New York Times Magazine, Dec. 1 The design issue: A piece on growth of the market for vintage and “new vintage” (i.e., artificially distressed) jeans describes a man who’s made a fortune in the finishing business by counterfeiting antique jeans. Like so many fashion trends, the craze for vintage jeans started in Japan. … A piece on the remarkable success of Vertu, maker of the first luxury cell phone ($19,450 for the platinum), features delicious sound bites from the company president (“My wife will go out for dinner in the evening and put on an expensive dress, expensive jewelry, an expensive watch and pick up a cheap plastic phone to put in her expensive handbag”— quelle horreur!). … A piece explains how IKEA took advantage of a generation of Americans who, not wanting to feel bogged down by “stuff,” were eager for a commitment-free approach to furniture.—K.T.
U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 2
The cover story examines the Bush administration’s postwar plans for Iraq. A previously secret federal task force called the Executive Steering Group envisions a three-phase scenario following Saddam Hussein’s removal, beginning with military rule and ending with the election of a new Iraqi government. … An article looks at the growing number of private DNA banks nationwide and assesses the impact on consumer privacy. Known as biorepositories, the banks are subject to virtually no regulation and could be collecting your genetic data without your knowledge. … A piece looks at the return of The Joy of Sex, the 1972 erotic how-to classic. An updated 30th-anniversary edition of the book is set to hit stores soon, but will it offer any new insights to today’s sexed-up generation?— H.B.
Newsweek, Dec. 2
The cover story profiles the rise of alternative medicine. Nearly half of all U.S. adults now turn to alternative treatments for some of their care, spending about $30 billion a year in the process. The shift hasn’t gone unnoticed by conventional doctors, who now study herbs and tai chi as rigorously as they would a new antibiotic. … An article looks at the Pentagon’s controversial database that sifts through the personal records of millions of people in search of patterns that could indicate terrorist plots. Pretty soon, the government could know everything about you—from what you buy, to whom you call, to where you travel.— H.B.
Time, Dec. 2
The cover story previews the upcoming second installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, noting that “Good Lord! The Two Towers is even better than the first movie.” A sidebar says Americans more than ever crave fantasy and that “Tolkien gives us the war we wish we were fighting—a struggle with a foe whose face we can see.”… A piece says the Bush administration has been preparing for war with Iraq by quietly building up the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Emergency petroleum stockpiles are now up to their highest level in history. … An article gives school lunch programs nationwide a failing grade. Large scale outbreaks of food poisoning from school meals are on the rise, while cafeteria food is under fire for its links to childhood obesity.— H.B.
The New Yorker, Dec. 2 A piece by Joe Klein profiles Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who will soon announce a bid for the White House. Kerry’s “aristocratic reserve, his utter inability to pose as a populist” is not a quality recently associated with successful presidential candidates. But his mastery of foreign affairs and a willingness to criticize the Bush administration on the subject sets him apart. … A “Talk of the Town”piece sums up reaction to pharmaceutical heiress Ruth Lilly’s $100 million gift last week to the bimonthly magazine Poetry. To poets, the sum is otherworldly. To others, “it’s like leaving a hundred million dollars to your cat.”… A piece profiles Australian director Baz Luhrmann, whose theatrical version of La Bohème debuts on Broadway next month. Luhrmann considers himself to be an “entrepreneur of astonishment” whose job is to improve the world around him.— H.B.
Atlantic, December 2002
The cover story looks at newly uncovered medical records revealing the extent of John F. Kennedy’s sicknesses. He was constantly medicated and frequently in pain. The strength of his perseverance and the extent of his deception shed new light on his presidency. … A long feature chronicles chess champ Bobby Fischer’s sad descent into paranoia. When he came out of retirement for a 1992 rematch against Boris Spassky in U.N.-sanctioned Yugoslavia, the United States issued a warrant for his arrest. Now he spouts anti-American and anti-Jewish rhetoric on foreign radio stations. … A Yale undergraduate recounts her unsettling attempt to become an egg donor for a wealthy couple. For the eggs of someone with “1500 SAT, great looks, good family health history, Jewish heritage and athletic,” the couple was offering $25,000. The author is rejected when the surrogate mother decides her appearance is just “ho-hum.”— J.F.
Weekly Standard, Dec. 2
An article flogs the magazine’s favorite targets, the New York Times and liberal universities, over a recent Times article about college diversity training. At Dartmouth, incoming freshmen are taught how to confront the various “isms.” “If college administrators really wanted to help students transcend ‘difference,’ ” writes the author, “they would stop yapping about it all the time.”… Fred Barnes’review of Bob Woodward’s Bush at War notes a “glaring omission.” The book fails to account for the war’s turning point: When the Bush administration decided to stop appeasing Northern Alliance rivals and began carpet-bombing the Taliban, we began winning. … An article argues that Democrat Janet Napolitano’s gubernatorial victory in majority Republican Arizona shows how dangerous campaign-finance reform can be for the GOP. Under Arizona’s new Clean Election Act, Napolitano’s campaign was subsidized with state funds; her GOP opponent chose not to take taxpayer money and suffered as a result.— J.F.
Legal Affairs, November-December 2002
The cover story describes an attempt by Jeremy Rifkin to patent a half-chimp, half-man “humanzee.” The biotechnology critic hopes his test case will eventually force the Supreme Court to issue a clear declaration on what kinds of life forms can be legally patented. … Slate“Explainer” Brendan I. Koerner questions the wisdom of admitting deathbed statements as courtroom evidence. Last words have always been an exception to the hearsay rule on the grounds that no one would ever lie with their last breath. But is that really true? Even if they’re not willfully giving false information, dying people aren’t always compos mentis. … An article defends the right of judges to mouth off publicly, so long as their extracurricular commentary doesn’t give them a personal stake in court proceedings.— J.F.