Other Magazines

Down the Drain

The New York Times Magazine profiles an Iraqi intellectual whose goal in life was to topple Saddam.

Today, Other Magazines scrutinizes the New York Times Magazine, Time, and the Economist to find out what’s worth reading—and what’s not.

Must Read
The New York Times Magazine profiles Kanan Makiya, an Iraqi professor who “made the toppling of Saddam Hussein his life’s work.” He campaigned vigorously for the U.S. invasion of Iraq and believed that Hussein’s regime was so corrupt that any possible result of the American mission is preferable. Now, Makiya is adjusting his vision in the face of a disappointing war.—D.S.

Best Line
From the Economist’s balanced profile of Hillary Clinton, describing the gender gap among her supporters: “If George Bush senior reminded women of their first husband, Mrs. Clinton reminds men of their first wife.”—J.M.

Best Statistic
The same Economist piece notes, with some dismay, that “Over 100 million Americans have never known anybody but a Bush or a Clinton in the White House,” suggesting that “American political life is in the hands of a small group of insiders who are organised around semi-royal families.”—J.M.

Buzz Generator
A Time feature explores the Council for National Policy—a mysterious, invitation-only conservative group—and the fireworks that erupted at its recent Salt Lake City summit, where Christian “virtuecrats” threatened to support a third-party candidate if Republicans nominate pro-choice Giuliani.—B.F.

Best Politics Piece
Time looks at why the Justice Department investigated the Democratic former governor of Alabama on corruption charges while ignoring evidence that several state Republicans had also taken money from the same source.—B.F.

Best International Piece
The Economist files a pair of articles on the recent uprisings in Burma. One highlights what Burma’s neighbors are—or, more precisely, are not—doing to put pressure on the Rangoon government to end the bloodshed. The second looks at the poor economy: Although the country is a net exporter of rice, many citizens are malnourished.—J.M.

Best Health Piece
Time’s cover story on “The Changing Face of Breast Cancer” looks beyond U.S. shores to Africa and Asia, where breast cancer, long considered a disease of the white and privileged, is on the rise.—B.F.

Best Science Piece
The Economist reports on a study investigating the biological roots of patience and fairness. It concludes that chimpanzees (our closest animal relatives) are more patient than humans, but that humans have a more developed sense of “fairness.” Scientists suggest that may be one reason why humans have “come out on top.”—J.M.

Best Cocktail-Party Factoid
The Oct. 7 New York Times Magazine reports that David Socha, CEO of a Beverly Hills toy company, has arranged a deal with Wal-Mart to sell his company’s Biblical character dolls—Jesus and Mary, to name a couple, as well as more superhero-esque figures such as Goliath and Samson.—D.S.