. Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, warned, “Attacking Big Tech for the sake of its size alone puts liberal policy priorities at risk. From raising the minimum wage and reducing carbon emissions to using tech to improve health care, education, and transportation, Big Tech remains a force for the progressive cause.”
4 In an interview about her forthcoming Roy Cohn documentary, Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn, director Ivy Meeropol referred to Alan Dershowitz as a “right-winger” (“Secrets and Lies,” September 16–29). In response, Dershowitz wrote, “Ivy Meeropol’s characterization of me as a right-winger is a dangerous sign of the times. I’m a liberal Democrat who has voted for every Democratic candidate. I support a woman’s right to choose, gay marriage, environmental protection, reasonable gun control, and the rest of the liberal agenda. But I’m also a civil libertarian who defends the constitutional rights of all, including the president. I opposed the impeachment of Bill Clinton as I do of Donald Trump. I am against weaponizing our criminal-justice system against political enemies of either party. To call me right-wing is to distort our language and politics.” Meeropol responds, “I made the determination to characterize Dershowitz as a right-winger based on his consistent public defense of Donald Trump. To be more precise, I should have said that I appreciate having someone in the film who is not publicly aligned with the left explain the grave miscarriage of justice carried out by Roy Cohn in the trial and execution of my grandparents Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.”
Send correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or go to nymag.com to respond to individual stories.
*This article appears in the September 30, 2019, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!