Comments: Week of February 1, 2021

1 New York’s last issue grappled with a tumultuous three-week period in Washington starting with the storming of the Capitol (“End-Times,” January 18–31). Many praised the issue’s type cover: On Twitter, Christopher T. Assaf called it “a breathtaking, adventurous cover that fits the content and the moment in time.” Wallace McKelvey responded, “This @NYMag cover is exceptional graphic design: simple and striking.” @Kozza remarked, “Might be the most consequential set of Wednesdays ever.” @mhyager joked, “Who needs the Ides of March when you can have the I’s of January.” In “The Broken President,” Jonathan Chait wrote of the grim reality facing Trump post-presidency. Political-science professor Marco Lowe added to Chait’s accounting: “Despite all the major issues the President faces upon leaving office, this piece does not mention the $73 million he may owe the IRS as well.” Brandon Sheffield was more sanguine about Trump’s ability to avoid punishment: “A guy who can get thousands of people to commit crimes by vague suggestion is in trouble? I’d love for it to be true but that is not the American way.” And in “The View From 25,” Olivia Nuzzi profiled Congress’s youngest member, Madison Cawthorn, and pondered the future he represents for the GOP. Pod Save America’s Tommy Vietor wrote, “This profile of [Cawthorn] — who apparently drinks peach-flavored Red Bull — reveals an ambitious young guy with seemingly no principles beyond ambition and a painfully inflated and naive sense of his own power.” Journalist Gary Legum wished Nuzzi would’ve challenged Cawthorn’s accusations that Democrats paid the rioters, writing, “It was by no means a puff piece, but I feel like ‘Do you still believe this mob was made up of Democrats paid to make Trump look bad’ would have been a good, tough question.” Vincent Oliver warned, “Don’t underestimate him. He understands politics and people better than most, and he’s only 25.”

2 In “After Alarmism,” David Wallace-Wells catalogued a year of startling climate advances (January 18–31). Ben Wessel, the executive director of NextGen America, called it “a fair survey of the playing field, and a road map to success and failure.” And Na’im Merchant wrote, “What I can appreciate about this piece is the focus on the Global South — which is largely absent in a lot of climate journalism.” Many touted the essay’s optimism: Businessman Tom Steyer, who ran for president on a platform of aggressively combating climate change, shared the story, writing, “There is a lot of work to do when it comes to climate action and environmental justice. But there is good news now that the American public and our new administration believe that it is #TimeToAct.” New York City Councilmember Brad Lander responded, “As we inaugurate a president who knows we must urgently combat the climate crisis, here’s a great piece … that shows we can.” And Matthew Yglesias wrote, “I think we … need to do a better job of informing people that there’s actually been a lot of good news about progress against climate change. This new [Wallace-Wells] piece sums up the recent progress (and its limits) really well.” Other readers found less cause for celebration in Wallace-Wells’s account: Michael Taylor wrote, “I’m not sure there’s much ‘good news’ here when even the best-case scenario posited — a two-degree [warmer world] — will deliver a situation ‘unmanageable for any social system in any country to deal with.’ ” @adjectivalnoun added, “The form of optimism it presents is bleak, but it is still optimism.”

3 In an excerpt from his new biography of director Mike Nichols, New York’s Mark Harris recounted how directing Nora Ephron’s divorce movie preceded Nichols’s own breakup — and breakdown (“Mike Nichols’s Heartburn,” January 18–31). Reader Lisa Rosman wrote, “Thank you for directing your gaze toward one of the most fascinating artists of the second half of the 20th century (and first part of the 21st!).” Adam Bonin commented, “Mike Nichols was a pivotal, brilliant talent, worthy of the kind of historical and cultural analysis Mark can bring to the table.” And screenwriter and director Harry Elfont wrote, “This excerpt is riveting and revealing and a lil’ dishy. I’m so looking forward to reading this book while I wait in line to get vaccinated!”

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*This article appears in the February 1, 2021, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!


Comments: Week of February 1, 2021