Other Magazines

Election Malfunction

The New York Times Magazine on the possible computerized-voting snafus in 2008.

Today, Other Magazines reads through the Economist, the New York Times Magazine, Time, Good, and Harper’s to find out what’s worth your time—and what’s not.

Must Read The New York Times Magazine fronts a truly frightening article on computerized-voting machines. Remember the whole hanging-chad debacle? That’ll feel quaint in comparison to the server malfunctions and printer jams that may plague the 2008 election.— J.L.

Best Campaign Piece
The Economist compares the presidential campaign strategies of New York City mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, neither of whom had a chance in Iowa. If Giuliani’s risky campaign fizzles, Bloomberg may be the beneficiary.—D.S.

Best Essay
In his introduction to a Time photo essay on campaigning in Iowa, Mark Halperin salutes Iowa for thoroughly vetting the presidential candidates so the rest of us don’t have to. Unfortunately, the photos of Iowa that accompany Halperin’s essay remind us that a state covered in snow and crawling with grinning presidential hopefuls is not very photogenic.—C.W.

Best Interview
Check out the New York TimesMagazine Q&A with David Frum, the conservative author who helped coin the phrase “axis of evil.” Frum thinks the Republicans’ time in the limelight may be over, but he says a comeback’s not impossible.—J.L.

Unlikeliest Endorsement
Good  interviews Garry Kasparov, the former chessmaster and current Russian opposition leader, and gets him to make a tentative presidential endorsement. When asked who impressed him the most in regards to American policy toward Russia, he says, “The only one to articulate it strongly is Senator McCain.”—C.M.

Best International Piece
Time’s cover story on the future of Pakistan is a comprehensive primer for the country’s prospects for stability in the post-Benazir Bhutto era. The package includes a brief genealogy of the Bhutto clan and a short sidebar on the likelihood of the risks of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal falling into the hands of terrorists if the government collapses.—C.W.

Best Obit
An obituary of Benazir Bhutto in the Economist shares some colorful details about the fallen Pakistani leader: She had psychedelic posters on the wall of her Oxford dormitory, was a fan of “slushy” novels, and loved Victoria’s Secret.—D.S.

Best Religion Piece
Harper’s fascinating cover story on Jerusalem examines the “ecology of monotheism”—the cultural and physical landscape of the “[b]arren [b]irthplace of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.”—J.R.

Best Line
In an article on Joel Osteen in Good, Thomas Golianopoulos sums up the sometimes-plastic pastor succinctly: “Basically, he looks like a less-smarmy Ken doll.”—C.M.

Best Take Down
In Virginia Heffernan’s column for the New York Times Magazine, the Medium, she pillories Microsoft Word, which makes writers feel like they’re “taking an essay test.” Heffernan suggests an alternative word-processing program called Scrivener, which offers a “full screen” writing experience and fewer annoying icons.—J.L.

Best TV Piece
Time pays tribute to the first four seasons of HBO’s The Wire, beginning with an apology for having taken so long to sing its praises. The piece is reasonably devoid of spoilers, but grapples enough with the plot to get prospective readers excited about the show.—C.W.

Best Arts Piece
Good delivers a great primer  on “mumblecore”—a genre of movies the writer, Jaime Wolf, says are “lo-fi, micro-budget American indie films about 20-somethings”—for the uninitiated.—C.M. *

Best Food Article
Harper’s rejects the idea that deadly food allergies are increasingly common in children. Stories of students dying from PBJ kisses? Exaggerated. Kids dropping like flies from brown-bagged lunches? Fabricated by food allergy activists and the pharmaceutical industry that profits from them.—J.R.

Best Drink Piece
An article in the Economist charts the rise of British binge drinking and argues that Britain’s loosening of laws to allow clubs to stay open later hasn’t been a contributing factor. “Violence fuelled by alcohol has remained broadly stable, with slightly fewer incidents around 11pm, when tanked-up hordes used to pour out onto the streets, and slightly more in the wee hours.”—D.S.

Correction, Jan. 7, 2008: This article originally referred to Jaime Wolf of Good magazine as she instead of he. (Return  to the corrected sentence.)