Other Magazines

Courtin’ Country

New Republic, Aug. 6

A piece lampoons the Democratic strategy to capture the nation’s rural vote. To win over farmers, Dems like Mark Warner, a Virginia gubernatorial candidate, jettison liberal social issues like gun control and abortion rights (and even indulge in banjo-laden TV ads). But these issues, the author points out, allowed Al Gore to dominate the suburban vote, which comprises almost half of the nation’s electorate. The 3,800-word cover story offers a somber look at the Israeli people. Says one man who lives near the Israeli-Lebanese border, “We Israelis are like a man in a tunnel who gropes toward a distant light. He doesn’t realize it’s actually the headlights of an oncoming train about to crush him.”—B.C.

Economist, July 28 A series of articles presents the stock arguments for legalizing drugs. It’s a stance the magazine has taken up before, but never this thoroughly. One piece offering a revisionist account of the danger of drugs points out that, with the exception of heroin, illegal narcotics are far less deadly than either nicotine or alcohol. Another piece assesses the actual damage done by America’s war on drugs. Then, having established that current policy stinks, the magazine presents its solution: to move slowly but firmly to dismantle the edifice of enforcement and implement government regulation. This may boost the number of addicts, the Economist concedes, but ultimately, each individual ought to be sovereign over his own body.— J.F.

New York Times Magazine, July 29

The cover story looks into OxyContin, a prescription painkiller that is rapidly becoming the recreational drug of choice in rural America. With word of this easily available “hillbilly heroin” spreading (now the secret’s really out), the company that makes the pill is facing a PR disaster, class-action lawsuits, and possible action by federal regulators. A piece recounts how John Tobin, a 23-year-old Fulbright scholar studying in Russia, was pegged as a national security threat by Russian investigators, then convicted on trumped-up charges of marijuana possession and thrown into a penal colony. A piece profiles Jonathan Edwards, the first psychic to have a nationally syndicated TV show. Dubbed the “Oprah of the Other Side,” Edwards evokes tears from his audiences and derision from his naysayers.— J.F.

Atlantic Monthly, July-August 2001 The cover announces the publication debut of a Mark Twain novelette submitted to the mag in 1876, then “just sort of forgotten.” The skeletal narrative previews the darker themes Twain would explore in Huck Finn, published about eight years later, and shows the author’s obsession with innocence. An article looks at Singapore’s efforts to boost the country’s sagging birthrate by turning up the heat in the bedroom. The government has flooded the media with make-out tips, advice on mood music and sex toys, and where to find primo “Get Lucky Spots.” A piece zings the American literati for shunning genre fiction. “Good reads” are rarely anointed capital-L literature by industry rags. So, the Stephen Kings with their brisk story lines yield prestige to the muscular prose of Cormac McCarthy types.— D.N.

U.S. News & World Report, July 23

The cover package asks if boys are the weaker sex and whether men experience menopause. Biological differences make “boys more impulsive, more vulnerable to benign neglect, less efficient classroom learners—in sum, the weaker sex.” On men: “Irritability, depression, and sexual problems have been linked to low testosterone, which could affect half of all men in the United States.” Low testosterone also reduces sexual potency, which could explain the midlife Porsche and divorce.— A.F.

Newsweek, July 23

Newsweek salutes its deceased boss, Katharine Graham, with tributes from Anna Quindlen, Ben Bradlee, and Arthur Schlesinger Jr.  (Click here for U.S. News’ obituary and here for Time’s.) An article describes the challenges facing the federal government’s planned shipment of nuclear fuel via rail from New York to Idaho. Though the train’s departure date hasn’t been set, “the FBI has been asked to ‘screen’ for protests by antinuclear groups” who could halt the shipment.—A.F.

Time, July 23

The cover story gives advice on how to stay out of a shark’s mouth: “[D]on’t swim at dusk or dawn; avoid murky water and steep drop-offs; shed all jewelry.” An article on the issue of racial profiling in Cincinnati notes that when cops” become convinced they can’t do their jobs without being called racists or being falsely accused of using improper force,” arrests decline. In Cincinnati, arrests for violent crimes like murder and arson declined from 502 in June 2000 to 487 in June 2001, despite a 20 percent jump from the previous June in the incidence of those crimes.— A.F.

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The New Yorker, July 30 An article recounts the killing spree last June that left most of the Nepali royal family dead. The shooter, Crown Prince Dipendra, was driven by rage over his parents’ refusal to allow him to marry the woman he loved. A book review of The World of Caffeine explains how everyone’s favorite stimulant helped shape the modern world. Writes the reviewer, “One way to explain the industrial revolution is as the inevitable consequence of a world where people suddenly preferred being jittery to being drunk.” A piece describes how the new science of digital anatomy is proving useful to everyone from medical students to special-effects artists. The most famous computerized corpse is that of Joseph Paul Jernigan, a convicted murderer who was executed in 1993 and then cut into 1,877 slices that were each photographed and digitally reassembled.— J.F.

Weekly Standard, July 30 The cover story alleges that, as HUD secretary, New York gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo misused his office to further his own personal political ambitions. While at HUD, he paid a disproportionate amount of attention to New York and managed to leverage billions of dollars of investment for the state’s economy. But rather than try to hide this ethically questionable politicking, he’s basing his campaign on it. An article says that the Bush administration has “surpassed its predecessor’s display of timidity in the Middle East.” The author laments America’s unresponsiveness to the Cole bombing and calls on the United States to stand tough against Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist network.— J.F.