Comments: Week of May 11, 2009

1. Jonathan Van Meter’s profile of Nan and Gay Talese and their decidedly unorthodox, but effective, approach to staying married (A Nonfiction Marriage,” May 4) struck a few different chords with readers. “I loved this piece,” wrote a commenter on “Their lives are messy, public, and fully lived. As a couple, they seem closer to a relatable ideal than the many other false and unobtainable ‘ideals’ which have been shoved down our throats for the last 30–40 years. I admired Nan’s discipline: Whether or not she had (has) ‘secret’ lovers seemed beside the point. She chose discretion and a certain old-school discipline that saw her through. [The Taleses] show us why people weighed down by very narrow notions of family ‘values’ are so threatened.” Others felt a little more conflicted about the couple. “The daughter, Pamela, should write the book about the marriage,” observed another commenter. “She has more insight into it than Talese—doesn’t have to justify the sins of the father.” And one reader felt that her perception of the couple would be forever damaged by how much they disclosed: “It amazes me when people write books about their personal lives in such detail. I am always embarrassed for them on so many levels. This story is sad because I so admire the both of them.”

2. Does Andrew Cuomo have what it takes to pull off the next stage of his political renaissance and get himself elected governor? The reaction to Chris Smith’s profile of the state attorney general and his efforts to capitalize on public resentment of financial fat cats (The Political Art of Anger Management,” April 27) serves as something of a straw poll and the results are … not encouraging for the Cuomo camp. In fact, the personal enmity that he inspires may well eclipse the hard feelings people have about Wall Street these days. “Oh, what a happy day it will be when Andrew Cuomo will get his,” promised one reader. “We know that he will be brought down, we just do not know when and why. The personal humiliation from his divorce will be insignificant in comparison.” Another added, “This story sounds familiar, oh, yeah, it was Eliot Spitzer’s story in 2006.” Not that there was zero support for Cuomo. One reader suggested that his potential run for governor could mark “a seminal shift in the electorate—he will take the advantage provided him with his father’s counsel and ride a twenty-year new wave—NYC needs to return to the fifties and sixties when [real people] could afford to live in Manhattan and add tremendous value in the mix.”

3. And if Andrew Cuomo can’t save us, maybe Andrew W.K. can. David Amsden’s profile of the rocker turned nightlife impresario (The Let’s-Just-Party-Boy,” May 4) rallied much partisan support. “Me and my friend are in that picture dancing with him, and I can attest to his all-powerful awesomeness. He came down from the D.J. booth to dance with the crowd, giving my drunk friends high fives all night long.”

Photo: Courtesy of Patrick McMullan

4. We would be remiss if we didn’t note the controversy caused by’s Twitter Approval Matrix, “Our deliberately oversimplified guide to whose tweets are worth following.” Okay, there wasn’t really any controversy. But there were amusing complaints about placements, especially from a blogger who leaped gallantly to the defense of Julia Allison (“She’s actually a machine of happiness and non-sickening positivity in this cynical city”) and a fan who insisted “Rainn Wilson pours cats and dogs of twisdom.”

5. Last Thursday, the American Society of Magazine Editors awarded the prize for General Excellence in magazine websites with over 1 million unique page views per month. This award means that both the print and digital editions of the magazine have now been recognized for their excellence by ASME, and for that, we are grateful and proud.

Comments: Week of May 11, 2009