You’ve probably heard of Tesla Motors by now, the California company that designs and manufactures electric cars. Founded in 2003, Tesla almost didn't make it through the recession, but today its fortunes are rising, thanks in large part to the car it released last year: the Model S (top photo). A premium sport sedan, the Model S is aimed at people who would otherwise buy a Mercedes S Class or a Lexus. It starts at $69,900 ($62,400 with a $7,500 federal tax credit). You recharge the car by plugging it into a wall outlet or a public charging station. The charging port is built into the taillight. Automotive journalists have gone nuts for the Model S; Motor Trend and Automobile named it their car of the year for 2013, and Consumer Reports gave it a rare 99 out of 100 rating.
The March issue of Philadelphia magazine is unfortunate. I saw the issue late last week. I still have sort of a hard time believing it's real.
Others have already made powerful arguments about what the cover story gets wrong about race. I just wanted to make a few points about why I think the story—“Being White in Philly”—doesn’t make sense as journalism. That’s my lens, and that’s how I’ve been thinking about it.
Something unusual happened to journalist Daniel Denvir last Wednesday: Another journalist in the city accused him of libel. Denvir, 29, works for the alternative-weekly City Paper. Young and aggressive, he has made a name for himself in the past few years by breaking big stories about politics and education. A lefty, he has also developed a reputation as a staunch critic of the city's mainstream media (including, yes, Philadelphia magazine). It stings to be on the receiving end of a Denvir barb. But every city needs its media watchdogs, and Denvir is a talented one. He's performing an important role.
On Tuesday night, Tigre Hill debuted his Mumia Abu-Jamal documentary The Barrel of a Gun at the Merriam Theatre. Writer-at-large Jason Fagone was there and has a few things to say about it.
So you know where I'm coming from, here are two things I believe:
1. Mumia Abu-Jamal is a murderer. He shot and killed police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.
2. The filmmaker Tigre Hill is a talented, hard-working guy.
I like Tigre. I've had beers with him. He's a Facebook friend. (Although maybe not after this post.) I sent him a fan note after watching his first feature-length documentary, The Shame of a City, which chronicled Philly's 2003 mayoral election and managed to capture the slapstick weirdness of that political moment. So that's why this is review is hard for me to write.