1 For New York’s latest cover (“This Is America,” December 23, 2019–January 5, 2020), the photographer Mark Peterson documented a year of white supremacy across the United States, and in an introductory essay, the poet Claudia Rankine exhorted readers, “To look away is a form of collaboration.” MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid called the project “an absolutely chilling look at our present era, in which Klanism and Nazism [are] resurgent; and a reminder that not nearly enough ever changes.” @LindaKleineberg described the photographs as “disturbing, heartbreaking, and essential.” Others criticized the decision to put a Klansman on the cover of the magazine. @chiragwakaskar tweeted, “Running a cover with white supremacists is also part of the problem which perhaps encourages and validates them.” Journalist Danny Gold added, “I go back and forth with how I feel about these articles. Nothing new, no understanding here to be gained, but I guess it’s good to keep tabs?” On Morning Joe, the Reverend Al Sharpton applauded the decision: “I think this is important because … it’s like roaches. They grow in the dark. You need to put the light on in order to expose it. I think coming on the cover of New York Magazine, not coming from think-tank groups on the left or civil-rights groups like me … makes Americans look at it. This is a growing problem.”
2 Kathryn VanArendonk explored the complicated world of children’s movies and television with a focus on Common Sense Media, a company aiming to objectively guide parents through this landscape (“What Should Your Kids Be Watching?,” December 23, 2019–January 5, 2020). @SandyMacDonald called the article a “smart critique of a potentially useful site.” Joe Kessler wrote, “An interesting read about Common Sense Media, and how its ratings differ from traditional critical reviews, for better and worse.” Many parents were quick to praise the story’s usefulness: @allison_hastie tweeted, “Thank you so much for this! I’ve been trying to decide what Christmas movies are ‘right’ for my 5yo … Seriously, thanks a ton.” And @rmbodenheimer said, “This is great! I don’t think nonparents (and let’s be completely honest, non-moms) realize how important of a resource CS is to us.” Many readers were delighted by the feature’s accompanying interview with the comedian John Mulaney about his new kids’ special, conducted by 10-year-old Alexander Bonanos. Writer Danielle Tcholakian chimed in, “God, I could screenshot literally all of this interview, I love it so much.” And @jordanpelavin wrote, “This interview of John Mulaney conducted by a 10-year-old is the most charming thing I have experienced in a very long time.”
3 In “How Low Will Democrats Go?” (December 23, 2019–January 5, 2020), Simon van Zuylen-Wood wrote about the left’s reluctance, or perhaps inability, to play as dirty as the right on social media. @OuiConnie tweeted, “There has been years/decades of not defending, let alone punching back. Lib ads used to be clever, but now the Cons ads are more interesting and deliver the message.” Ryan Davis of Main Street One added, “In 2016, Democrats ran the worst digital campaign ever … Epic @NYMag piece on how Democrats lost their way on the internet and how start-ups like us … are working to get Dems back on track.” Mojado commented, “Dems are fundamentally uncomfortable with dishonesty. It hasn’t served them well against a movement that is quite fundamentally dishonest.” @BradGrantley cautioned, “This isn’t a go low or go high thing anymore — this is get smart or get out.”
4 Over the holidays, Offel Dotter, a wig sculptor and drag artist in Chicago, tweeted New York’s June 10–23 cover of “The Most Powerful Drag Queens in America” with the following note: “My dad, who isn’t usually very supportive of my interest in drag … framed a copy of the issue of NYMag with the hair I styled for Yvie Oddly on the front and gave it to me for Christmas and I might cry.”
*This article appears in the January 6, 2020, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!