Comments: Week of November 11, 2019

1 For New York’s latest cover story, ­Olivia Nuzzi embedded with former vice-president Joe Biden’s presidential campaign to understand how his bid can seem simultaneously so formidable and weak (“The Zombie Campaign,” October 28–November 10). Journalist Walt Mossberg wrote, “This is a wonderful article … that pulls off a rare journalistic feat: telling you the bad news about a flawed candidacy while simultaneously evoking sympathy and respect for the candidate.” Taffy Brodesser-Akner of the New York Times commented, “­Olivia Nuzzi’s so-close-you-can-feel-his-hot-breath profile of Joe Biden is beautiful, intimate, empathetic, brutal, honest, and revelatory … And she never even got an interview with him.” As expected, many in Biden’s camp took exception to the story. His deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, tweeted, “If New York Magazine thinks we are doing it wrong, we are definitely doing it right.” Others who have worked with the veep praised Nuzzi’s analysis. David Axelrod, Obama’s chief campaign strategist, who expressed doubts about the Biden campaign’s viability to Nuzzi, tweeted that she “captures both the prodigious strengths of @­JoeBiden — his extraordinary humanity, empathy, and personal connection w/people — and the obvious weaknesses that worry his supporters and encourage his rivals for the nomination.” And on the podcast Pod Save America, Dan Pfeiffer, another former Obama senior adviser, said the “story was a phenomenal piece of campaign journalism that really got at the core of the campaign itself … and who Joe Biden is in a way that I thought was nuanced and deep and very fair.”

2 In What’s Left of Condé Nast?
(October 28–November 10), Reeves ­Wiedeman probed the future of the glossy-magazine empire. The host of the New York Times podcast The Daily, Michael Barbaro, called it “fantastic media reporting.” And journalist Christopher Hooks tweeted, “The universal millennial experience is that of inheriting depleted and past-their-prime institutions.” Several readers focused on Radhika Jones’s road bumps in succeeding Graydon Carter at Vanity Fair. Phillip Picardi, the ­editor-in-chief of Out magazine and former head of Teen Vogue, tweeted, “The criticisms lodged against VF or Radhika Jones are troubling, mostly because they’re often not getting clocked for what they are: elitism, racism, misogyny … Condé Nast has many issues, but those problems ­really lie within this mad dash to make money after decades of wasteful spending behavior, and a lot of good editors (who are now, for the first time, women of color) are going to be blamed publicly for a problem they didn’t ­create.” Tyler McCall, editor of Fashion­ista, replied, “She’s been doing some of the most interesting things I’ve seen at VF in years! It’s really unfortunate people aren’t seeing and appreciating that.” Others in media circles relished the infighting over the company’s snacks. Reporter Rosie Spinks tweeted, “Honestly I would read thousands more words about Condé office snack drama.” Added ­@mvonsteen, “There was a time where, while making $8/hr. with little overtime, us fashion assistants would inhale cupcakes off the free table instead of eating meals.”

3 Jonathan Van Meter explored what life looks like for former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton (“Chelsea, Lately,” October 28–November 10). Tami Sawyer, a county commissioner in Tennessee, tweeted, “I love how you have continuously defined yourself for yourself, Chelsea, while still being a voice for so many.” Others chafed at the speculation that Clinton might have assumed a role in her mother’s Cabinet. Mother Jones’s Patrick Caldwell wrote, “This hypothetical is both far too plausible for what a Clinton presidency would have been like, and another reason why Hillary wasn’t a great candidate for 2016.” And Molly Mulshine asked, “Why can’t the beneficiaries of nepotism just be happy with the money? Why do we also have to care about their hopes and dreams?” @­alisonrachel highlighted the photograph of Clinton in New York with her children: “It’s kind of infuriating when these magazines and newspapers don’t acknowledge the nanny who is clearly in the photograph and helps make all things possible.” @melbuns added, “I’d like to see a Senator Chelsea Clinton. She’s a strong, smart woman like her mother.”

4 In an excerpt from his forthcoming The Book of Eating: Adventures in Professional Gluttony, New York’s food critic Adam Platt recalled his Waspy New England family’s relationship to food and dining throughout his childhood (“Learning to Eat Like a Food Critic,” October 28–November 10). Steven Erlanger, a correspondent from the New York Times, called the piece “a lovely, funny memoir of his family and their relationship with food (and drink).” Lauren Kane of the Paris Review wrote, “Really exceptional food writing this week.” Jon Gluck wrote, “Come for the photos of baby Platty, stay for the evocative and transporting storytelling.”

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*This article appears in the November 11, 2019, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

Comments: Week of November 11, 2019