Comments: Week of December 23, 2019

1 For our 15th annual “Reasons to Love New York” issue (December 9–22), photographer Daniel Featherstone and six New York–based novelists documented some of the inspiringly singular people we encounter every day on the city’s streets. Ann-Marie Alcántara wrote, “This is my favorite thing all year, reminding me about everything that’s good about this place and why I’m so lucky and happy to call it home.” @RosalieCJonker added, “I was at breakfast with friends this weekend and we were all sort of moaning about how physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, financially exhausting it is to live here but then … it’s worth it, it’s all worth it.” @tantrumette tweeted, “These photographs and stories are so encouraging, how significant our individual lives and personalities are, how much remains to look forward to. Thanks for these.” Heidi N. Moore wrote, “When I think of New York, I see it like this. These characters. These expressions. It’s perfect.” Commenter cathypem wrote, “I was just in Manhattan a few weeks ago and one of the things I loved to see are the older women who are dressed to perfection, like no one else … They are truly a part of what NYC is all about.”

2 In a deeply reported profile, Andrew Rice brought to light the decades-long agenda of Attorney General William Barr to strengthen the power of the presidency (“Donald Trump’s Other Lawyer,” December 9–22). The New York Times’ Katie Benner said the story “perfectly captures the AG.” @ErikRobson tweeted, “This fills in the missing pieces on Barr. Seriously, read it.” And Noah Bookbinder of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington wrote, “Barr appears to view his job as defender of the president, rather than defender of the rule of law. It is not the attorney general’s job to protect the president at all costs.” Some challenged Rice’s premise: The New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner wrote that the story “exhibits many of the problems of media coverage of the Trump administration. The entire argument is that Barr cares deeply about executive power, not that he is a partisan who cares about protecting GOP presidents.” A few readers were amused by the photograph of Barr smiling at his desk at Main Justice. @PhxFlying joked, “Ok Bill, for this photo we want you to look as corrupt as possible and happy about it.” And @Edwardthejust wrote, “That’s a pic of John Goodman!”

3 In “Boris’s Blundering Brilliance” (December 9–22), Andrew Sullivan argued that the British prime minister has an uncanny political acumen that might even save the West from populist chaos. Former British ambassador to the U.S. Christopher Meyer tweeted, “It is the definitive, and brilliant, riposte to the charge that Boris is Trump in miniature.” @SamuelLoncar agreed: “A superb example of how careful, focused study of one context — the U.K. — can illuminate the international political situation.” Others rejected Sullivan’s reading. @AndyBGoodwin wrote, “This article is unconvincing. It describes Johnson doing terrible, unconscionable things and getting away with them through ‘charm.’ But that’s not a recommendation, and it renders any description of him as a ‘liberal Tory’ meaningless.” After Johnson delivered a landslide Conservative majority in the British election, many pointed to Sullivan’s story as a lens for understanding the outcome. Christian Angermayer wrote, “People used to see [Johnson] as a ‘buffoon.’ But he has achieved for the U.K. something that we wish for many other countries: eliminated the far left and the far right, including its toxic anti-Semitism.” @80proofmedia cautioned that Sullivan’s view gives “way too much credit to BlunderBo and far too little coal raking over for England’s man-shaped porridge @jeremycorbyn.”

4 Ariana Grande caught wind of Rachel Handler’s guide to Grande’s little-known 2015 EP Christmas & Chill and posted an appreciation of it to her Instagram Story (“Remembering Ariana Grande’s Merry, Horny Christmas Record,” November 25–December 8). Ari, you’re definitely not the first person to confuse us with The New Yorker.


Comments: Week of December 23, 2019