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Comments: Week of January 3, 2022

1.

“My Penis, Myself,” December 20, 2021–January 2

Photo: New York Magazine

For New York’s latest cover story, Gabriel Mac wrote about how phalloplasty saved his life. Documentary-video editor Miles Hill thanked Mac for his “vulnerability and for putting this all on the page! Very helpful to me in my own process,” and Elizabeth C. McLaughlin called the essay “one of the most beautiful and moving things I’ve ever read. It gives me such hope, how the capacity to self-define can break through every barrier and transform us into something glorious.” Gimlet’s Reyhan Harmanci wrote, “Congrats … on the new dick, and to us, for such a visceral reminder that we are flesh and bone and still something else.” Some were wary of the essay’s ethical framework. Jesse Singal, a reporter whose work has questioned the medical care trans people receive, tweeted, “This journalist said he’d been cured of his trauma in 2011 via violent sex. A decade later, he again says he’s been cured, now via major, risky surgery. I think there are some really fraught journalistic challenges inherent to covering the first–person accounts of folks who have dealt with profound trauma and/or other mental-health problems.” National Review’s Madeleine Kearns added, “While the facts of the story suggest one conclusion — i.e., this is not an advisable treatment for gender dysphoria — the author repeatedly boasts of its empowering capabilities. Indeed, the overarching narrative is that the new penis is salvation, a deliverance from torment, a redemption that’s worthwhile no matter the cost (even death). As gripping as such testimony often is, the objective evidence tells a different story.” In the story’s comments section, drlindsay2 countered, “The reactions I’m reading against this story remind me of many of the ways LGBTQ people have been treated for centuries. Go back and read some commentaries about gay people from the 1950s. We were psychologically sick, not to be believed.” And writer Ephrom Josine said, “Honestly, the main reason why transphobes hate this article is because it clearly lays out what gender dysphoria is like in a way that anyone can understand.”

2.

“The Jail Money Trap,” December 20, 2021–January 2

Photo: New York Magazine

Esther Wang reported on how the Museum of Chinese in America is caught in a fight over the future of Chinatown. David Eng-Chernack tweeted that it was the “most detailed article yet on the … brouhaha and shedding light on the dangers of getting into bed with the wrong funder.” Aaron Yin, co-host of the Politically Asian! podcast, critiqued, “As someone who’s been attending these pickets weekly since May, I dislike how this piece largely centers the feelings of upper-class Asians and MOCA board members and puts the perspective of the unemployed restaurant workers at the very end.” Ian Shin, an assistant professor of history and Asian American studies at the University of Michigan, wrote, “This piece is hard but vital read … bc there are no heroes or villains here. The tension between Chinatown needs and MOCA’s funding is a microcosm of the broader discussion a/b what happens when the Asian Am movement ‘grows up.’ ”

3.

“Gina. Rosanne. Guy.,” December 20, 2021–January 2

Photo: New York Magazine

Kerry Howley traced what led three people to the Capitol on January 6 and what they lost. Author Mikki Halpin wrote, “Incredible piece of reporting, thinking, and writing … on the ‘ecstatic invulnerability’ of the Jan. 6 rioters— and the aftermath.” Wasabi Ventures co-founder Chris Yeh called the report a “chilling, maddening story of how ordinary people — a salon owner, a cool dad, and a loving sister and aunt — were radicalized by propaganda, and ended up losing their careers, freedom, and even life as a result of the January 6 insurrection.” NC State associate history professor Brent Sirota wrote that the story “is a morbidly compelling study in American social alienation.” Others praised the quality of Howley’s storytelling. @linndaisy46 said, “Beautifully written and poignant. It is so easy to dehumanize the rioters that attacked the capitol and see them as a single unit. Understanding them at the individual level may help us root out what lead them to their actions and, perhaps, help us to stop this cycle.”

4.

“Bill de Blasio Did What New Yorkers Wanted,” December 20, 2021–January 2

“Bill de Blasio Did What New Yorkers Wanted,” David Freedlander wrote — so why is he leaving office so unpopular? NBC News’ Ginger Gibson answered, “My theory this whole time: New Yorkers just need something to complain about. And so for 8 years, they all scratched that itch complaining about de Blasio — often with the dumbest complaints. It wasn’t that they disliked the job he was doing. It was that they loved to hate him.” Peter Moskos, a law professor at John Jay College, added, “It’s impossible to be a good leader if you’re a horrible manager. And being an arrogant ass doesn’t help.”

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Comments: Week of January 3, 2022