Other Magazines

Hermit in Chief

Vanity Fair explains how Bush, like many second-term presidents, became increasingly isolated.

Today, Other Magazines combs through The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Portfolio, the Weekly Standard, New York, and Newsweek to find out what pieces are worth your time.

Vanity Fair explores the isolation of second-term presidents and President Bush’s special penchant for insularity. The piece says that in this last stretch of his presidency, “Bush is waiting for the Rapture, confident that he will be saved, validated, the unpleasant earthly realities of the moment be damned.”—M.S.

Buzz Generator
A feature in the Oct. 1 issue of New York attacks the conventional wisdom about exercise and weight loss. The piece argues that exercise makes us eat more, offsetting calories burned at the gym. But the article glosses over the other potential health benefits of working out.—D.S.

Don’t Bother
Portfolio’s lackluster and dated cover story examines the flap over Chiquita’s payments to a Colombian guerilla group that the U.S. classifies as a terrorist organization. The piece doesn’t offer much new, mainly because it fails to penetrate the Chiquita executives’ behind-closed-doors meetings.—C.M.

Best Get
In New York, former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto gives political advice to Hillary Clinton.—D.S.

Best Profile
A piece in Portfolio illuminates the shadowy world of Marc Toberoff, whose relentless lawsuits against movie studios for copyright violations has made him “the most hated man in Hollywood.” The magazine avoids painting Toberoff as an opportunistic jerk and instead imbues him with charm.—C.M.

Best International Story
Newsweek highlights Sudanese businessman Mo Ibrahim’s plan to promote good governance in Sub-Saharan Africa: cash. The entrepreneur plans to offer a $5 million prize to democratically elected presidents who step down after their terms “with no dark clouds over their tenure.” Skeptics ask: Will it work?—J.M.

Notable Debut
In his first article as The New Yorker’s book critic, James Wood writes worshipfully about Robert Alter’s new edition of The Book of Psalms, calling the translation “radical” and the translator “musically and poetically sensitive.”—E.G.

Best Technology Story
The Weekly Standard visits the third annual Second Life Community Convention in Chicago. The piece dismisses claims that Second Life is a cutting-edge world of tomorrow—not because the virtual world is a fad, but because its users are neither as young nor as diverse as its handlers would have you think.—B.F.

Best “Talk of the Town” Item
The New Yorker examines the musical expertise of Janet Reno, who discusses her karaoke experiences, the rap 2 Live Crew wrote for her, and “Songs of America,” the folk collection she helped produce.—E.G.

Most Amusing Feature
Vanity Fair asks if you know your “Asshole Footprint.” Offending behaviors include working in an office with a Foosball or Ping-Pong table and being incapable of “passing even the smallest blip of solitary time without theatrically scrolling or tapping on your BlackBerry, Treo, or iPhone.”—M.S.