Comments: Week of October 25, 2021


“The Murders Down the Hall,” October 11–24

Photo: New York Magazine

For New York’s latest cover story, Greg Donahue reported on an alleged serial killer at Brooklyn’s Woodson Houses. Julia Dahl, a journalism professor at New York University, wrote, “Need an example of how our ‘justice’ system deems some deaths unworthy of their time? Look no further.” The Los Angeles Times’ Laura J. Nelson tweeted, “As their neighbors were murdered, elderly residents of a New York City housing complex begged city officials to install security cameras and the cops to investigate the most obvious suspect. So many institutional failures in this infuriating story.” The Write Pitch founder Britni Danielle added, “This absolutely wouldn’t have happened to elderly white victims. And yet, when these elderly Black & Brown people were being killed, police were dismissive.” @ndhapple agreed: “It’s hard to know where the ineptitude ends and the negligence begins. What a horrific failure of the city to protect some of its neediest residents.”

Photo: New York Magazine


Kumail Nanjiani’s Feelings,” October 11–24

E. Alex Jung explored the Marvel star’s struggles with his new, superhero-shaped body. Xtra’s Rachel Giese called the piece “a real standout,” writing, “It’s incredibly rare for any men, much less celebrities, to talk about body image, looks, size, how it feels to be sexualized or desexualized, etc., in ways that are vulnerable and complex.” Mother Jones’s Tom Philpott wrote, “Is it me, or is the MCU-ization of the film industry an utterly toxic phenomenon—from the way it diverts enormous amounts of talent,resources, and toil into vapid, forgettable product; to engendering corrosive body-image ideals like this.” The New Statesman editor Emily Tamkin added, “This is a great profile that also made me think, as I often do, that we shouldn’t think of body image/insecurities as something that only affects girls and women.”


“Jonathan Franzen Thinks People Can Change,” October 11–24

“I suspect this is not going to be the last time that your question is a richer thing than my answer,” Jonathan Franzen told Merve Emre in their conversation in advance of his latest novel, Crossroads. Novelist G. D. Dess called the interview “wide-ranging” and “erudite,” adding, “If you’ve been critical of him (I have) you might rethink your position.” Film editor David Barker said the conversation was “brilliant in the way it melds the specifics of Franzen’s work with the enterprise of literature and its changing cultural position. Are there people still talking about film the way [Emre] talks about books, or is it from another era?” Adam Bruns, managing editor of Site Selection magazine, said he “swore off Franzen, whose work I loved, after what I felt like was a manipulative joke he was playing on us, his readers, with Freedom. Emre is so predictably good I have a feeling I’m going to be lured back in.”


“860 Minutes With … Stephanie Grisham,” October 11–24

Washington correspondent Olivia Nuzzi recounted a visit to Kansas with Stephanie Grisham, who has written a book full of regret about her time as
Donald Trump’s press secretary. Jon Ralston, CEO of the Nevada Independent, called the piece “incisive and brilliant. The banality of evil.” The Center for Public Integrity’s Rui Kaneya wrote, “Must be a golden age for those studying folks like Grisham … who go on to do things they regret later. Careerism, etc., may explain it all, but most of us have certain lines we don’t cross.” Former George W. Bush White House aide Andy Smarick added, “When ambition and moral rudderlessness meet power. The story of one of so so so many who enabled terrible behavior because they lacked something inside to tell them to stop.” @rita_washko wrote, “So now that she can no longer benefit from the ‘evil,’ she has suddenly seen the light, is blowing the whistle? A bit late—and self-serving—don’t you think? I hate rehabilitation tours. They just pave the way for the next bad actor, who takes us through the same cycle.”

Photo: New York Magazine


“Keith McNally, to Go,” October 11–24

Matthew Schneier profiled the restaurateur behind Manhattan landmarks Balthazar and Pastis. The Action Network’s CEO, Patrick Keane, called it “the most New York City thing I’ve read in 2 years,” and The New Yorker’s Rachel Syme said it was “such a good old-fashioned gossipy New York piece, like a plate of steak frites you can read.” On Instagram, McNally wrote of the piece, “It’s poorly written and quite skewed, but I’m not entirely unhappy with it. Maybe I should be.”

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Comments: Week of October 25, 2021