Comments: Week of March 14, 2022


“The Object of Their Ire,” February 28–March 13

Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux Pictures

For New York’s latest cover story, Rebecca Traister profiled New York State attorney general Letitia “Tish” James. Safe Horizon policy director Jimmy Meagher called it an “excellent profile,” writing, “I always appreciate Traister’s analysis of power — who has it and what do they do with it.” Reader Jessica Lee added, “One of the things I love best about @rtraister profiles is there is always a gender, feminist lens but it’s so artfully done, undoubtedly reaching more audiences than if it screamed ‘here’s a feminist profile of a lady leader.’ This one is so great.” In response to James’s comments that she would be “more than happy to expose [Andrew Cuomo’s] record,” the former governor’s spokesman, Rich Azzopardi, told Newsweek, “While no one here can help it if some people in this town continue to be fixated on him, this is blatantly false.” On Twitter, James responded to the story, “My time in public office has proven one thing: I will not bow. I will not break. And I will not be bullied.”


“Brandon Stanton’s Empire of Empathy,” February 28–March 13

Photo: Beth Sacca

Lisa Miller mapped the evolution of Humans of New York and its creator. After the story was published, reader Teddy B. wrote to Miller: “I bristled at the part where he mentioned somewhat considering himself as a journalist. Nine years ago Brandon did a HoNY write-up about a kid I went to college with, who was then about 24 or 25 and living in NYC working in finance. The kid was, sadly, a drug addict and pathological liar. It was near Thanksgiving or Christmas and the kid told Brandon holidays were really hard for him because his mother had died of cancer and his dad had died fighting in the War on Terror. In reality, his (very wealthy) parents lived in Princeton where they were both completely healthy and alive. Stanton obviously didn’t do any fact-checking (as a real journalist would) and posted the story to HoNY where myself and other college friends were shocked and amused. One of my buddies messaged Stanton to tell him the truth and he ended up deleting the post. The subject, our college acquaintance, died a few months later of a drug overdose. Stanton then messaged my friend who’d let him know the truth, telling him that the now-deceased subject’s parents had asked for a copy of the portrait. The whole thing was incredibly bizarre, but begs the question of how often people lie to Stanton and he just posts regardless because it makes a good story.” In response, Stanton wrote, “HONY has shared over eight thousand stories these past 12 years, and this was one of two that has been removed because of demonstrable falsehoods.”


“The Other First,” February 28–March 13

Irin Carmon wrote about how Ketanji Brown Jackson’s record as a public defender would mark a historic shift for the Supreme Court. Novelist Joyce Carol Oates tweeted, “hooray! the Supreme Court is too much a bastion of privilege & detachment from the rough scrimmage of life. public defenders, like inner city public school teachers, battle in the trenches. their grasp of ‘justice’ may differ significantly from others.” @Oweninsavannah wrote, “The saying ‘what works on the battlefield and what works on the spreadsheet are a thousand miles apart’ is true in criminal defense law as well. Glad to see someone who was on the battlefield of defense instead of just writing about it in law journals.”


“148 Minutes With … Ben McKenzie,” February 28–March 13

Bridget Read traced how a teen heartthrob on The O.C. wound up becoming one of crypto’s most vocal skeptics. Bobby Fijan called the story “one of the most fascinating and surprising profiles I’ve read in a long time … I actually followed him before, and never made the connection to The O.C.” Sidney Kochman added, “You know that feeling when a celebrity whose work you’ve enjoyed speaks out about a contemporary societal issue and you actually agree with them and it’s great?” And Augusta University history professor Melissa DeVelvis tweeted, “I want to share this with my students (we discussed Black Tuesday and the Great Depression, how money isn’t real, and how we don’t understand crypto) but I’m afraid they’re too young to know Ben McKenzie.” Many readers couldn’t resist referencing McKenzie’s most famous role: Ryder Kessler wrote, “Truly obsessed with the transformation of Ryan Atwood — I mean, Benjamin McKenzie — from teen heartthrob to crypto skeptic. Seth Cohen could never.” And journalist Derek Robertson joked, “this is fascinating, but i can’t stop thinking about how wealthy socal architect ryan atwood would almost definitely have some crypto in his portfolio.”

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Comments: Week of March 14, 2022