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Comments: November 16, 2015

1. Our recent list of female directors (“100 Women Directors Hollywood Could Be Hiring,” November 2–8) ­challenged the notion that there aren’t enough women working in the film business for studios to hire as directors. “It’s a sad, but well-established fact that female directors are hugely under­represented in Hollywood,” noted the New York Times’ Women in the World blog. “Major studios like 20th Century Fox, Sony, and Paramount have not put out a single female-directed film over the course of the past year, and some producers have claimed that this imbalance stems from the fact that there aren’t many women in the field to choose from. To prove them wrong, Vulture published a list of 100 women directors.” “It’s one thing to scream ‘Hire more women,’ ” wrote Awards Daily’s Sasha Stone. “It’s another to see it laid out as cleanly and plainly as Kyle Buchanan and the team at Vulture has done here … I’d say it’s a fairly damning piece that reveals the bias of male directors.” Women (and men) came out to celebrate the acknowledgment. “A reminder that it’s not a shortage of female directors that’s causing Holly­wood’s hiring problem,” noted BuzzFeed’s Alison Willmore. “We love a list like this,” added Sundance Institute, “and we look forward to the day we don’t need it.” “Honored to be on this,” tweeted director Vicky Jenson, “but can’t believe we still have to HAVE lists like this!” “Dear Kyle Buchanan,” tweeted Ava DuVernay: “May your lovely list live long on the desks of everyone who played blind to its existence before now. And may it grow. X.” At least one reader — The ­Hollywood Reporter’s Daniel Fienberg — felt that one element was missing. ­“Vulture’s list of 100 women directors is great,” he tweeted, “but I’d like it more if it didn’t still treat TV as a sad ghetto.” And many readers wished that the list could have reflected even more ethnic diversity. “Great list,” wrote commenter laura..moya. “Fantastic to see women directors of documentaries as well. What’s missing however are films directed by Latina filmmakers.” But most of the response could be summed up by Jessica Chastain’s succinct tweet: “Yeeeeeeesssssssss!”

2. “As he enters the final phase of his life,” wrote Wil S. Hylton in his story on Willie Nelson’s campaign against corporate pot (Willie Nelson’s Crusade, ­November 2–8), “Nelson is gearing up for a different battle … Even as the country has softened its stance toward marijuana, a legion of large corporations has gathered to dominate the legal market. Nelson figures he has at least one good fight left. In what may be his last political act, he is declaring war on Big Pot.” The Cannabist’s Ricardo Baca was surprised at how “shockingly little Willie Nelson knows about weed.” “The piece’s most surprising insight?” he wrote. “After all these hazy decades, Willie Nelson doesn’t know much about weed … [he] doesn’t even know the difference between indica and sativa.” Many commenters felt that ­Nelson is taking an admirable stance. “If you don’t see the corporate monopoly threat, then you don’t live in the real ­political/economic USA,” wrote commenter nubwaxer. “I’ve been hoping that smaller artisan growers would be given the rights to grow legal cannabis and keep the revenue generated in the local economy instead of sucked to offshore tax havens.” One commenter, mino.lidel, disagreed: “Marijuana is a commodity. It is suitable to be sold the same way as alcohol, hamburgers, or coffee. It is a perfect fit for Starbucks-­type franchises, and there’s nothing Willie Nelson or anyone can do about it. Also, where do people think all that money, those hundreds of millions of dollars spent on the legalization campaign, come from? They didn’t come from small farmers or enthusiasts, they came from Big Business who saw a future market with huge legal earnings. They expect to get their money back.” “At the end of the day, who cares?” responded Truth­Dispenser. “So long as no one is having their lives ruined by being sent to prison for years, costing them their careers, getting criminal records for the rest of their lives, ten-year travel bans per conviction, unable to get hired even at McDonald’s when they get out, having their homes and cars seized with ­forfeiture laws and even their families torn apart with kids having to grow up parentless in Children’s ­Aid and foster homes, who cares who ends up growing and selling in a legal environment? People are losing sight of the big picture.”

3. The November 2–8 issue had another pot-centric piece: “The Bong Next Door,” in which Reeves Wiedeman ­visited “very high Bible studies, softball games, and dinner parties” in suburban Colorado. “Fun Reeves ­Wiedeman piece from the baked suburbs of Denver,” wrote the New York TimesAndrew Keh. “I’d read 2,000 more words on ‘Stoner Jesus Bible Study.’ ” The piece brought out some anti-pot readers, however. “Pot is just another way of dulling existential angst, of quieting the discomfort stemming from a life unexamined,” wrote commenter sobegh. “One could also say that the ability to periodically free oneself from the pressures of everyday life is needed in order to ‘let go and just be,’ ” countered brewmn. Many ­readers just enjoyed the inside look. “Some of the most interesting stories out of ­Colorado the last couple years are the adventures of the bourgeois,” tweeted El Flaco.