Comments: Week of August 19, 2013

1. In last week’s cover story, Benjamin Wallace-Wells profiled Chris Christie, the bombastic governor of New Jersey and would-be Republican candidate for president (“What Is Chris ­Christie Doing Right?,” August 12). Liberal readers were impressed with the pugnacious purple-state conservative. “I greatly respect how Governor Christie really listens to everyone else; I enjoy his sense of humor; I especially admire his chutzpah,” wrote one commenter. “I am more or less an independent voter, leaning way more left than right, but I see Christie as a latter-day Harry Truman.” Wrote another: “I love Jersey, I respect Christie. The only GOP macher I can remotely tolerate.” Others seemed to find Christie’s showmanship a little excessive. “Christie is a ­big-time fighter when his opponent is a schoolteacher or a state worker,” sniffed one. “I’m not that impressed.” And on the question of whether Christie’s populistic middle-class anger would help him in a national race, some readers found the article a little too credulous. “While Christie is doing a good job of capturing the anger about the way things are, among Republicans, he trails 2012 loser Rick Santorum, highlighting his difficulties in the GOP primary,” wrote Greg Dworkin at the Daily Kos. “Christie is happy to tell you what he believes in any given situation, though he somehow remains, ideologically, an enigma,” wrote Seth Mandel at Commentary. “He is currently grappling with the challenge of ‘proving’ his conservatism even though he has generally governed as a conservative.” “If history is any guide,” wrote Philip Bump at the Atlantic Wire, noting this profile and the Quinnipiac poll the article cited, “that combination means that he will finish tied for last among Republican presidential candidates in 2016. Because once upon a time, Rudy Giuliani had his own New York profile and led in the same poll.”

2. “Once you spend more than $100 million on a movie, you have to save the world,” explained summer-­blockbuster script-doctor extraordinaire Damon Lindelof to Scott Brown in a story about the (convoluted) state of the modern popcorn flick (“Nuke the Cat,” August 12). “It’s nice to see a little self-reflection,” wrote Meredith Woerner at iO9. “He’s one of the few screenwriters with name-recognition and even he laments the production process—a sign that even at the highest level, you’re still playing someone else’s game,” noted Scott Beggs at Film School Rejects. “I’m encouraged by the interview, though. It shows an understanding of what’s happening inside while proving not everyone is blind to the conversations going on outside the room. It may be too late to curb the oncoming freight train, but even if this isn’t the light at the end of the tunnel, Lindelof’s statements are at the very least someone recognizing that they’re in the tunnel to begin with.” Commenters at ­ also appreciated the peek behind the movie-making curtain. “This makes me more sympathetic to Lindelof’s recent failures when the massive machinery of the business is rigged against you,” wrote one commenter. “Shows that ­Lindelof aspires to something more, and acknowledges the tension between artistic impulses and just putting a save the world spectacle up on the screen,” agreed another. Others were less sympathetic. “The problem here is that his passive acceptance of commonly perceived wisdom exists solely as a reason for him to rationalize, and maintain, his high-paid writing gigs,” argued a commenter. “I’m not a ­‘Lindelhof Hater’ by any means, I just think he’s making excuses.”

3. Looking at our dysfunctional capital in the wake of Mark Leibovich’s Beltway tell-all This Town, Frank Rich wrote that since Washington players from both sides of the aisle find the old lobbyist power structures of D.C. to be so lucrative, nothing is likely to change (“The Stench of the Potomac,” August 12). Readers seemed to think it didn’t take any inside dope to see that. “So many of us out here know what’s going on, and we know that no amount of smartly written ­exposés will ever change anything,” stated one commenter on “Government of the people, by the special interests, for the special interests. The only thing that is going to change this is the second American Revolution,” argued another. And a third: “You have written the preface to The Decline and Fall of the American Empire. It is in these little, corrupt ways you describe that the nation’s soul has been lost.”

4. Jada Yuan’s day of apartment-­hunting with Orange Is the New Black star Natasha Lyonne (“369 Minutes With Natasha Lyonne,” August 12) got a big response from readers on, who offered up their praise for the actress (“You are fabulous Natasha, wherever you stay, just stay healthy”) and also real-estate advice. “Stay in Manhattan, girl!” wrote one commenter. And another: “It’s almost always the better choice to just suck up the rent increase and stay put.”

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Comments: Week of August 19, 2013