Comments: Week of December 6, 2021


“Biden in Free Fall,” November 22–December 5

Photo: New York Magazine

“Eleven months into his term, and a year from a midterm election that appears likely to end his legislative majority, the cold reality for Biden is that his presidency is on the brink of failure,” Jonathan Chait wrote in New York’s latest cover story. The Atlantic’s Tom Nichols tweeted of Chait’s diagnosis, “Okay, Democrats. You didn’t like hearing it from Bill Maher, or from Never Trumpers. Maybe you’ll read this and finally hit the panic button before next year.” Matthew Yglesias, author of the popular Substack Slow Boring, called the essay “brilliant” and noted, “The one thing I’d add is what’s missing — the once-strong voice of labor unions.” Some on the progressive left were critical of Chait’s argument. Waleed Shahid of Justice Democrats accused Chait of ignoring “how the Progressive Caucus and Squad maintained leverage to even have a chance at passing half of Biden’s Build Back Better … Biden’s big squeeze is between the ghosts of the 2004 Kerry domestic agenda and GOP minority rule empowering Sinemanchin. The left has been helpful at selling and maintaining hope for the passage of 16 years of unfulfilled Democratic Party policy.” And Sherrilyn Ifill tweeted, “I just saw the new cover of NY Mag … and I’m trying to reconcile it with a President who in one month just managed to pass a sprawling infrastructure bill & got Build Back Better through the House — two of the most ambitious pieces of legislation in a generation.” Her critique was re-tweeted by White House chief of staff Ronald Klain. Melissa Quinn Amour added, “There are good points here about how Democratic fragmentation has hurt Biden. But I’m tired of 2024 defeatism. A lot can happen in three years.”


“A Normie’s Guide to Becoming a Crypto Person,” November 22–December 5

Photo: New York Magazine

The latest issue also featured a comprehensive guide on pivoting to crypto. Product-management expert Maxim Savelyev called it a “great guide to start,” and venture capitalist Chris Cantino, who was featured in the story, wrote, “The world needs more articles like this — ones that you can send to your parents and friends without overwhelming them.” @0xcarlisle said, “Finally reading this, and it feels so weird having an actual well-researched article about our community in mainstream media,” while marketing director Jonathan Stephens noted, “I can imagine there were similar articles in 2000 about the information super-highway (the internet for you under 20-year-olds). We know crypto has reached mass acceptance when normal people no longer need a guide.” On Instagram, the Go-Go’s guitarist Jane Wiedlin joked, “Whoever invented the Jitterbug phone for senior citizens needs to get me a crypto equivalent, stat,” and @heyjoirae tweeted, “As I learn more about the web3 world I feel like an anthropologist researching a whole new civilization with its own language. This guide is super helpful.”


“Kathy Hochul’s Got Seven Months,” November 22–December 5

Photo: New York Magazine

Laura Nahmias profiled New York’s first female governor and asked whether the looming primary will force her to finally flesh out her beliefs. City & State reporter Jeff Coltin noted that Nahmias wrote “the definitive piece on Hochul’s rise three months after writing the definitive piece on Cuomo’s fall. Take the time to read it,” while Bloomberg News’ Shelly Banjo said, “Read this if you want the best behind-the-scenes capture of who the heck New York’s governor is and what’s at stake for the state’s first female leader.” Democratic communications strategist Stu Loeser added, “I’ve read 100s of political profiles & cannot think of a single one that’s told me more interesting things I didn’t know about someone.”


“ ‘You Don’t Cancel Me. I Cancel You.,’ ” November 22–December 5

Reeves Wiedeman chronicled the rise of Barstool Sports’ Dave Portnoy and his vehement refusal to fall. Spotify’s Kim Taylor Bennett wrote, “Well this was a deeply depressing (well reported) read. Portnoy really is repulsive,” and journalist Robert Smith added, “This is a really excellent and balanced read on Dave Portnoy.” @JaredWachtler countered, “I’ve never seen a more clear example of a writer going into a story with a predetermined narrative and then cherry-picking quotes and stories out of context to fit that narrative. Tough to see.” Of the revelation that Succession’s Nicholas Braun is a fan of Portnoy’s, David Fucillo of DraftKings Nation tweeted, “Trying to decide if it’s shocking or totally expected that Cousin Greg is a dumbass in real life.”

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Comments: Week of December 6, 2021