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Comments: Week of October 24, 2022

1.

“The Convalescence Campaign,” October 10–23

Photo: New York Magazine

For New York’s latest cover story, ­Rebecca Traister interviewed John ­Fetterman about the headwinds facing his candidacy. HuffPost’s Jonathan Cohn said, “It’s so hard to capture the humanity of a candidate for office, let alone link that humanity to what’s at stake in the campaign. @rtraister does both of those things in this terrific profile.” Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist Connie Schultz, the wife of U.S. senator Sherrod Brown, wrote, “Highly recommend this honest, deeply reported story … She documents Fetterman’s challenges & strengths & rightly notes: ‘the willingness with which the political press took up the frame offered by the Oz campaign has been startling.’ ” Yet Fox News derided the story as a “glossy profile piece,” and The Washington Free Beacon’s Andrew Kerr pushed back on Traister’s assertion that Fetterman had been transparent about his recovery: “Actual transparency would be Fetterman releasing his medical records *after* he suffered a serious stroke. It is entirely reasonable for reporters to ask a Senate candidate for his medical records after he suffered a serious brain injury.” A week after the story was published, the Fetterman campaign released the results of a new medical examination by the candidate’s primary-care physician, which stated that Fetterman showed no signs of cognitive defects.

Photo: New York Magazine

2.

“How to Make a (Semi-)Fascist Party,” October 10–23

Jonathan Chait visited the National Conservatism Conference to document the perturbing rise of illiberalism on the right. Dartmouth political-science professor Brendan Nyhan called the story a “Must-read … on the growing constellation of figures on the right who openly embrace Orban-style authoritarianism.” Writer Graham Vyse tweeted that the piece “is really worth reading in full. Deeply troubling stuff. I came away genuinely upset.” The author of The Storm Is Upon Us, Mike Rothschild, called it a “terrifying piece on the ascent of organized authoritarianism on the right. I’m struck by how much of the bile and rhetoric they spew relies on terms historically applied to Jews, such as ‘goblin’ and ‘rootless.’ Same as it ever was.” Conservative writer Rod Dreher, whom Chait called “Orbán’s most ardent intellectual defender Stateside” in the story, countered, “ ‘Fascist! Fascist! Semi-­fascist! Proto-fascist! Hemidemisemifascist! Magyar-lover! Aaaaaugh!’ Jon Chait did not enjoy himself at NatCon3 in Florida. Libs like him see the far right in every conservative even one tic to the right of David French.” And right-wing pundit David Reaboi, who approached Chait at the conference to call him “the most full-of-shit writer,” tweeted, “Despite his being a goblin, I often read @­jonathanchait’s insane and hysterical columns. Fun stuff here, even as he warps everything like a funhouse mirror. The chutzpah of being upset when people you call Nazis and fascists are angry at you—next level.” And California House candidate Max Steiner wrote, “The semi-fascist snowflakes on the modern right have destroyed the GOP from within. Their next target is America.”

3.

“I Become an Idea. I Become a Memory,” October 10–23

Rachel Handler spoke at length to her grandfather-in-law about his decision to end his life through voluntary assisted death. Writer Rainesford Stauffer said the interview “taught me things, had me tearing up, and clarified my priorities all at once,” while Ariana Bacle said “the clarity on life and death in this is beautiful and heartbursting and made me appreciate my dog trying to lick away my tears even more than i normally would.” Critic Rebecca Bodenheimer wrote, “This extraordinary piece has me in tears thinking about my mom, who also had Parkinson’s and who died in the way David spoke about how he feared dying—falling and getting pneumonia.” Aging Media’s Jack M Silverstein tweeted, “I’ve screenshotted and highlighted like every other graph of this interview and there are too many, so just know that every sentence, every word, is a miracle.”

4.

“False Impression,” October 10–23

“Why are women so often called to represent things rather than be things in film?” Angelica Jade Bastién asked in her review of Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe biopic, Blonde. Suyin Haynes called it “a great read on the mythology, impersonation and misogyny of ‘Blonde,’ ” and CNN Style’s Jacqui Palumbo said it was “on point as always. Blonde was a labor to get through—nearly three hours of what felt like torture porn. I am no expert on Marilyn but I deeply felt the lack of her humanity in the film.” And critic Kayleigh Donaldson added, “People seldom discuss Marilyn Monroe with the empathy, precision, and critical eye she deserves. @­angelicabastien is the exception.”

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Comments: Week of October 24, 2022