Other Magazines

The Pointless Protests

The Economist on why Pakistan won’t be democratizing any time soon.

Today, Other Magazines reads through the Economist, Time, the New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones, Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian, the New Scientist, and Paste to find out what’s worth your time—and what’s not.


Must Rea d The Economist runs a bleak dispatch from Pakistan assessing the possible outcomes to its constitutional crisis, concluding that Musharraf isn’t likely to leave anytime soon. The writer discovers that Western fear of a pro-Islamist government is limiting foreign pressure, while the poor population’s unwillingness to protest dampens the opportunity for change.—J.M.

Worst Cover Story
Sports Illustrated’s piece on the New England Patriots’ linebacker corps promises to give an insider’s view on the camaraderie and dynamics of the group, but fails to deliver much beyond player nicknames.—J.M.

Best Political Commentary
In Time, Rich Lowry moves into the “world of Hillary hatred,” noting that “it’s a paradox of this election season that the most conservative candidate in the democratic presidential field is the one most hate by conservatives.”—M.S.


Best Foreign Reporting
The Economist looks at an unlikely threat to the Chinese government’s stability: unemployed veterans. Many veterans are becoming frustrated at the lack of economic opportunities in rural areas and have formed a surprisingly coordinated movement.—J.M.

Best Iraq Piece
The anti-war Mother Jones has some tough questions to ask its activists, such as, “Is there any contradiction between supporting U.S. military intervention to stop the Rwandan genocide and opposing U.S. military intervention to prevent ethnic cleansing in Iraq?”—G.H.


Best Feature
In the New York Times Magazine’s film issue, A.O. Scott writes about the history of the Western and argues that it “has not so much died as fragmented: the solitary man of action remains a staple of … action movies; the romance of the past is projected back onto the 20th century rather than the one before.”—J.L.


Best Entertainment Piece
Paste goes backstage with four bands at the Bonnaroo music festival to learn the secrets of putting together a “kickass” set list and how to spice it up with (sort-of) spontaneous moments.—D.S.

Best Technology Article
Painter Jackson Pollock always claimed he could control where his drops of paint landed, and mathematical analysis once supported this claim, revealing fractal patterns in his pictures. This technique, the New Scientist reports, has now been called into question: Researchers commissioned Pollock imitations, applied the fractal formula, and found the fakes were indistinguishable from the genuine articles.—E.G.

Best Art Piece
Golden panels from the gilded bronze doors of Florence’s Baptistery of San Giovanni, crafted by Renaissance master Lorenzo Ghiberti and considered one of the period’s great works, are touring the United States for the first time. Smithsonian explains why we should care.—B.F.


Best Health Piece
According to the New Scientist, stem cell injections may be able to restore memories lost due to strokes and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Experiments performed on mice suggest that the new cells are able to reverse cognitive damage after a period of about three months, the time it takes the transplanted cells to mature and form connections within the brain.—E.G.

Best Sports Piece
Sports Illustrated gives a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to rebuild a failing hockey franchise into a successful business (if not a great team) by talking to the St. Louis Blues management, coaches, and players.—J.M.

Creepiest Piece
A Smithsonian feature nervously wades through the “toxic muck” of the Ganges River, now a putrid dumping ground for human corpses and raw sewage, and looks at stalled efforts to clean it up.—B.F.

Best Humor Piece
The November issue of Paste imagines what using an “iPhone shuffle” might be like: “I have no idea who’s calling me, much less who I’m calling.”—D.S.

Best Cocktail-Party Factoid
The Economist visits Dollywood—music superstar Dolly Parton’s Americana theme park—and learns that former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein used an Arabic version of her hit song “I Will Always Love You” in his successful re-election campaign in 2002.—J.M.