New Republic, April 23
TNR flexes its muscles on China. … The editorial makes the case for a renewed anti-Communist movement, calls Bush’s China policy “a crisis,” and reminds readers that the business of America is “not business. It is democracy.”… A piece along the same lines describes the failures of the administration’s foreign policy team, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney, and especially Secretary of State Colin Powell. Under their tutelage, Bush “kowtowed in ways that would make Clinton blush.”… Another article explains in excruciating detail how the American Right (specifically the Heritage Foundation, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, and her husband, Sen. Mitch McConnell), once as hawkish on China as TNR is now, came to pander to it. The corporate types who constitute the core of the conservative movement so lusted after the Chinese market that they abandoned their principled stand against Communist repression.—J.D.
Economist, April 14 Here comes your 19th human cloning cover. … The editorial argues that every country should create a government agency to oversee all cloning-related activities and that human cloning should be outlawed until proven safe. In general, cloning is OK when it acts as a medical treatment (say, for infertile couples) but not when used as a weapon of “parental despotism” (making your kid tall for basketball, for instance). … A companion piece predicts that the United States will engage in wildest and woolliest debate of all about genetic engineering. It has the most advanced biotech sector, the ideological boundaries of the debate were set in the abortion wars, and, most important, American politicians are utterly unprepared to deal with the issue in an organized way. They don’t know what’s about to hit them. … An article checks in on the countries languishing in the second division of the space race. China and India crave world recognition of their technological capabilities, Europe wants to make money, and Japan (six failed missions in as many years) has commercial and military ambitions. Now even Brazil and Malaysia are trying to get in on the space act.—J.D.
New York Times Magazine, April 15 The cover story mourns the fall of Daryl Strawberry, who was supposed to be the greatest hitter since Ted Williams. He lacked the self-focus that makes great athletes push themselves; he enjoyed playing the game but refused to work very hard at it. And he couldn’t say no to the people around him—his mother, his wife, his fans, and other players—who all took his money and led him to drinking and drugs. Now he sits in rehab, suffering from cancer, waiting for a court date on a parole violation, and trying to understand how he ruined his great promise. … A piece charts India’s inexorable march toward modernity. Twenty-five years ago, the town of Aurangabad had 200,000 Muslim people and no televisions. Now it has a million people, most of them Hindu, and is India’s leading manufacturer of whiskey and condoms. Everyone has a television, and women go to college. Some of the older generation look back on the past nostalgically, but the young want to live like Westerners.—J.D.
Texas Monthly, April 2001 The cover story showers love all over first lady Laura Bush. She’s just a regular gal who barefoots it around the house, but she’s also the secret of her husband’s success. She made him quit drinking, and when his campaign faltered, she started traveling with him and got him back on track. She’s devoted to her husband’s career, but, surprise, she’d be happier back home in Texas digging in the garden. … A profile of Houston hip-hop icon DJ Screw describes how he single-handedly created a musical genre. He started his career like any other DJ, mixing other people’s music and raps, but when he slowed the music down (like playing a 45 record at 33 rpm), he blew the lid off Texas and made millions selling tapes out of his house. A culture coalesced around the slowed-down music (which came to be known as “screwing it”) and the wholesale and deadly use of codeine cough syrup. Screw overdosed at the end of last year, at the age of 29.—J.D.
Brill’s Content, May 2001 A piece describes how anti-euro sentiment is undermining the British press. A few newspapers hate the Europeanization of England so much that they run misleading stories, such as one about the “metric martyr,” a storeowner who was fined for selling products in pounds instead of kilos, as the EU demands. But the truth is, England went metric back in 1965. Less alarmist media outlets often fail to cover the EU adequately because the subject is deadeningly dull. The story has a priceless photograph of disaffected British at a “Keep the Pound” rally. … A piece pokes fun at the anti-porn movement in Utah. Without much regard for the First Amendment, a bunch of Mormon activists have started agitating against obscene magazines—not Hustler and Playboy, which are darn hard to find in Utah, but Redbook and Cosmo. Now the secretary of state’s office has an obscenity and pornography complaints ombudsman. (Click here to read why Brill’s Content and Inside.com, which recently merged, won’t be able to get along.)—J.D.
