Comments: Week of September 15, 2008

Levi JohnstonPhoto: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

1. Before Joe Lieberman’s party-crossing appearance at the Republican convention last week, Michael Idov wrote a story about him (Joe Vengeance,” September 1–8)—and the views that surfaced on were quite inflamed. The naysayers were mean and condescending (“That sad little man”; “He is a man out to prove how much power he has, rather than using that power for any good”), and they were matched in all that by the Lieberman supporters, who blasted other posters for not recognizing a legitimate freethinker: “I’m sorry. I must have been mistaken, but I thought this was the United States of America. Where we are an elected republic, and our representatives are supposed to lead by voting their conscience—not as a reflex brought forth by some party hack/machine’s orders.”; “The people of Connecticut returned Joe to the Senate because they know him and believe in him. It has nothing to do with party affiliations.” Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that during our convention coverage on, any time Sarah Palin was mentioned, traffic spiked. But even the governor could not quite inspire the intense curiosity readers showed in her strapping soon-to-be in-law (“Daily Intel: We’re Sorry, But Palin Baby Daddy Levi Johnston Is Sex on Skates,” September 2): A sample: “Levi Johnston is the real victim here. He’s a handsome athlete in Wasilla, AK, and now his happy years of wonderful, exciting premarital sex with every hot college co-ed at school will be cut short.”

2. Adam Sternbergh’s article about New Yorkers who decide to leave the city and move to Buffalo (Where the Urban Dream Life Is Going Cheap,” September 1–8) was quite the object of fascination in—well, can you guess where? Yes, Buffalonians crowed at what they saw as a rare bit of positive coverage for their beleaguered town. But we also heard from people who’d recently made the move downstate, and they reminded us why, in the aggregate, Buffalo is probably still losing people to New York City: “The grit and toughness in the city are things that I love. And not for an obstacle to overcome, but because it’s just real. A part of life. Because it surrounds you with a sense of reality, it connects you with people who live differently. It viscerally engages you with the rest of the world, aside from your own, whether you want it to or not.” Another recent transplant who identified him- or herself as ConflictedNYer put it this way: “I left Buffalo in 2003 with the dream of ‘bright lights, big city.’ Moving to NYC was a goal I worked incredibly hard for, and every day I am appreciative for my tiny 1.5-bedroom sixth-floor walk-up that costs $1,950 a month. Do I dream about expansive apartments with multiple rooms, porches, and both a front and back yard? Of course. Every time I visit Buffalo, I imagine how different my life would be if I lived there and how much potential there is for me to be happy. Key word: potential. In NYC all it takes is one glimpse of the Chrysler Building to keep me here. One glimpse of Buffalo’s City Hall fails to have that effect on me. But if my mother has her way, you’ll find me back by the time I’m 30.”

3. You never know what’s going to set readers off—sometimes all it takes is a seemingly harmless article about an ex-serviceman who got a loan from the government and started a couple of popular bars (“Intelligencer: Williamsburg Patriot,” August 17). If you believe some of the commenters, Benjamin Shih is hell to work for, he doesn’t keep his bathrooms clean, and he’s a traitor to the good hipsters of Williamsburg. The proof: The house draft he sells for $4 is “just PBR.” Criminal.

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Comments: Week of September 15, 2008