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Comments: Week of January 11, 2016


1. “Fairly or not,” wrote Andrew Rice in his profile of New York mayor Bill de Blasio, “a litany of petty uproars — over late sleeping and tardiness; over his ­forays around the country to position himself as a progressive-thought leader; over his sniping with Governor Andrew Cuomo — have begun to coalesce into a deadly critique: The mayor can’t manage” (“How Are You Enjoying the de Blasio Revolution?,” December 28–January 10). Reader Sean M. Kennedy felt that the story demonstrated how public opinion of de Blasio has soured unfairly, saying Rice’s account was a “case study of how a subset of New Yorkers (affluent, liberal) drive perception of city despite facts.” Others agreed the perception of de Blasio seemed divorced from reality. “I don’t have a strong opinion of de Blasio,” wrote francis_s. “But I do have a strong opinion about the media’s incessant push against this guy … when there is so much hard data that refutes it. A $900 million surplus that barely gets a mention, while gropy Elmo gets a week’s worth of headlines? Seriously?” Newsday’s Matthew Chayes responded to one particular detail: Rice’s assertion that “the City Hall press corps … has taken to calling him ‘de Blah-Blah-Blah.’ ” “Never heard anyone in Room 9 call Bill de Blasio ‘de Blah-Blah-Blah,’ but it’s a good one!” he tweeted.


2. “Here’s a modern Robin Hood story for you,” began the feature by Jessica Pressler on a group of strippers who drugged and stole from their clients (“The Hustlers at Scores,” December 28–January 10). “I felt torn while reading this story,” wrote Veronica de Souza, “because I found myself rooting for the women … but I know drugging someone and stealing from them is wrong.” Some readers wondered if the women weren’t rapists. “These women drugged men, ­coerced them to have non-consensual sex with prostitutes from Craigslist, stole thousands of dollars from them, and are only being charged with white- collar crimes?” wrote don.greenberg. “If I remember correctly, nowadays we tend to sympathize with those who are drugged and coerced to act against their will, not mock and generalize them and claim that they probably deserve it.” None of the men involved have publicly accused the women of nonconsensual sex, but commenter RKG acknowledged how difficult it can often be to see men as victims: “The number-one reason why men do not report being raped is the belief that they will be treated as a joke, that they will be laughed at instead of taken seriously, that everyone will go out of their way to make it clear they do not believe he could be raped. It’s why I didn’t report my rape.” Twitter user ReformedBroker felt it was less clear where to place the blame. “Strippers who drug Wall Street guys and rob them,” he tweeted. “No one to root for in this Jessica Pressler story.” Many people responded to the drama of the piece, including the New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin, who tweeted: “What a story! Strippers, Bankers, and Drugs, Oh My!” “On the subway reading this,” tweeted Brooklynite author Emily Gould, “and wishing I lived in Coney Island so I could keep reading it forever.”

3. Rebecca Traister’s column “The Election and the Death Throes of White Male Power” articulated the tension between the increasing political prominence of minorities and women and the increasingly scary rhetoric in the 2016 race (December 28–January 10). “It is not a coincidence that after seven years of a black president, people are calling for lynchings at Republican rallies,” she writes. Many readers took Traister’s description as a warning that political power for minorities and women would not come without struggle. “Well-­articulated fear that I also share,” wrote Gabriela RM. “People get more dangerous the more desperate they ­become.” Some thought Traister cherry-picked her examples. “It’s odd how in this [story] on the demise of white male power Rebecca Traister doesn’t consider that Rubio & Cruz are Latino,” tweeted the journalist Doug Henwood. And at least one reader felt their America was a less sinister place than the one described by Traister. “Look, this is just so much campaign idiocy, what Obama called the silly season,” wrote commenter lessadoabouteverything. “America is a far more just and fair place than this article lets on. ­Republicans had both houses of ­Congress and the White House but didn’t move the needle one inch to the right on social issues at all. They didn’t even cut government; the largest unpaid-for entitlement in American history, Medicare Part D, was passed by Republicans. Compare the U.S. now to what it was in 2001 when George W. Bush took office. Gays can serve openly in the military and can marry everywhere, millions more people have insurance, alternative energy is more and more prevalent.” Others felt Traister’s depiction was spot-on. “This article is a good summation of the creeping dread I’ve felt during this election cycle,” tweeted Atchesonate.


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