The New Yorker, Feb. 25 Ryan Lizza reports from the Straight Talk Express, focusing on John McCain’s singular, if not wholly realized, opportunity to reinvent the Republican Party. The senator “attempts to portray himself as a doctrinaire conservative just when intellectual class of the movement [that] seems eager for something new.” Anecdotes about the candidate’s jocular relationship with the press—he likes to greet them with a “Hello, jerks”—make the piece highly readable. … A history of the U.S. military’s use of “the water cure” during the Philippine-American war at the turn of the 20th century delivers a look at the nation’s early flirtation with water-boarding. Atrocities against Filipinos were greeted with limited debate that “lurched from intolerance for torture to attempts to rationalize it and outrage at the antiwar activists who made it a public issue.”
Weekly Standard, Feb. 25 The cover story traces recently assassinated Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyah’s connections to al-Qaida and Osama Bin Laden, an association that, the writer claims, “virtually all” mainstream media coverage ignores. The piece, beating the war drums in Iran’s direction, says that Mughniyah’s relationship with Bin Laden proves that al-Qaida’s Sunnis and Hezbollah’s Shiites could collaborate on terror plots and that Iran-backed Hezbollah may have been involved in 9/11. … An article seizes John McCain’s January statement that he would rely on “people like Jack Kemp, Phil Gramm, Warren Rudman, Pete Peterson” to criticize the candidate’s lack of knowledge about economic issues—suggesting that McCain adjusts his economic policy to attack whomever he needs to settle a score with. Case in point: He voted against Bush’s tax cuts after his bitter primary battle with him in 1999.
New York, Feb. 25
The cover of the spring fashion issue is photographer Bert Stern’s tired re-creation of his “classic” spread of Marilyn Monroe, with—wait for it—a nude Lindsay Lohan, “another actress whose prodigious fame is not quite commensurate with her professional achievements.”… A profile of French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld notes that her magazine is “the polar opposite of most American fashion magazines. … It is not inclusive: There is no advice on how to dress if you’re shaped like a pear or about to turn 50.”… In a piece on how the media treat Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama differently, a Democratic operative complains, “Obama has been able to get away with a stunning amount of hypocrisy that would get called on her. … They’ve run the nastiest, most deceptive pieces of paid media.”
Newsweek, Feb. 25 An article returns to a perennial media favorite: the sex life of college students. This time, however, it’s not to complain about rampant promiscuity. Surveys say college students are having less sex than before, even as sex newspaper columns, student erotica magazines, and sex blogs permeate campus culture. … A piece investigates the “estrangement” between presidents and journalists. The article observes that the Clintons’ marked resentment of the media, stemming from their time in the White House, creates a difference in Hillary’s treatment of and in the press, which separates her from other presidential front-runners John McCain and Barack Obama, echoing New York’s piece on the media’s unequal approach to the two Democratic candidates. … The cover story, an otherwise-dull profile of Michelle Obama, has the first lady hopeful noting, “Somehow I’ve been caricatured as this emasculating wife. … It’s just sort of, like, do you think anyone could emasculate Barack Obama?”
Texas Monthly, February 2008 * A feature on the preponderance of 3D action movies blames the trend on the emergence of “fanboys” as “arbiters of twenty-first-century film culture,” and sources the trend to the unlikely origin of Austin, Texas, home of Sin City filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino screening festivals “where the seeds of Geek Nation were first sown.”… A piece investigates a scatological solution in play for Texas’s water-shortage woes—reusing toilet water—and informs Houstonians, that during the summer, they are “literally drinking Dallas’s poopwater.”
Correction, Feb. 20, 2008: Due to an editing error, this article originally gave the wrong issue date for Texas Monthly. The noted articles are from the February 2008 issue, not the March 2008 issue. (Return to the corrected sentence.)