Comments: Week of March 16, 2020

1 Days before Mike Bloomberg abandoned his $6 million-a-day presidential bid and endorsed Joe Biden, Vanessa Grigoriadis wrote an in-depth examination of his quixotic campaign (“Nevertheless, He Persists,” March 2–15). In an interview with Bloomberg spokesperson Sabrina Singh, CNN’s Brian Stelter asked, “Look at the New York Magazine cover that’s coming out tomorrow: It says, ‘He’s Buying.’ Do you think this message that he’s the one spending all this money, is it damaging, is it bad for your candidate?” Singh replied, “Mike is his only donor. He doesn’t take money from anyone. And so the money he is spending is the money he has earned and the money we are putting out on-air. We also got into this race late … We have a lot of time to catch up to all the other candidates who have been running for a year, a year and a half plus.” Others saw the big spending as a bad sign for democracy. Amy Siskind tweeted, “Seems like this money and desire could be better harnessed behind other candidates at all levels.” Commenter Newcavendish agreed: “I see lots of ego and no altruism in Bloomberg’s disillusionary billionaire fantasy campaign.”

2 Malcolm Harris went inside a private meeting held by Shell, unveiling how fossil-fuel companies are planning on profiting from climate change (Shell Is Looking Forward,” March 2–15). @marinaylou wrote, “This story left me on the edge of my seat—a blockbuster of scenario geeks.” @schererforever saw a parallel to Silicon Valley: “This is similar to the tech bros claiming they themselves will fix the problems their products and companies have unleashed on society.” Climate-change activists read the piece as a confirmation of their suspicions about the fossil-fuel industry. Melanie Mattauch of the climate-justice organization 350.org wrote, “Despite all the rhetoric in public, on the inside Shell’s chief economist leaves no room for interpretation when he says, ‘We’re going to get as much out of [oil and gas] for as long as we can.’ Shell and other fossil-fuel majors like BP and Exxon have no intention whatsoever to stop pushing the world into climate breakdown as long as there is money to be made.”

3 In “The Congresswoman From California,” Caitlin Moscatello charted Katie Hill’s dramatic rise and fall (March 2–15). When it was first published online, many right-wing outlets picked up the article, using it as an opportunity to scold the left for protecting one of its own — a substantial number of online readers came from the Drudge Report. But readers of the story also praised the nuance of Moscatello’s reporting. Medium’s Andrea González-Ramírez wrote, “Women’s media often falls to empty rah-rah empowerment (I’ve been there!) but this … profile on Katie Hill swiftly avoids that trap. Here Hill is shown as complicated subject, who is offered a healthy mix of skepticism and empathy.” Nick Baumann added, “I was really impressed with how this piece shows real compassion without letting anyone off the hook for their actions.”

4 Fran Drescher appeared on the cover of the Cut’s “Spring Fashion” issue (“The Joy of Fran,” March 2–15). Of Matthew Schneier’s profile, Elaine Lui of Lainey Gossip wrote, “What I stan the most is that even though The Nanny was an undeniable television hit, Fran Drescher’s greatest export isn’t the show, it was in refusing to be anyone other than Fran Drescher. And, as Matthew Schneier writes, there were a lot of people who told her not to be Fran Drescher.” @literElly said, “Growing up watching Fran I was like ‘oh wow, that’s COOL, there’s a loud obnoxious Jewish woman on my screen and people LIKE her and she’s a hit’ it was very good for my self esteem and hopes and dreams.” HuffPost’s Matt Jacobs added, “It’s increasingly rare to read a celebrity profile in which the celebrity doesn’t feel burdened by fame, which makes this … story all the more enchanting.”

5 Elsewhere in the fashion issue, Molly Fischer investigated the ubiquity of the “millennial aesthetic” and asked when it will come to an end (The Tyranny of Terrazzo,” March 2–15). Visual designer Taylor Jane Roy added, “I will be rereading this once a week until the millennial aesthetic antiquates (if ever).” @ian_eck elaborated: “I think the success of clean & simple digital UIs in the early 2000s led to a fetishization of that aesthetic (both online and IRL) in the 2010s. Every product/lifestyle brand mimicked Apple as a ploy for legitimacy.” Others saw their own surroundings implicated by the essay: The New York Times’ Amanda Hess joked, “Molly, get out of my house,” and NPR’s Serena McMahon tweeted, “So uh, when were you in my apartment?” The Atlantic’s Amanda Mull was already prepping for the end of the era: “I can’t wait until clutter comes back.”

*This article appears in the March 16, 2020, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!


Comments: Week of March 16, 2020