Comments: Week of August 30, 2010

1. Amy Larocca’s interview with last week’s cover girl, Katie Holmes (What Are You Looking At?,” August 23), raised one question in many readers’ minds: Is Holmes really this happy? “A young girl who has grown into a woman, self-possessed and composed,” wrote one commenter on “Ever since I saw her doing this ridiculous high-kick [in one of Mark Seliger’s photographs for the magazine], I’ve been thinking a lot about Katie Holmes,” wrote Carolyn Huckabay at Philadelphia City Paper’s Critical Mass blog. “I am weirdly relieved that she hasn’t been completely zombified by Scientology and/or her husband.” This was not a universally shared assessment. “She has the ‘I am crazy!’ kind of calm,” wrote one commenter. “The weirdest part is how she talks about Tom,” agreed another. “She can’t act with him because his movies are ‘classics’, and he’s very ‘gracious’ when he asks for advice? Very strange dynamic.” “It’s an interview under the pretense of ‘fall fashion’ but really, they probably just wanted to get up close and observe her freaky zombie life for themselves,” wrote the blogger at Lainey Gossip. “I can feel the hypnosis through the words on the page.” “It’s long past time for her well-rehearsed domestic-bliss script to get a polish,” snarked the Wonderwall blog at MSN. “[Her awe for Cruise] would be far more believable if she just toned it down a little. Also, she could mention how Tom is the bee’s knees but still does those annoying, if humanizing, little things that husbands do, like, say, leaving his ‘I Love Scientology’ T-shirt on the floor instead of putting it in the laundry basket.”

2. Larocca also profiled figure-skater Johnny Weir (The Johnny Weir Spectacular,” August 23), who, after a sixth-place finish at the Olympics earlier this year, is taking some time off to figure out what he wants to do after his competitive-skating career ends. Some readers were giddy over the profile, cheering Weir’s approach to sexuality. “He is one of the few people in public life who can successfully argue the many ways in which gender is fungible,” wrote Libby Copeland at Slate’s Double X blog. “He is as earnest and self-deprecating as he is aggressively, purposefully ridiculous, as this profile demonstrates, and this allows him to get away with a lot … The ‘mystery’ of who (if anyone) he sleeps with stands in for the mystery of who he fundamentally is.” “As a public figure his approach to his sexuality is refreshing,” wrote the bloggers at Autostraddle. “And sometimes he talks the crazy, and we love him for all of it.” Others were less pleased. A cabal of fiercely protective fans came on to to defend their hero against what they perceived to be a condescending take on Weir and his sport of choice. (Weir himself commented to the Daily News that he “wasn’t thrilled” with the profile.) “It almost felt like you were making fun of him and who he is,” wrote one. “Shame on you!” “Johnny Weir is one of the most fascinating personalities of these times,” claimed another. “He is part Oscar Wilde, part Adrian Monk, a rebel with a cause, a hybrid athlete/artist, a philanthropist. He is trying to break down the straitjackets of masculinity and femininity. Your article too often diminishes this thoughtful and intellectually honest man. Some may view him as a curiosity, but I see him as a liberator.” Others got into a heated debate over the summary of his skating in the Olympics as less athletic and technically proficient than that of rival Evan Lysacek. “In the 50 years I’ve been a fan of figure-skating, Johnny is unique. His skating is so artistically gorgeous the athleticism isn’t as obvious,” argued one commenter. “Sadly, politics weren’t in his favor.” There was at least one commenter who professed admiration for both the article and its subject: “I think the author did a wonderful job of capturing Weir’s free spirit. He is not easy to sum up in a nutshell of words. And the photos capture his beauty.”

3. Alex Morris’s foray into the closets of preteen girls whose wardrobes are maturing faster than they are (Tween Beat,” August 23) prompted contemplation about how girls think about clothes. “The phenomenon of adolescent girls trying to look like adults is hardly a new one, and the results of said attempts have always been smashingly awkward,” wrote Tracy Clark-Flory at Salon’s Broadsheet. “Such is adolescence … If Morris is right that both girls and women are striving for a Lolita look, the confusion is understandable. By definition, then, a tween who looks ‘amazing’ would also look ‘completely inappropriate,’ which is a succinct way of describing the teenage fashion of … always.” An owner of a boutique for tween girls commented on that her customers are “much more modest than you would think,” but others remained distressed: “Even more disturbing than the idea of young girls being thrown into the world of female sexuality through their clothing is that a 10-year-old girl is calling a men’s tank top a ‘wifebeater’!

4. In the spread on pages 80 and 81 opening the “Trends” section of last week’s issue, we neglected to run a photo caption. It is model Katia Kokoreva, backstage at Emporio Armani in Milan.

Send correspondence to:

Comments: Week of August 30, 2010