Questions, comments, concerns: The VF Beto O’Rourke cover story

March 15, 2019
Beto O'Rourke. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: Art is a fickle thing. Sometimes, as members of an audience, we are at a loss for coherent analysis in the form of sentences and paragraphs; what we have is something else—a feeling, a word, a stream of consciousness poem. When Alexandria Neason, CJR’s staff writer, read Joe Hagan’s profile of Beto O’Rourke in the April 2019 Vanity Fair in anticipation of his presidential run, her response couldn’t be smashed into a “take.” Presented here is that response, raw aside from a few grammatical fixes.


sons of el paso
like a particular kind of Texas liberal man


I get the feeling that if Beto didn’t have political ambitions he would absolutely live in Park Slope
he’s only in Texas cause he wants power
he’s like, run the country? sure I could do that. email me the details
why is he running
this is so dumb


“Behind the door, in the O’Rourke living room, a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf contains a section for rock memoirs (Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, a favorite) and a stack of LPs (the Clash, Nina Simone) but also a sizable collection of presidential biographies, including Robert Caro’s work on Lyndon B. Johnson. Arranged in historical order, the biographies suggest there’s been some reflection on the gravity of the presidency. But there’s also some political poetry to it, a sense that O’Rourke might be destined for this shelf.”
lmfao this is so corny
ok this whole story is bs


ah yes
I have found the problem
“The government at all levels is overly represented by white men,” he says. “That’s part of the problem, and I’m a white man. So if I were to run—”


Almost no one thought there was a path in Texas, and I just knew it. I just felt it.


It’s interesting that this story (or rather, Beto) tries to brand him as like some dusty punk kid from el paso, the people’s choice
when really his father was a politician
his grandfather was in the Kennedy admin
like, he WAS born for this. not in some cosmic way but in the boring legacy way
“Columbia University—a school he had never heard of”
this is just plainly a lie lmao


“I do believe that could put a spark into somebody,” Rhodes says. “You’re a backbench House member, waiting your turn for questions at hearings, and suddenly you’re looking at a hundred thousand people in Vietnam—you’re like, Huh, maybe there’s a more impactful thing for me to do.”
he became power hungry
and is a raging narcissist


As if to rebut the inevitable accusations that he’s a socialist, he proclaims himself a proud capitalist—
imagine thinking this is something to be proud of
he is so boring
like, 5k words trying to convince everyone he’s both different and the same


this is exhausting
the first graf that mentions any specifics about his policy positions is wayyyyy at bottom
except the graf where he talks about all the times he voted republican
or voted with republicans


im sorry
this punk rock bullshit
“Positions on issues matter, of course, but they aren’t everything.”
im sorry




“He acknowledges that what has made Trump successful is also what has made him successful—an outsider who “bent the media to his campaign,” as he puts it.”
this should have killed the story as soon as he said this.


well I now want to pour bleach into my eyes and await the great quiet.

ICYMI: The man standing between NYT and a hostile world

Alexandria Neason was CJR’s staff writer and Senior Delacorte Fellow. Recently, she became an editor and producer at WNYC’s Radiolab.