Comments: Week of July 19, 2021


“Before, During, After January 6,” July 5–July 18

New York’s latest issue marked six months since the Capitol insurrection. In “His Longest, Dumbest Day” — an excerpt from the new book Landslide — Michael Wolff took readers inside Donald J. Trump’s White House while the events unfolded. Commenter joanie1 wrote, “Wolff gets DJT in a way many writers don’t. They want to think, ‘I have to take him seriously cause he’s POTUS and I’m a political writer. If I point and laugh then what does that make me here?’ [Wolff] just looks at him and sees what’s there.” Others wished Wolff had been more skeptical of his sources’ motivations, with smarticat commenting, “He’s used another bunch of Trump associates desperately trying to rewrite the history of this Presidency and their association with it.” Also in the retrospective, historian Rick Perlstein traced the violent origins of the Republican Party’s core (“The Long Authoritarian History of the Capitol Riot”). On Twitter, @_maximillian_alv wrote, “There’s a deeply unsettling and (as a former conservative) deeply familiar truth [Perlstein] puts his finger on in this piece.” Rounding out the package, Andrew Rice examined how the attorney general’s response to January 6 has disappointed many liberals (“The Prosecution Depends Entirely on Merrick Garland, of All People”). “He is a church mouse entering a dogfight,” chucke323 wrote. “Absolutely the wrong man for the job, and the pity is that Biden isn’t too far removed from his AG in disposition and philosophy.”


“The Sound of My Inbox,” July 5–July 18

In “The Sound of My Inbox,” Molly Fischer wrote about the “parasocial pleasure” of email newsletters. The Daily Beast’s Max Tani credited Fischer with understanding “what has delighted me about the newsletter bubble (creative, refreshing writing that feels like access to an exclusive club), and what has been exhausting about it (media Twitter, but longer and I’m paying for it).” On the notion that newsletters have become too much like the rest of the internet, novelist Jami Attenberg, whose Substack was featured in the story, responded, “I started my newsletter in part so I could spend less time on Twitter but still maintain an online presence of some kind, and honestly it has worked.” Morning Brew writer Rachel Cantor agreed: “That escape still exists. It’s the writers who follow their curiosity who magically align with our idiosyncratic tastes, who capture our attention and — when we finish reading — leave us wanting more.” The Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Mims countered, “At various points in history there have been manias for keeping a diary and now we can just share everything all the time and I do wonder what that’s done for our ability to introspect and be alone with our thoughts.”


“The Other Woman,” (July 5–July 18)

“There is an always-the-bridesmaid quality to Jennifer Coolidge’s career, of sliding doors and missed opportunities,” E. Alex Jung wrote in his reconsideration of the actress. Margarita Noriega noted, “Jennifer really bared her soul in this interview. That takes guts and, unsurprisingly, a great sense of humor.” Theater critic Rob Weinert-Kendt wrote, “Of all the talents I was lucky to catch live at the Groundlings back in the day (Ferrell, Kattan, Parnell, Oteri, Forte), Jennifer Coolidge was the strangest and most special. But that didn’t prepare me for this odd, captivating feature.” As for Coolidge’s remembrance of the agent who told her early on that she would never cast her in anything because of her looks, teeny.lavin wrote, “I wonder where that LA casting agent is today — I hope they read this article and kick themselves around the block for not being smart enough to realize they were in the presence of a comic genius.”


“Who Won?” June 21–July 4

David Freedlander delved into how the New York City Board of Elections impeded the city’s first ranked-choice election. Maria Ordoñez, the co-chair of Grassroots Action NY, which advocated for the implementation of ranked-choice voting, responded, “‘Old-school incompetence’ is the perfect way to phrase what happened. And while the BOE’s mess hasn’t had a positive effect on voters’ perception of RCV, we’ve still seen a historic level of diversity, in everything from policy to age, in every election this cycle.” Reader dsimon agreed that the inefficiency had more to do with the BOE than RCV itself: “I think releasing ‘intermediate’ results running the ranked-choice voting process is a mistake … There’s no service in supplying incomplete results except to get up the hopes of some candidates’ supporters who will then end up needlessly disappointed and perhaps unfairly critical of the RCV system.”

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Comments: Week of July 19, 2021