You, Too, Can Gripe Publicly About Christopher HitchensOur friend Jeff Bercovici over at Portfolio just pointed out that Vanity Fair has finally caved and admitted that Christopher Hitchens is probably-definitely their most loathsome writer ever. (Even more than whoever writes those nightmarish Edwin Coaster correspondences. Seriously, those combined with the weird, unfunny joke pages VF suddenly decided to put in the back of the magazine really make us doubt our love for it.) So they want to hear what you think about his Hitchness.
No V.F. contributing editor arouses more reader ire than our tireless columnist Christopher Hitchens. To accommodate the overflow of outraged letters and e-mails sent to the magazine, VF Daily introduces a new feature: Hitch Bitch.
Though we love Christopher, we think we might contribute a note or two of our own. We might bring up the time he forced his freshly shorn balls upon us or that time he made us unwillingly relive the Christmas awkwardness of our childhood. Or maybe we’ll just complain about the fact that he has been showing up on the news as a political commentator this primary season. Dude, you can’t be an expert on Hillary’s campaign nuance and back waxing. Whom do you think you write for, Us Weekly?
Announcing the Hitch Bitch [VF via Mixed Media/Portfolio]
They Steal Christmas Trees, Don’t They?It’s that time of year again. Pine trees have sprung up along the sidewalks like forests on the concrete and asphalt, and although most of the trees are appraised and bought by happy homemakers, some meet a darker fate. Yes, in the criminal-justice system, there is one seasonal crime that is considered especially heinous: Christmas-Tree Thievery. It’s an issue that plagues sellers, who often work alone or with a partner, with a large, difficult-to-keep-track-of stock, year after year, and dealing with the misappropriation of trees has become as much part of the job as enduring the sleet, snow, and rain. But although they have come up with a few ways to foil potential tree-snatchers (tying together those trees out of the stand operator’s view, or, for the more well-to-do, setting up an elaborate network of surveillance cameras), thievery still abounds. Surprisingly, one operator on Avenue A reported, most trees disappear during the day, although there are occasions of alcohol-emboldened theft that happen after dark. Danny Velastegui, a tree seller who works at a stand on Essex Street, described a scene in which his colleague spied a man, “probably drunk,” helping himself to a pinecone, festively spray-painted and covered in glitter, before hailing a cab. He chased the man to the car, demanding payment, but the thief got away with his prize. For Velastegui and his comrades, for whom trees are their livelihood, tree-stealing is an abomination. “It’s like stealing a cross,” he said, mournfully. “What are you going to do, pray to it?” —Ellen Moynihan