Tuesday, August 24, 2010

NY Mag Comments: Week of August 30, 2010

NY Mag published some comments they received regarding the poor excuse for an article The Johnny Weir Spectacular that was published in their August 16, 2010 issue.  My thoughts are below, followed by the comments published in the magazine and then a definition of the word 'cabal', which is used in the article. 

As a fan who did comment on this article I find it highly insulting to be dismissed as a member of "a cabal** of fiercely protective fans".  While I do believe Johnny Weir fans sometimes have a tendency to 'circle the wagons' in defense of Johnny, I also understand there is a reason for that.  How many times have we been frustrated by articles that focus almost solely on his sexuality, or refuse to get past what they think they already know about Johnny Weir and write an article based on perception as opposed to reality?  It would be nice for reporters to move past this issue to another aspect of Johnny Weir; however there have been well written articles about Johnny that do focus heavily on his sexual orientation but are otherwise well-focused and fair and unbiased overall to him. It's a pleasant surprise when we read an article about Johnny Weir that doesn't have his sexuality as it's major focus and also manages to be unbiased on the part of the reporter.   

The publishers and editors of NY Mag are supposed to be professionals, and they run a magazine in one of the most stylish, cosmopolitan cities in the world.  However, their response in this case has been less than professional.  The original article, aside from the beautiful Cass Bird photographs, was a mish-mash of styles, focus, incorrect facts, condescending comments, and insinuations about Johnny Weir, his agent Tara Modlin, his friend Paris Childers, his friend make-up artist Joey Camasta and others.  Reporter Amy Larocca had this intelligent, well-rounded, charming, caring, talented human being to interview and file a report on; unfortunately as one comment to the article stated it was
'A lot of good material in search of a much better writer'.  As another
reader who commented stated "In fact, if all you know about Johnny Weir is what this woman wrote, then you're in the same boat she's in: You really don't know anything about him at all. Nothing that's actually true, anyway."


NY Mag Comments: Week of August 30, 2010

Comments: Week of August 30, 2010

Published Aug 22, 2010

2. Larocca also profiled figure-skater Johnny Weir ("The Johnny Weir Spectacular," August 23), who, after a sixth-place finish at the Olympics earlier this year, is taking some time off to figure out what he wants to do after his competitive-skating career ends. Some readers were giddy over the profile, cheering Weir’s approach to sexuality. “He is one of the few people in public life who can successfully argue the many ways in which gender is fungible,” wrote Libby Copeland at Slate’s Double X blog. “He is as earnest and self-deprecating as he is aggressively, purposefully ridiculous, as this profile demonstrates, and this allows him to get away with a lot ... The ‘mystery’ of who (if anyone) he sleeps with stands in for the mystery of who he fundamentally is.” “As a public figure his approach to his sexuality is refreshing,” wrote the bloggers at Autostraddle. “And sometimes he talks the crazy, and we love him for all of it.” Others were less pleased. A cabal of fiercely protective fans came on to nymag.com to defend their hero against what they perceived to be a condescending take on Weir and his sport of choice. (Weir himself commented to the 'Daily News' that he “wasn’t thrilled” with the profile.) “It almost felt like you were making fun of him and who he is,” wrote one. “Shame on you!” “Johnny Weir is one of the most fascinating personalities of these times,” claimed another. “He is part Oscar Wilde, part Adrian Monk, a rebel with a cause, a hybrid athlete/artist, a philanthropist. He is trying to break down the straitjackets of masculinity and femininity. Your article too often diminishes this thoughtful and intellectually honest man. Some may view him as a curiosity, but I see him as a liberator.” Others got into a heated debate over the summary of his skating in the Olympics as less athletic and technically proficient than that of rival Evan Lysacek. “In the 50 years I’ve been a fan of figure-skating, Johnny is unique. His skating is so artistically gorgeous the athleticism isn’t as obvious,” argued one commenter. “Sadly, politics weren’t in his favor.” There was at least one commenter who professed admiration for both the article and its subject: “I think the author did a wonderful job of capturing Weir’s free spirit. He is not easy to sum up in a nutshell of words. And the photos capture his beauty.”

**Definition of 'cabal' from Dictionary.Reference.com
ca·bal   /kəˈbæl/ Show Spelled [kuh-bal] Show IPA noun, verb, -balled, -bal·ling.


1. a small group of secret plotters, as against a government or person in authority.
2. the plots and schemes of such a group; intrigue.
3. a clique, as in artistic, literary, or theatrical circles.

–verb (used without object)
4. to form a cabal; intrigue; conspire; plot.

Use cabal in a sentence


1610–20, for an earlier sense; earlier cabbal < ML cabbala. See cabala
—Related forms

ca·bal·ler, noun

—Can be confused:   cabal, cabala.


1. junta, faction, band, league, ring. 2. See conspiracy.


bsontwit said...

bad writing is simply that-bad writing! as a journalist I am sure she has heard of checking basic facts before printing the article! and just because we call her on her condescending tone doesnt mean we are a secret group of lunatics-it simply means her article was inaccurate & noticably biased!

aaaack said...

NY Mag Comments is about the blind leading the blind...and thus slants and diminishes again! We are not a cabal, because nobody organized us. We're commenting based on our own free will and individual perceptions. Many fans loved the article. More found it wanting.

PumaJ said...

By defining Johnny Weir's fans as a "cabal', N.Y. Magazine attempts to minimize and invalidate the observations and commentary made by intelligent observers.

It is too bad the magazine doesn't, instead, acknowledge the misinformed mediocrity of the article in question.

WheresMyKoppy said...

It's simply too easy to dismiss disagreement as some kind of 'conspiracy', or to try and claim people are over reacting. That way you don't have to properly respond or take any responsibility; you simply avoid the issue.