Comments: Week of November 21, 2022


“The Curse of Kentwood,” November 7–20

Photo: New York Magazine

For New York’s latest cover story, Kerry Howley visited Britney Spears’s hometown to discover why the pop star’s father forced her into a yearslong conservatorship. Julianne Escobedo Shepherd commented that Howley “is consistently brilliant at transforming feature reporting into narrative art, which makes this incredibly sad and infuriating story of patriarchal control that much more impactful.” ­Dominic Dean wrote, “A lot has already been said about the background to ­Britney’s conservatorship, and most media has moved on, but this deep dive into the ­family story is
a very powerful piece of reporting, and worth ­reading. Warning: It is dark, even darker than you think.” Vanity Fair’s Erin ­Vanderhoof said the story “really draws out the most discomfiting part of Britney’s conser­vatorship: common abusive tactics playing out on a hugely public and legalistic scale.” ­@Just_Eleanora tweeted, “I am generally not a fan of ­celebrity-centric journalism because it’s often so ‘other people’s suffering is entertainment.’ But as someone who has always been fascinated by how people become the people they are, this is a journalistic masterpiece written with compassion.” Janay Blazejewski wrote, “I’m not really even inter­ested in Britney Spears, but this was ­fascinating and beautifully ­written.” But @­FullMTLExorcist cautioned, “Jamie Spears is a sadistic monster but the conservatorship was much bigger than him. So many people, judges, doctors, lawyers and organizations had a hand in both placing Britney under a conservatorship and manip­ulating public opinion to keep her in the abusive conservatorship.” Some readers felt the story was too sympathetic to Jamie. @kelsspears wrote, “no clue why a jour­nalist would try to make us feel sorry for this man,” and @according2b4r said the story “not only tries to discredit Britney as an ­artist but—even more disturbing—makes excuses for Jamie Spears abusing his ­daughter for over a decade.” @peacoats countered, “This is a good article and I’m not seeing why people are upset. Because to me it reads like yes Jamie Spears had fucked up things happen to him, I can acknowl­edge that but it doesn’t excuse him and I still don’t feel bad for him.” The novelist Lydia Kiesling added, “I know, never read the comments but I always read them & the bewilderment by readers who were ­expecting Perez-level analysis makes me chortle.”

Photo: New York Magazine


“Achtung, Baby”

Shawn McCreesh profiled new-­media baron Mathias Döpfner and his ­global ambitions. “Treat yourself to @­ShawnMcCreesh’s rich profile of the 6’7” German clubgoer who controls ­Politico & is among the last of the media swashbucklers,” wrote the New York Times’ Michael M. Grynbaum. Bruce Bartlett called the story “further evidence that the mainstream media now tilts to the right. Yet the left still refuses to create an alternate media that will get its message out honestly.” Media journalist Simon Owens said, “This is the third long profile I’ve read of the Axel Springer CEO in the last few months. I’m getting the sense that he’s ­trying to brand himself as the next Rupert Murdoch.” And Dan Froomkin, editor of Press Watch, criticized it as “big slobbering kiss of a profile of Mathias Döpfner” that “does not address the key question, which is: What is this lying, right-wing billionaire telling Politico to do?” Karen Shnek Lippman, though, said the story “explains a lot of the critical challenges (life or death, frankly) facing journalism and the media industry. He didn’t ‘start the fire.’ ”


“How to Live in a Catastrophe”

In “How to Live in a Catastrophe,” Elizabeth Weil argued that to meet the challenge of climate change, we need to think differently. @jesskimball called the story “nothing short of New Journalism for the Anthropocene.” Journalist Annabella Farmer said it has “been a long time since i read something that made me feel this galvanized. this un-talked-down-to. we need to catastrophize—it’s not paranoia.” Lauren Smiley tweeted, “Her electrifying call to arms meets the climate crisis head-on—and urges us to as well.” Yet @­dronemodule wrote, “Oh look, it’s that article again. Before collapse or extinction get us, we’ll all suffocate under an avalanche of the endless iterations of this article.” ­Researcher Jay Owens wrote, “Not one of those pieces where you can sum up the argument in a single quoted sentence, but a nice contrasting of Andreas Malm (‘violence’) vs Timothy Morton (‘love’) ­approaches. I ­respect the article for not avoiding the conflict & including what Malm and Morton think of each other! (Not flattering.)” And producer Samantha Storey tweeted, “It’s ­almost 70 degrees in November in NYC, and I’m taking a lot of comfort in this story … about how to get comfortable with end times.”

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Comments: Week of November 21, 2022