Comments: Week of August 23, 2010

1. Lisa Taddeo’s profile of Codey Wilson, the Baghdad-based Army specialist who directed a don’t-ask-don’t-tell- satirizing video of himself and his fellow infantrymen dancing to Ke$ha’s “Blah Blah Blah” (The Ke$ha-Loving, Command-Defying Army Auteur,” August 9–16), left commenters swooning. “This kid needs to be on the big screen,” wrote one. “Too many good movies are wasted with low-grade actors that no one really cares about. He’s witty and bold and would be a real American success story.” Not surprisingly, commenters also sided with Wilson on the question of whether his video was disrespectful to the Army as it deliberates on the subject of gays in the military. “The fundamental point of its viral success is that these bored, energetic young’uns are showing the fearmongers to be fools,” wrote one. “They want to have a laugh, let off steam, and aim at the biggest targets. In this case, one of the biggest targets are the know-it-alls who think that what these guys did on camera is going to be reality. The video’s sheer ridiculousness proves the fear of [openly gay soldiers] baseless.” The Washington Post’s Story Lab praised the “insightful” article for a “too-rare glimpse into the culture of soldiering. Half a world away, fighting a war the American public wishes would just go away, it can be a lonely existence.” “It paints a pretty intriguing (and saddening) picture of a group of people who are immersed in our culture yet wholly apart from it,” concurred James Brady Ryan at’s Scanner. “It seems to me that any political point was secondary to the video; the main reason he made it was because everyone there is bored and depressed and just wants something uplifting to do.” Nancy Scola at saw a less wistful reason behind the surge of videos: “Another contributing explanation is that young guys, civilian or soldier, like to take their shirts off and dance around.”

2. The commenter reactions to David Edelstein’s mixed review of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (A Not So Super Hero,” August 9–16) neatly highlighted a schism between young and old moviegoers. “I’ll forgive you because you’re too old to get what is going on in this movie,” noted one commenter. “Cera’s character is someone that I think is going to be understood by people ages 26–32. I’m not taking a knock at you; I’ve just never seen something that is so specifically honed to an age group.” “I think it’s important to point out an interesting generational reaction to the film,” added another commenter. “It was clear to me that the fighting was a metaphor for how Scott Pilgrim relates to becoming an adult. I can imagine how a viewer without the understanding of the generational references may find the film pointlessly dazzling.” “The word ‘old’ is being bantered around a lot,” rebutted a third commenter. “Remember, age group 18–32: You didn’t invent anything. Sex, drugs, rock and roll, and cool topical statements have been around for thousands of years before your precious-snowflake mentality emerged.” Over at Newsweek, the response to Edelstein’s review prompted Jennie Yabroff to note, “While it’s true that some of the references might be lost on someone over 40, there’s no reason older audiences shouldn’t enjoy the movie … You may feel a wistful sense of nostalgia. You may also feel relief you never have to be that age again.”

The following are the top ten most viewed stories for 2010, to date, on

1. Madam Helen,” by Logan Hill (June 28–July 5). A profile of actress Helen Mirren.

2. St. Elizabeth and the Ego Monster,” by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin (April 12). A look inside John and Elizabeth Edwards’s imploding marriage during the 2008 campaign.

3. All Joy and No Fun,” by Jennifer Senior (July 12). An investigation of why children don’t make their parents any happier.

4. Woman of the Hourglass,” by Amy Larocca (February 22–March 1). A profile of Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks.

5. The Human Shuffle,” by Sam Anderson (February 15). An exploration of the video-networking website ChatRoulette.

6. The Most Livable Neighborhoods in New York,” by Nate Silver (April 19). A (fairly rigorous) scientific ranking of the most livable neighborhoods in New York City.

7. Bernie Madoff, Free at Last,” by Steve Fishman (June 14–21). An article about convicted Ponzi schemer Madoff’s life in jail.

8. Rachel Uchitel Is Not a Madam,” by Lisa Taddeo (April 12). An investigative tour of the half-hooker economy.

9. The Revolution Will Be Commercialized,” by Gabriel Sherman (May 3). A feature on the way Sarah Palin has monetized her candidacy.

10. Where to Eat 2010,” by Adam Platt (January 4–11). An annual roundup of the best places to eat in the coming year.

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Comments: Week of August 23, 2010