Comments: Week of April 12, 2021


“The Therapy-App Fantasy,” March 29–April 11

For New York’s latest cover story, Molly Fischer explored how the overwhelming demand for counseling has spawned an array of therapy apps promising services they cannot possibly provide. Ingrid Mellor, a licensed creative-arts therapist, wrote to the magazine, “The commodification of therapy into monetized texts and the illusion of 24/7 access is anathema to the very foundation and integrity of the therapeutic profession, in which a trusting relationship is the bedrock from which a client develops their own abilities to cope and thrive outside of sessions. If tech entrepreneurs are truly interested in addressing today’s mental health crisis, perhaps they should look at their own role in creating unsustainable working conditions for their employees and unachievable expectations for their clients.” Run for Something co-founder Amanda Litman added, “Can’t help but think that while there are many policy & tech solutions to expanding access to mental health care, one I don’t hear discussed enough is that it should be much cheaper to go to school to become a therapist.” Others shared their frustrations with therapy apps. Anna Pulley wrote, “I tried BetterHelp and was sent to a therapist who was constantly late, tried to end our sessions 20 minutes early, and discussed other clients with me (judgmentally!).” @Garet tweeted, “I briefly tried an online therapy app. Wanted a gay man, got a bunch of straight women. Finally matched to a gay man, he had no availability. Settled for straight women, they had none either. These apps are just a racket.” Madeline Grimes countered, “Digital apps and services have cut across geographical, cost, socioeconomic, and other barriers to mental healthcare. Demand has far outpaced the ability of platforms to scale for the impact needed. Describing it as ‘lunacy,’ though, is extremely reductive and harmful.” And Daniela Stinger tweeted, “I dig what they’re saying about app therapy, but what are you supposed to do if you’re one of those who’ve fallen through the cracks of the monetized health care system we have? Just grin and bear it until you can afford therapy?”


“Secretary Swell on a Pissed-Off Planet,” March 29–April 11

Gabriel Debenedetti profiled Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his mission to regain the world’s trust post-Trump. Eoin Ó Catháin said it was an “amazingly detailed profile of the man with the impossible task in American government: to rehabilitate the USA’s reputation after the Trump years.” In a segment devoted to discussing the story, WNYC’s Brian Lehrer commented, “After Trump blew up relationships with allies and international institutions over individual disagreements with them, Joe Biden and Antony Blinken are about relationship, relationship, relationship.” Some on the right felt the piece was insufficiently skeptical Blinken. Richard Hanania groused, “Blinken is just a nice guy who likes rules and order. All allies and good people in the world love him, only ones who don’t are Trumpists, dictators and bad people. No questioning of his ideology or motives. Journalists as stenographers for the powerful.”


“King of the Geezer Teasers,” March 29–April 11

Elsewhere in the issue, Joshua Hunt wrote about how Randall Emmett has created a direct-to-video movie empire by pumping out films featuring past-their-prime action stars. Jason R. Latham wrote, “This is fascinating and connects so many dots for those of us that have seen our share of Bruce Willis cheapies.” Others highlighted Hunt’s reporting on the labor practices behind Emmett’s ventures. Film and TV director Jennifer Liao reminded readers, “This is a fascinating read, though a fact not to be lost: It’s mentioned this fellow’s company is on the WGA’s strike list as he has stiffed writers their pay, including folks I know who worked developing their TV show Pump.” Writer Drew Taylor tweeted about his own experiences in Emmett’s orbit: “When Moviefone was bought by MoviePass, we moved into Randy’s offices (in the former Death Row office) and it was pure hell. It was a lot of yelling, misogynistic screeds about an actress they were working with, ‘making the Bruce deal’ ($1 million a day) with other fading stars.”

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Comments: Week of April 12, 2021