Comments: Week of November 22, 2010

1. Adam Sternbergh’s cover story on happy-go-lucky Late Night host Jimmy Fallon (“Mr. Sunshine,” November 15) drew plenty of praise from the comedian’s fans—and Fallon himself. “There’s my big fat dumb head,” he said on last Monday’s show, pointing at the magazine. “Great article. I think he really captured what our show’s about.” “A natural choice for a cover boy [for an issue about optimism],” wrote the blog Splitsider. Most commenters agreed, posting sentiments like “Jimmy is just delightful and a total gem of a human being.” Of course, not all were full of sunshine. “I find him to be a first-class celebrity kiss-ass,” wrote one. “Craig Ferguson is miles ahead of Jimmy Fallon,” opined another. “Ferguson is the better interviewer, and his monologues are fresh and full of wit. If Fallon gets the Tonight Show, it won’t be the first time NBC gives the show to someone who’s not as good as the guy on CBS.” “Some of his bits are good, some are just lazy and awful,” added another. “His show will never touch what Conan did.”

2. Michael Idov’s case for taking an optimistic view on the future (“Look on the Bright Side,” November 15) struck a mostly happy chord. “I think this article was about cutting us all a break,” opined one commenter. “People are thoroughly aware and heavily immersed in all sorts of crises. After reading this, I felt more equipped to keep calm and carry on. Plus, that thing about the gorillas was rad.” (Scientists have discovered that gorillas play tag.) “This story needs a double rainbow,” added another. Though it was written from a liberal’s point of view, conservatives joined the chorus for their own reasons: “A good counter to the ‘sky is falling’ mantra usually spouted during tough times. If we are talking optimism, maybe someone would have pointed out that the S&P’s October rally seemed to be based on only one thing: A GOP House was coming. Might not fit Idov’s narrative, but a happy fact nonetheless.”

3. Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld’s celebration of the vegivore (“Vegetables Are the New Meat,” November 15) touched off a debate between vegetable evangelists and their flesh-favoring counterparts. “Foodies are starting to realize how much culinary joy can be found by focusing a dish on vegetables instead of always making meat the highlight of the plate,” wrote the Tall Poppy Café blog. “We’ve always known this.” “I will gladly declare myself a vegivore! I menu-plan around the produce I get in my weekly food-co-op haul,” wrote one commenter. “I think our approach to vegetables in the U.S. is what makes most people shy away from them,” another suggested. “Most people think by eating vegetables, they are trying to substitute meat. The approach toward vegetables in Indian food is helpful—there are so many ways of cooking vegetables that one never feels deprived or challenged.” “All meat, unless it’s wild game, tastes the same,” averred another. “Every vegetable, by contrast, has a character all its own. Even dogs like steak, but it takes a considerably more sophisticated palate to appreciate a great ratatouille.” Then there were our carnivorous readers. “I’m wondering if the person who says all meat tastes the same actually eats it,” one wrote. “Meat-based reductions are what give dishes—even vegetable ones—deep flavor,” wrote another. “Pea soup without the ham hock is bland. Omnivores who try a vegetarian diet will, after a few weeks, be salivating for that hamburger.” Others were more interested in parsing the “slightly controversial” term vegivore, as the blog the Discerning Brute called it. “They make sure to distinguish themselves from vegetarians, still calling on meat, butter, and cheese for flavor.” “The word vegetarian has come to carry a lot of unfortunate (and in some cases, undeserved) connotations,” noted the restaurant Dirt Candy’s blog. “Using the V word sometimes causes potential customers to conjure up a bunch of unsavory images and associations. I admire NY Mag’s efforts to find a new word, but I wonder if vegivore will stick?”

4. David Edelstein’s negative pass on Tyler Perry’s new film, For Colored Girls (“Great Actresses Aren’t Enuf,” November 15), was less uniformly admired. “This is the worst movie review I ever read. Nothing but another outsider looking into a world they barely know,” wrote a commenter. Others weighed in: “You obviously have not spent much time with a diverse mix of black women.” But Edelstein had plenty of supporters from readers: “I saw it. I’m a black woman. [For Colored Girls] was just overdone, like all of [Perry’s] other work.” “I’d like for Tyler to quit trying to interpret the struggles of black women, and shift his focus and tell his own story. He has issues, and they come across in the worst way through his filmmaking.”

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Comments: Week of November 22, 2010