Rosie, May 2001
The talk-show host/comedienne debuts her revamp of McCall’s under her moniker. The cover story tells how The Nanny’s Fran Drescher (she calls herself “The Frannie”) won a battle with uterine cancer. Her practical advice to women with a similar diagnosis: “Don’t be passive.”… A piece describes a town where foster kids live in a close community with not only their prospective adopters but also with other foster kids and a generous dose of elderly neighbors. A kind of co-housing, Hope Meadows provides a lively, stable environment that seems to aid foster and adoptive families. … Two dramatically different views on guns in America are examined: The father of a Columbine victim surprises himself by becoming a gun-control activist; and a Texas legislator crusades for the right to bear arms after losing her mother and father in a mass shooting. “A gun is not a guarantee,” she says. “It simply changes the odds.”—S.G.
Time and U.S. News & World Report, April 16 Spanning the week of Passover and Easter, both mags sport covers depicting Jesus Christ. Time’s portrait of daily life in B.C. Jerusalem notes religious carnage is no surprise for a city ruled at various points in history by Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Likening Jerusalem to company towns such as Washington, D.C., and Redmond, Wash., the city’s business was, for centuries, religion (now it’s tourism, explains the mag). … U.S. News’history lesson takes a different tack, tracing the infighting and persecution that characterized early Christianity. Bonus: a glossary of heresies. (Newsweek also jumps on the Easter bandwagon with a feature on the surge of Christianity in Third World nations.)
Time features a piece on a promising new leukemia treatment. Early reports say Glivec kills leukemia cells (and only leukemia cells)—and with few side effects compared to standard treatments. A U.S. News article alleges that about a quarter of HIV-positive Russians are women between ages 18 and 22, when most Russian women bear their first child. If the current trend continues, one out of four Russian newborns will be abandoned, crowding orphanages with “over 12,000 tiny untouchables.”—A.F.
Newsweek, April 16 Though all three mags delve into the China-U.S. standoff (Time dubs it “Bush’s Big Test“; U.S. News calls it “The China Conundrum“), Newsweek is the only mag to give it a cover package, urging Americans to worry more about Beijing’s weaknesses than its strength. In addition to its transformation from an agrarian to an industrial economy, China is grappling with the erosion of its Marxist ideology: “The regime’s vulnerability has made it encourage, or at least embrace ugly, anti-American forces it may not be able to control.”… A tax-time piece says for every American seeking loopholes intended for small businesses, many more self-employed taxpayers miss deductions they could have taken.—A.F.
The New Yorker, April 16 A very New York-centric New Yorker. … A six-page article documents the battle to keep the Statue of Liberty crown above El Teddy’s restaurant in TriBeCa. … An eight-pager details how the fashion establishment fell in love with and just as quickly discarded Majorcan designer Miguel Adrover. … A profile (15 pages) of playwright August Wilson argues that he has paved the way for a new generation of black dramatists. It also says that “In the age of the sound bite, Wilson is the most endangered of rare birds—a storyteller.”… A piece about England’s leading Holocaust denier David Irving claims he is animated not by hatred of Jews (though he certainly is anti-Semitic) but by a lifelong animosity toward the British establishment. Raised just below the leisure class, he harbors resentment against his social betters (like Churchill) who waged war against the efficient, un-gentrified Germans.—J.D.
The Nation, April 23 The cover story calls political pundits the scourge of progressivism. They rely on conventional wisdom because they don’t want to sound stupid and, as a consequence, normalize moderate politics and cast radicalism as ridiculous fantasy. But the only “actual, ineluctable reality” is “that no one knows what the future holds,” so the left should “stride confidently into the future.”… A piece blasts the diamond industry for willfully refusing to crack down on conflict diamonds (diamonds smuggled out of African countries to finance war). Lazare Kaplan International and De Beers pretended to push strong legislation in Congress when it looked like their profits might suffer from bad publicity, but as soon as the spotlight turned away, they backed out and sponsored their own weak legislation, with help from the Republican leadership.—J.D.
Weekly Standard, April 16 and 23 The cover story envisions the worst-case scenario for the economy: a full-scale depression. Depressions come on the heels of equity-market bubble bursts (like the one the United States just had that siphoned off $4.5 trillion in a year). The Federal Reserve can’t move fast enough to head off the bad times (it’s been cutting interest rates like mad), but since the Fed tries and fails, the public loses confidence in monetary policy. But it doesn’t have to be that bad. Guess what the Standard’s solution is? Tax cuts. Big ones. … An article chides the Bush administration for using quotas to fill Cabinet posts. The president wants only 50 percent white men and at least 30 percent women, and though spokespeople call it diversity instead of quotas, the result is the same: unqualified people on the job.—J.D.