Comments: Week of August 1, 2022


“What Will the Amazon Slayer Do Next?” July 18–31

Photo: New York Magazine

For New York’s latest cover story, Wes Enzinna chronicled the rise of Chris Smalls and his organizing efforts. Leah Borden called it an “excellent story showing the tension between the pressure on Smalls to be the public face of the union and the challenge of ALU not even having won a contract and depending on the talents of a few other individuals.” Sociology professor and labor writer Jake Rosenfeld said the profile “is troubling, and highlights the necessity of durable, stable organizations to lock in the initial successes Smalls helped inspire. There is no viable path forward through one person, and one person alone.” @blajje was less impressed, writing, “no hate on chris smalls or any of his efforts, its just disappointing to see how anyone who does something good for the people will get co-opted by the establishment and celebritized so the establishment can fundamentally alter and white-wash their original message and cause.” Author of Fight Like Hell, Kim Kelly, tweeted, “the tone seemed weirdly condescending and I didn’t appreciate it.” In a letter to the magazine, labor historian ­Nelson Lichtenstein contextualized Smalls’s efforts: “These days it is hard to be a working-class hero. For Chris Smalls, Amazon’s determination to resist unionization and negate the will of its employees has made celebrity culture’s lure all that more attractive. Decades ago, during the heyday of industrial unionism, an effective labor law backstopped worker militancy, thereby ­forcing big employers like General Motors and U.S. Steel to quickly sign contracts and recognize sturdy unions. Then another generation of charismatic ­unionists—Walter ­Reuther of the auto workers and Harry Bridges of the longshoremen are key ­examples—quickly found themselves in the leadership of powerful yet boisterously democratic organizations. When and if Amazon is organized, I have no doubt that Smalls too could rise to such leadership.” Mie Inouye, an assistant professor of political theory at Bard College, said, “It’s rare for an outside observer to get this deep into internal union politics, and rarer to do it in a ­nuanced and sympathetic way.”

Photo: New York Magazine


“The View From Bedminster,” July 18–31

Former president Donald Trump gave Olivia Nuzzi a preview of his 2024 electoral plans, saying, “I’ve already made that decision.” The news-making interview was covered in the New York Times, CNN, Politico, and Rolling Stone. Writing for MSNBC, Hayes Brown argued, “Tellingly, not once in Nuzzi’s article does Trump seem to process how his entry would affect the GOP’s chances of retaking Congress in November.” In an article in The Guardian, Ed Pilkington reported, “The Republican script for winning back the US House and Senate in November’s midterm elections writes itself. The last thing the party needs, many top Republicans believe, is Trump muddying the message by talking about himself and 2024.” On The Bulwark, Chris Truax argued, “If he does not file and continues to raise and spend money anyway, then he’s in willful and knowing violation of the campaign finance laws and subject to criminal prosecution … It’s hard to imagine a former president of the United States being so blatantly contemptuous of the rule of law or the Department of Justice letting him get away with it. Right?” In Psychology Today, Bruce Y. Lee wrote that Trump’s comments show his adroitness at building anticipation: “It left you with basically no more information than you had before you had read about it. Yet, numerous writers (including me, right here) ended up covering what Trump had said … He definitely knows how to get into and stay in the public’s eye.”


“A Handgun for Christmas,” July 18–31

“The legal dispute between the defense and the prosecution boils down to this: Should the Crumbleys be judged for what they knew, or for what they should have known?” Lisa Miller wrote in her story about two parents who are charged with enabling their son’s mass shooting. J. Oliver Conroy called it an “unsettling and thought-provoking tour de force of writearound reporting.” Commenter tfoley said Miller “truly moved a very difficult story forward.” @pelielios tweeted, “So remember when the Oxford school shooter’s parents couldn’t take him home because they had to work? The dad’s job was Doordash driver. That is not a job you can lose for taking a few hours off, my dude. Monsters. Utter monsters.” Commenter timb116 said, “This is just an excellent piece of journalism, covering both sides, showing IMHO these parents as empty nihilists, but, legally, there not being too much that current law suggests prosecutors can do.”

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Comments: Week of August 1, 2022