Comments: Week of March 1, 2021

1 The latest issue of New York featured Chloé Zhao, Hollywood’s most-sought-after director, in her first major magazine cover story (“Chloé Zhao’s America,” February 15–28). Aaron Stewart-Ahn called Alison Willmore’s profile of Zhao “the thing I’ve always wanted to read about her work.” Steve Kandell responded, “If you have seen Nomadland you should really read Alison’s profile, and if you haven’t then you should see it and also read Alison’s profile.” For fans of Zhao’s work, the profile was validating: @DaniellaVer tweeted, “The Rider was such an incredible and unique cinematic experience. I am so very happy that Chloé Zhao is receiving the attention she deserves.” Others heaped praise on Nomadland and their expectations for it during awards season: @jasonw402 called it “a really beautiful film that displayed the brevity of life, the complicated nature of homelessness, and governmental failure to help those in need through its brutally realistic writing/filmmaking. Would love to see Chloé Zhao get an Oscar win.” The Washington Post’s Mark Berman added, “It’s going to be very rad to watch her, Frances and the movie all win Oscars for Nomadland.”

2 Craig Jenkins charted how TikTok has become the music industry’s hitmaker (“TikTok Is the New Radio,” February 15–28). Carl Wilson wrote, “Nobody’s gone in on TikTok’s pernicious side in the detail [Jenkins] does here (at least not while acknowledging its legit charms).” Slate’s pop critic Jack Hamilton wrote that the column “is a real model for how to write about music and ‘virality’ in a way that is very smart and not reflexively celebratory.” Journalist Bobby Olivier commented, “Good one … on how TikTok can at once lift a song to instant, impossible heights while destroying whatever artistry was intended upon its creation.” Hussein Kanji pushed back, writing, “TikTok is democratizing music videos in the same way blogs and YouTube shifted the field of cultural criticism, stealing a measure of control from the suits who run the industry and upending the business in a way it perhaps deserves.”

3 Rebecca Traister wrote about Maya Wiley and her progressive pitch to become the first Black woman to lead New York City (“The Crisis Candidate,” February 15–28). Nick Rizzo called the story “both the best profile of Maya Wiley to date and the best recent article about the New York mayor’s race. It shows that Wiley can be more compelling than she’s been in public so far, though private Maya still has some issues.” The Daily Beast’s Harry Siegel suggested that Wiley’s argument that “ ‘Progressivism didn’t fail, de Blasio failed’ is a tough needle for Wiley to thread though, and even more so given the irritating fact that de Blasio ended up as a big beneficiary of identity politics in a way that helped muddy those waters.” Gothamist reporter Christopher Robbins commented, “One detail that stood out for me: Wiley says that she would have found exemplary NYPD officers to ‘lift up’ during the George Floyd protests last summer, to de-escalate tensions between police and protesters. This is initially what Mayor de Blasio did … praising NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan for taking a knee with BLM protesters in a viral video. A few days later, Chief Monahan would oversee a massive crackdown on peaceful protesters in Mott Haven, in which 250 people were trapped and arrested, legal observers were targeted. Some were beaten.” CityLab’s Kriston Capps still had questions about Wiley’s commitment to progressive positions: “I don’t feel any closer to understanding how Wiley arrived at her conservative views on housing or what New York voters should make of her platform.” Peter Goodman tweeted, “Her rambling answers to straightforward questions are troubling, as well as her absence of hands-on managerial experience.” Other readers used the story as an opportunity to signal support for Wiley in the race. NARAL president Ilyse Hogue wrote, “ ‘The failure to have the fight is anathema to Wiley.’ This is such a perfect summation of [Wiley] and why we need her fierce compassion in government right now.”

Correction: “The Crisis Candidate” (February 15–28) stated that Maya Wiley was the only female candidate to hit the city’s fund-raising match. Although Wiley’s campaign announced in January that she had met the fund-raising threshold to unlock $2.2 million in public funding, New York’s Campaign Finance Board announced on February 16 that she had not in fact qualified. As it stands, there are no women in the top funding tier of New York City’s mayoral race.

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

Comments: Week of March 1, 2021