Comments: Week of December 3, 2012

1. It was “completely insane” taking over Newsweek, editor Tina Brown told Michael Kinsley in a long interview just weeks before she’ll put the final print issue of the newsweekly to bed (In Conversation: Tina Brown,” November 26). “We get an unvarnished look at Brown—and it allows her to work her [Star Wars] ‘these are not the droids you’re looking for’ magic on us,” wrote Alexander Abad-Santos at the Atlantic Wire. “And Brown is just so candid and glib with stuff like sharing Arianna Huffington’s boyfriends and pretentious Tweeters … that we almost forgot what we were supposed to be talking about—that it’s the first interview-­interview that Brown has done since she announced that Newsweek would be shuttered. To that, she tosses in words like ‘romantic gamble’ and ‘Zeitgeist’ … and glosses over the fact that there will probably be plenty of Newsweek journalists losing jobs in the coming months … And we sort of believe her—if we liked Twinkies and Newsweek as much as we say we do, they’d probably still be in business, right?” Other commenters weren’t at all smitten. “Print is challenging,” wrote one, “but it requires someone who’s not stuck in 1998 to pull it off.”

2. “The internet is sooooo lame, man,” responded one moaning commenter to Nathan Heller’s essay about how the web has gotten so claustrophobically nice (I Really Like That You Like What I Like,” November 26). “I like that the new, social Internet has the power to silence and shame bullies, but otherwise the sanitization is kind of boring,” wrote another reader (“a compulsive commenter”). “There’s something to be said for the anonymity of the Internet in the old days,” wrote a third. “When people wear masks, they often speak more freely, and even sometimes feel freer to express unpopular views, vent about a closeted life, a health problem.” (Another noted: “There’s still plenty of vitriol online, mostly in places where anonymity rules.”) “Yes, there’s definitely a ‘new niceness’ phenomenon,” wrote Katie J. M. Baker at Jezebel. “But just because celebrities and media moguls (and plenty of regular people, too) are sharing their successes and sucking up to their idols online doesn’t mean that the Internet is suddenly this safe space full of rainbows and butterflies … If you’re a woman with an Internet presence, you need skin as thick as a redwood trunk to deal with the barrage of insults and threats that you’ll unquestionably receive … I no longer care all that much when people tell me I’m a cunt who deserves to die, and I’ve stopped writing about it—it’s possible that’s why men like Heller don’t realize that not everyone is oh-so-nice online … We can’t ask ‘when did the Internet get so nice?’ without also asking to whom, exactly, the Internet is nice—and why?”

3. In 1993, a 19-year-old aspiring rapper named Trevell Coleman shot a man without knowing if he’d killed him; seventeen years later, on the other side of a brief career with Bad Boy Records as G. Dep, he finally turned himself in, Jennifer Gonnerman wrote in a story about the case and the attack of conscience that brought it to a conclusion (The Man Who Charged Himself With Murder,” November 26). “I would prefer to live with a nightmare outside of prison than the nightmare of prison,” wrote one reader at “I say this while still understanding the hard decision Dep made in turning himself in and dealing with his demons. For some people, guilt is just too overwhelming.” Another found the timing of his confession curious. “Would be more interesting if he had turned himself in at the height of his Bad Boy success,” he wrote. “But then, of course, nobody would ever do that.” And a third marveled: “I was not at all prepared for the [victim’s] stepbrother’s response! How interesting that he would rather [Coleman] rot in his own skin and take care of his family than bring ‘justice’ to their fallen family member. This is deep all the way around!”

4. This month, the Penguin Press published What’s a Dog For? The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man’s Best Friend—a memoir and meditation on our curious relationship to our mutts, by New York executive editor John Homans, that began as a 2010 cover story for the magazine.

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Comments: Week of December 3, 2012