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Photography by Carlos Ruiz

Editor's Note Jan/Feb 2013

by Cristina Cuomo | Manhattan magazine | January 8, 2013

It happened a month ago, but the memory is still fresh.

The Newtown massacre was among the worst—and, certainly, most horrifying—tragedies in our country’s history. In its aftermath, we feel a desperation to respect the dead, to show how much they mattered, and still matter, beyond the heartbreaking descriptions of their death.

There will almost certainly be few catastrophes in our lives that will force us to look harder at the life-and-death issues we can’t help knowing are involved: the availability of guns, the way we care for our mentally ill, and, most important to parents like me, the culture we create for our kids—a culture that’s so often violent; a violence that’s so often glorified. Yet in the aftermath of the Newtown carnage, there were more weapons sold in this country than in any time in recent history.

There are no easy answers.

Now is the chance to address the central questions that typically get lost in political infighting. At this moment, Americans of every shade and stripe are focused on how to change our world, how to make sure something like this never happens again. And that’s rare in our fragmented culture. This is an important moment. It’s a time for all of us—thinkers, readers, influencers—to reconsider our commitment to one another, to recognize our responsibility to our communities. Change is only possible together. Certainly the only way forward is in unison.

The pressure is on us, and on those we entrust to guide us, to keep the conversation going. After such a loss, we must do better.

In the meantime, we hope this issue gives you a brief escape from our world’s harsh realities. In that spirit, we’ve provided a black book of “Best of” excesses and indulgences, from the top plastic surgeons to the most delicious French macarons (let’s hope one doesn’t cancel out the effects of the other). Funny fashionista Robert Verdi also satirizes Fashion Week, and comedian Seth Herzog is back with some out-of-this-world predictions for the new year—now that there is a new year.

Yes, the Mayans were wrong, and we’re still here. Now let’s make the most of it.

Read on.

Submissions to Fictionist can be made to me at ccuomo@modernluxury.com.