Comments: Week of November 24, 2008

1. The changes that the economic crisis is forcing upon many New Yorkers is inspiring plenty of powerful emotions, as evidenced by the response to our Live Cheap feature (November 10), in which we suggested myriad ways to maintain a high standard of living on a tighter budget. Amid the gratitude from readers who welcomed guilt-free helpful tips, several readers took us more seriously than we did ourselves. “Trade in my dog … for a friggin’ fish. Eff you,” wrote an aggrieved commenter. “The dog stays.” Others accused the magazine of preaching to the converted; several readers explained that they didn’t need an economic downturn to teach them the value of thrift. “Spending over a Benjamin on any one item requires some thought, especially now that we’re all fiscally effed and stuff,” the blog CheapJap posted with some added incredulity—“(what?!)”—at our implicit suggestion that $610 Etro heels would be considered a normal purchase even in a rosy economic climate. Readers also wrote in with suggestions of their own, plugging their local dry cleaner and alerting us to bargains on the new Website and 1-800-FREE411.

2. Commenters on really have a thing for political analysts. Last month, they went gaga for Adam Sternbergh’s profile of blogger Nate Silver (The Spreadsheet Psychic), and more recently for Jessica Pressler’s profile of MSNBC’s new star Rachel Maddow (The Dr. Maddow Show,” November 10). The dozens upon dozens of gooey comments are, at the very least, enthusiastic—so many exclamation points and giddy declarations like “She is so smart,” “Rachel rocks!” “She is a class act!” There were weirdly intimate moments—“My wife refers to Rachel as ‘Thomas’s beloved’; of course I, Thomas, refer to her as ‘My beloved.’ ” The response also amounted to a sort of United States of Rachel Maddow–lovers, with commenters exposing their age, location, and race, with incredibly wide geographic and demographic distribution. We did, though, come across a dissenter or two who wished to inject a bit of vinegar, like this from commenter Joe Paranoid: “Frankly, her appeal mystifies me. She’s not as smart as everyone thinks, but given the pathetic level of intellect displayed on TV news, I guess it’s not hard to shine.”

Photo: Patrick McMullan

3. has made an obsession out of covering The CW show Gossip Girl, which the writers of our Daily Intel blog also covered in a New York cover story last spring (The Genius of Gossip Girl,April 28). So imagine their delight when they realized New York was a plot element in this week’s episode. Here’s what happened on the show: Dan, the sensitive Brooklynite and aspiring author, was introduced to a New York editor who, oblivious to Dan’s youth and inexperience, asked him to write an exposé—a word we don’t use much around here—of the sordid life of billionaire Bart Bass, timed to the twentieth anniversary of Bass’s company, Bass Industries. Bass is the father of Dan’s conniving nemesis Chuck Bass. In the course of the show, Dan ends up visiting the fictional Park Avenue office of New York Magazine, which did look rather like our previous headquarters on Madison Avenue. Long story short, Dan has a crisis of conscience and never ends up writing the piece after the truth comes out about a historic fire that could topple the Bass empire and after Chuck appeals to Dan—a very un-Chuck moment you’d know if you watch the show. Our prime-time glory ends when Dan decides to “kill” his own story, something that, as far as we know, has never happened in real life. But it made for entertaining television.

4. Finally, several readers wrote in wondering how many diners the locavore’s Thanksgiving recipes (A Local Thanksgiving,” by Gillian Duffy, November 10) would feed on the big holiday. The answer is that all recipes serve eight.

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Comments: Week of November 24, 2008