Comments: Week of July 13, 2009

1. Mark Harris’s examination of the divide between young and old gay men (The Gay Generation Gap,” June 29–July 6) generated some surprisingly conciliatory remarks on “I just attended a grassroots meeting in San Diego planning for the next California marriage battle, and it was mostly 20-year-olds. And they were angry, impatient, energized,” said one commenter. Another pleaded, “Do not think that flippant, ignorant, apathetic gay boys are the only thing that composes my generation. Please understand that the gay twentysomethings you run into at a parade in New York don’t embody the struggles of their generational counterparts elsewhere.” A 65-year-old man wrote in support of the youngsters as well: “I delight in seeing the young people’s smiling faces at rallies. It gives me hope that we will eventually win the long fight for equality.” Many older commenters argued that they should feel good about the relative ease with which younger gay men live their lives. “I feel proud every time I see how matter-of-factly kids say they don’t think it’s any big deal to be gay. It’s only natural that they have a different point of view,” said one about the young’uns, “and, in fact, we wanted them to feel the way they do. But, if you’re 25, it’s unlikely you know how hard it was to get to this place. And, in a way, I’m glad you don’t.” But then, of course, there were a few like this: “I have nothing in common with the young gays today. They are insipid brats who know nothing of what we went through.”

2. Touré’s investigation of the self-imposed segregation of black and white communities at the Obama family’s rumored summer-vacation spot (Black and White on Martha’s Vineyard,” June 29–July 6) ignited controversy both on and throughout the Internet. “This piece does more harm than good when it comes to race relations and informing the public about the black experience,” wrote the blogger at Raving Black Lunatic. “I’m saddened by the way it presents black and white interactions, and I’m angered by the myths it promulgates.” A commenter on echoed that sentiment, saying, “It’s unfortunate how ultimately reduced black culture on Martha’s Vineyard is by the close of this article. The way in which black vacationers are framed in this article, as elitists, driven by social agendas to the point of exclusivity, is a shame … This journalist has built an argument on a weak, one-dimensional assumption.” But far and away what drew the most indignation was a quote from an unnamed Vineyarder who referred to Michelle Obama as a “ghetto girl.” Commenters leaped to the First Lady’s defense: “Mrs. Obama displays more ‘old money blue blood’ characteristics by her graciousness and inclusiveness than any of those snobs.

3. Writer, wannabe rock star Hugo Lindgren’s collaboration with Moby (My Moby Makeover,” June 29–July 6) drew out the music geeks. One noted, “It’s like the Morrison spoken-word bit in ‘Riders on the Storm,’ backed by John Hughes–era OMD.” “Has a very the Call (‘And the Walls Came Down’)/the Nails (‘88 Lines About 44 Women’) feel to it,” opined another commenter. Another applauded Lindgren’s “postmodern, Velvet Underground–esque sensibility.” But the rest were merely in awe at his bravery in baring his lack of talent for all to hear: “Listening to you sing is like that dream I have where I show up at the office in my underwear. Only this time you show up in your underwear.”

4. Danny Meyer’s hot-dog taste-testing (Dog Fight,” June 29–July 6) elicited a flurry of suggestions on where to look for primo tube steak: “Hoeffner’s in Morristown, New Jersey. No preservatives, binders, coloring agents, stabilizers, or artificial anything.” “Trader Joe’s Uncured All Natural Turkey Dogs.” “Uncooked buy-’em-by-the-pound natural-casing franks from Katz’s.” “My favorite hot dog is from a street vendor on Police Plaza in Manhattan. I get it with onions, mustard, and hot-pepper flakes.”

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Comments: Week of July 13, 2009