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Comments: Week of August 25, 2014

1. “As even casual prowlers of the internet worlds of fashion and style are aware, there’s been quite a lot in Gevinson’s life so far to separate her from her peers, from everyone, really, because she became famous at 11,” wrote Amy Larocca in her profile (Tavi Gevinson Just Graduated From High School,” August 11–24). Readers were impressed with the precocious fashion icon, actress, and publisher.’s Krizia Victoria posted: “Tavi Gevinson is 18 years old and has already achieved many of my #lifegoals. She is a fresh high school graduate who has not only rubbed elbows with the likes of Anna Wintour, but has also created a successful online magazine, Rookie, and is now starring on Broadway alongside Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin in This Is Our Youth. Oh yeah, she was recently featured on the cover of New York Magazine. NBD. Hey Tavi! I want to be your friend! Seriously. The Dish agreed, calling it “further affirmation that Tavi Gevinson—still a teenager!—has accomplished more than you ever will.” Bustle loved Tavi’s cover look: “Somehow,” Rosie Narasaki wrote, “it manages to be fetchingly retro in both a ’60s and Victorian way, it’s soft and understated enough for daytime wear, it features a take on blue eyeshadow that doesn’t look like it needs to be exorcised back to the ’80s, and it’s just goshdarn pretty.” Others thought the piece fell into a tradition of wunderkind worship: One commenter wailed, “I am so tired of hearing about Tavi and Shailene and all of these supposedly hubris-lacking people who somehow can’t seem to stop gushing about how enlightened and non-­conformist and stylish and wonderful they think they are.” The New York Post—which has no interest in pretty young celebrities whatsoever—agreed, writing “New York’s fall fashion issue contains the requisite hyperextended ingenue profile … with the pull quote from Gevinson: ‘What if I go to New York and become a horrible person?’ (Tavi, with this piece, you’ve taken the first important step.)” One commenter, DaviFranci, responded pragmatically: “Be nice to Tavi because most of you will probably be asking her for a job in ten years.”

2. The blandness of the Hillary presented in Hard Choices was a political, not a literary, choice. It’s a book that made no effort to entice, let alone win over, voters who weren’t Hillary fans in the first place,” Frank Rich wrote, noting that the former secretary of state’s dry memoir has been eclipsed on the best-seller lists by Ed Klein’s iffily sourced scandalfest (Good Hillary, Bad Hillary,” August 11–24). One commenter didn’t want anything to do with either Hillary: “The topic of Hillary in 2016 has already become yawningly tiresome, and here we are only midway through 2014. So I guess all an honest political pundit can do is try to tough it out. The Clintons are shrewd enough to understand that she is peaking way too early. So perhaps the strategy is to knock her down a bit now so she can make a timely resurgence—The Comeback Kid, Part 2 … This is going to be a long season.” TSWhiskers wrote, “Okay, so the American public prefers trashy novels to dull, dry political biographies like Clinton’s? I’m fainting from shock ... The first law of politics, WE SHALL NOT OFFEND OUR PUBLIC, is followed religiously by anyone with real ambition to enter high public office.” And commenter Expatriate suggested that if Hard Choices “were restricted to her concrete accomplishments as secretary of state, it would have been the size of a pocket pamphlet.”

3. Speaking of 2016: “There is no way to map out the course of the two years between now and the home stretch of the presidential election,” Jonathan Chait wrote in a column suggesting that the GOP, by dragging down the economy through obstructionism, might be creating the climate for another Democratic president. “In the meantime, it is dawning on some observers that Obama’s pain may be Clinton’s gain” (The Obstructionist’s Dilemma,” August 11–24). Commenter Tufty2000 responded, “Whether you agree or disagree, Jon Chait is remarkably consistent in his views. Saying that the Republicans may have inadvertently helped the Democrats doesn’t mean that Obama’s record, if things improve economically, won’t also help the party in 2016.” Commenter Tijuanatornado thought the piece was “very simplistic—political fluff, really. To ascribe the slow economic growth only to Republicans without any other factor having as much or more influence in the rate of growth is nothing but putting blinders on oneself and yelling for everyone to see the unicorns ahead.” But many people disagreed. “Wrong,” said gpowell. “Just about every economist with the exception of ... Larry Kudlow accepts that fiscal austerity ... was a drag on the U.S. economy. The GOP was responsible for this with some help from a handful of blue dogs.”

A Correction: An article published on the “Best Bets” page in the August 11–24 issue incorrectly referred to a Sheila Hicks exhibit as posthumous.

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