Other Magazines

The Oddest Men in the World, Siegfried and Roy

Economist, July 17

Not one but two editorials compare Iranian President Mohammed Khatami to Mikhail Gorbachev. Like Gorby, Khatami must muffle his reformist impulses in order to avoid provoking hard-line conservatives. The first piece cautions him against alienating his core supporters, but the other predicts that his regime will survive the current uprising. The students who toppled the shah were both more alienated and better organized than today’s lot. The next Balkan war will take place in Montenegro, predicts the magazine. The tiny republic is itching to secede from Yugoslavia. Western diplomats, chary of further destabilizing the region, are urging Montenegrins to bide their time.

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New Republic, August 2

The cover story complains about the pathologizing of normal personality traits, a tactic used by pharmaceutical companies to drum up business. The latest example: the classification of shyness as “social anxiety disorder.” Drug makers underwrite research into “social phobia” and stoke public hysteria with slogans such as “Imagine Being Allergic to People.” If you, like Donny Osmond, are among the 1-in-8 distressingly diffident Americans, a new drug can treat you. An article condemns the simplistic and snide cultural coverage in the New York Times, which is corrupted by commercialism and the paper’s obsession with reporting news. The Times covers what Prozac might have done for Willy Loman rather than the artistic significance of Death of a Salesman.

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Vanity Fair, August 1999

A profile of eccentric German animal illusionists Siegfried and Roy describes life inside their “Jungle Palace” on the fringes of Las Vegas. It is nearly impossible to convey how breathtakingly weird they are. They live with 55 white tigers, 38 servants, and 16 lions. Roy sleeps with the young tigers. Siegfried has a mural of himself naked, with cheetahs, on his bedroom walls. They greet people by saying, “Sarmoti”–an acronym for “Siegfried and Roy, Masters of the Impossible.” The couple deflect the question of whether they are gay but do claim a friendship with Michael Jackson. Still, they draw 700,000 people a year to their stage show. A profile of Patricia Duff traces her career as a manipulative, self-destructive femme fatale. After she failed at three marriages and at attempts to leverage wealth and connections into a career as a political powerbroker, she wed Revlon CEO Ron Perelman. Now that marriage is kaput, and she has run through 16 law firms during the divorce and custody proceedings, and is now battling Perelman over issues such as whether $36,000 is an adequate annual clothing allowance for her 4-year-old. An article on celebrated death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal condemns his admirers for ignoring the clear evidence of his guilt.

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New York Times Magazine, July 18

The cover story explains how a con man peddled 200 forgeries of modern masters through top auction houses. John Drewe “authenticated” paintings by infiltrating museum archives and inserting documents about artworks’ provenance. This scheme corrupted art history and undermined the reputations of auction houses, whose “experts” sold some obvious fakes. An article describes how Ernest Hemingway began confusing himself with his own heroes. While living in Cuba during World War II, he formed a spy ring and even hunted for German subs in his fishing boat. His writing never recovered after this series of misadventures.

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Time and Newsweek, July 19

Both Time and Newsweek celebrate the U.S. Women’s World Cup win. The Time cover story says that “Soccer Mama” mania was carefully orchestrated by the sport’s steering committee and sponsors such as Nike but that the enormous crowds shocked even organizers. The Newsweek cover story reveals the gender-specific coaching strategy of the U.S. women’s team. Assuming that women internalize tough criticism, the male coach tried positive reinforcement instead. He tacked inspirational quotes to players’ doors, emphasized what each player did right, and provided an “imaging” tape for each player, consisting of her best moves set to her favorite music.

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A Time special report revises the conventional wisdom about which foods are good for the heart. Cholesterol isn’t necessarily unhealthy, and margarine is as bad as butter. Saturated fat is still evil.

Newsweek explores how hate groups are exploiting the Internet to recruit kids. Online games, comic strips, and downloadable music, such as “Go Back to Africa,” entice children. White supremacists are developing their own Webmasters to spread their message on 2,000 sites. Newsweek explains a new musical hybrid: Rock ‘n’ rap, a k a “hick-hop,” in which white performers such as Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock combine hard rock with the violent themes and outlaw imagery of rap.

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U.S. News & World Report, July 19

An analysis suggests that George W. Bush is just dimwitted enough to be president. Bush’s factual errors on the campaign trail are Reaganesque, underscoring that he is not a detail-oriented drone like Al Gore. The cover story ranks America’s best hospitals. The top three are: Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, and Massachusetts General. An article agrees that President Clinton’s poverty tour brought necessary attention to the genuine suffering of Appalachia but argues that his package of investment incentives is not an economically efficient way to help the needy.

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The New Yorker, July 19

A piece calls Hillary Clinton’s campaign kickoff “cunning” and “brilliantly staged.” The cover cartoon, however, depicts her as a tourist ambling through Central Park, about to be mugged by a truncheon-wielding Rudolph Giuliani. An article explains how Harvard Business School has remade itself from corporate prep school into entrepreneurial boot camp. New offerings include a course titled “Women Building Business” and field trips to Silicon Valley startups. A profile of Andrew Cuomo argues that he has brought his father Mario’s brand of liberal zeal and moral grandeur to his post as secretary of housing and urban development.

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National Review, July 26

The cover story declares that America is in the midst of a “Gay Moment.” Homosexuals are demanding cultural attention, and the debate over homosexuality has shifted from morality to “is he or isn’t he?” Pro- and anti-gay polemicists debate the sexual proclivities of Jar Jar Binks and Abe Lincoln. (To read Slate’s authoritative evaluation of Tinky Winky’s sexual orientation, click here.) A piece asks where George W. Bush stands on affirmative action. The governor says he wants to eliminate racial preference but to guarantee “affirmative access.” His record is equally wishy-washy. Even so, his Delphic statement of principles might hoodwink conservatives and moderates.

Weekly Standard, July 19

The cover story concludes that Hillary Clinton is a deft campaigner. Her “listening tour” effectively reinforces the perception that she was dragooned into running for the Senate and makes it easier for her to deflect uncomfortable scandal-related questions. The editorial defends Vice President Gore. AIDS activists say the veep is doing the bidding of the pharmaceutical industry by preventing South Africans from obtaining cheap AIDS drugs. But evisceration of patent protections could slow the development of the drugs poor countries need.

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