Comments: Week of January 16, 2023


“The Final Campaign,” January 2–15

Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times/ Redux

For New York’s latest cover story, ­Olivia Nuzzi reported on Donald J. Trump’s listless reelection effort. Politico called it a “rollicking look under the hood of the Trump 2024 campaign” with an “­incisive” interview of the candidate. Eamonn Forde wrote, “This Trump ­profile … unearths a peculiar bleakness, loneliness and emptiness behind the desperately deflective bluster.” Nuzzi detailed Trump’s obsession with the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard, ­leading the Washington Post’s Karen Heller to interview its sole surviving cast member, Nancy Olson Livingston, who said she was “surprised he likes it so much. He’s missing something in the movie, while he relates it to stardom. Every character in ‘Sunset Blvd.’ is tragic. Movie stars did not have happy lives.” ­Trump himself lashed out on his social­-media platform, Truth Social: “The Fake & Corrupt news is only getting worse! As an example, I agreed to do a short telephone interview for a once very good, but now on its ‘last legs’ and failing, New York Magazine. The ­reporter was a shaky & un­attractive wack job, known as ‘tough’ but dumb as a rock, who actually wrote a decent story about me a long time ago. Her name, Olivia Nuzzi. Anyway, the story was Fake News, her ‘anonymous sources’ don’t exist (true with many writers), and I’m happily fighting hard for our GREAT USA!” Trump’s response was covered widely, from the New York Post to the Daily Mail, which reported that he “is furious over a report that quotes ­multiple sources within his circle giving a cruel and miserable account of his post-presidency life.”

Photo: Rineke Dijkstra


“The Education of X González”

In “The Education of X González,” the Parkland shooting survivor turned ­activist wrote about the pressures they’ve faced as a public figure. Liz Perle called the essay “a beautifully written meditation on our ­often insidious and exploitative cultural ­relationship with teen activists.” Alexander Russo, founder of the Grade, tweeted, “So many people (including journalists) ­fetishized the Parkland kids in the aftermath of the shooting four years ago, but this piece from one of the activists is a vivid reminder that our projections on them were reckless, mistaken, and unfair.” @elenaiswriting added there was “so much in here about the way people become symbols as public discourse dehumanizes them, and what surviving looks like in a country where gun violence keeps happening to young people.”­ The Guardian’s Lois Beckett ­recalled hearing González speak in 2018. “I’ve seen few people as deeply, profoundly exhausted as they were then. It’s worth reading … what it was like for them to be held up, at 18, as the moral compass for a nation, a teenager who would fix what adults couldn’t.”


Glass Onion Isn’t Trying to Trick You”

Writer-director Rian Johnson decoded his Netflix movie for Alison Willmore. The New York Times’ Ross Douthat tweeted­, “You kind of have to take your cap off to Rian Johnson, who wrote a lackluster mystery story and seems to be successfully selling it as a daring work of experimental art. Credit where it’s due: Somebody is definitely getting people to ‘assume complexity’ about something that’s actually just pretty stupid,­ and that somebody is the director of Glass Onion.” Sean Bamforth replied to Douthat: “I’m just going to come out and say it. Glass Onion was a good movie that a load of ­people are shitting on


“Allison Williams Comes Alive”

In advance of the release of creepy-doll thriller M3gan, Rachel Handler visited the American Girl Café with the film’s star. “All inter­views should be at an American Girl cafe,” said Amanda Griggs, praising the article. Author ­Danielle Turchiano tweeted, “Genius idea. I know it fits the theme of her new movie, but honestly I hope interviews in this cafe become some kind of video franchise.” Nodding to our recent cover story on Holly­wood nepotism, Spanish journalist Eneko Ruiz Jiménez added, “Allison ­Williams is the example of how to respond to being a nepo-baby: not get defensive and recognize that the system is not the same for everyone.” @KatLaRonde­ said, “This is such a good strategy on her part because I used to be agnostic to negative on Allison Williams, and after reading this and [Wired’s] terrific interview, I am ready at a moment’s notice to rally my bannermen to her defense.” Writing for Gawker, Olivia Craighead was not impressed by the profile’s observation that Williams has “made a ­career of subverting her own image”: “The thing is, anyone who opts to spend seven minutes of their one precious life reading a profile of Williams already knows this. It’s kind of her whole thing.”

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Comments: Week of January 16, 2023