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Watch Out, Michael Moore

The Weekly Standard on Hollywood’s increasingly vocal conservatives.

Weekly Standard, Aug. 11 The cover story observes the “growing class of Hollywood conservatives” who are launching a “frontal attack on the excesses of the American left. …” A group of Tinseltown righties, including David Zucker, are reigniting “hope that conservatives will have a battalion in this exceedingly influential battleground of the broader culture war.” An article parses Obama’s Hyde Park Herald op-eds to examine the period referred to as the senator’s “lost years”— between his first state Senate run and his first U.S. Senate campaign. Written between 1996 and 2004, the columns show “a Barack Obama sharply at variance with the image of the post-racial, post-ideological, bipartisan, culture-war-shunning politician … purveyed by [his] campaign.” In fact, they portray a “politician … [who is] profoundly race-conscious, exceedingly liberal, free-spending even in the face of looming state budget deficits, and partisan.” A piece derides the “tiresome feminist complaining” of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recently published memoir.

New York, Aug. 11
The cover story investigates “the noticeable aesthetic shift … dovetailing with quantum leaps in plastic surgery and dermatology.” Dubbed the “New New Face,” it represents the desire of women to avoid the “gaunt face,” an unwanted side effect of the “unholy marriage of extreme fitness and calorie restriction” meant to keep the body youthful. Women want to achieve the “round-and-soft-and-also-somehow-perfectly-defined” look of the teenage girl, and doctors have new techniques to make it happen. An article uncovers the story of a Syrian girl living in New York who, after 9/11, was incarcerated for nearly three months in a New Jersey detainment facility with her family, where the “corrections officers … were ignorant and abusive.” After she was finally released, the college student had to explain where she had been to her dean, “who asked if she could provide some documentation to prove what she’d just told him.” A piece on memoirist/journalist David Carr reveals he “has always approached truth-telling as an extreme sport.”

Portfolio, August 2008 A piece profiles “one of the biggest beneficiaries of the slumping economy”: Joel Osteen, “master marketer and … damn good chief executive.” A cornerstone of the mega-preacher’s “gentler” Gospel holds that “God wants everybody to be rich.” He also “defers to God” on issues on which his brethren take more hard-nosed stances: He “recus[es] himself from condemning gays … or women who have had abortions” and takes a moderate view on intelligent design. An article looks at the dealings of concierge Sead Dizdarevic, who has built an empire out of booking corporate Olympic travel packages. Though the “smooth-talking hospitality pitchman … first burst upon the Olympic scene in 1983,” the Beijing Games may prove to “dwarf anything [he] has done before.” His company has “sold more than 70,000 packages for Beijing … [and] Dizdarevic has plunked down roughly $130 million on this year’s Summer Games”—but he projects revenue of nearly $200 million.

The New Yorker, Aug. 11-18 A piece details the exploits of Frédéric Bourdin, a serial child impersonator whose repertoire includes “scores of identities, in more than fifteen countries and five languages.” Authorities who investigated the modern-day Peter Pan found “no evidence of sexual deviance or pedophilia … [or] any financial motive.” One prosecutor says, “His profit seems to have been purely emotional.” When “pressed about his motivations,” Bourdin said all he “wanted was love and family,” making him “the rare impostor who elicited sympathy as well as anger from those he had duped” An article considers the looming danger of superbacteria in hospitals. The bugs, which “have developed immunity to a wide number of antibiotics,” come not only from the overprescription of antibiotics to humans, but also from widespread preventative dosing of livestock at factory farms. One source says, “antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant bacteria are … in the air and soil around farms, in surface and ground water, in wild-animal populations, and on retail meat and poultry.” 

Newsweek, Aug. 11 The cover story chronicles the old wounds and new despair of the South. To gauge “the tenor of a region that has been critical to every U.S. presidential election since 1932, as a journalist retraces “the deepest scar in the country—the blazing track of total war left by Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman in 1864 and 1865.” It concludes that the “white, Christian, middle-class Southerners,” who are the “core of Republican strength” are “disconcerted” about the state of the economy and still “leery of Obama’s liberalism if not his skin color.” A piece reports on the surge of “bloody outbursts” in central Jerusalem, led by residents of the city’s eastern, mostly Palestinian neighborhoods. In the past, East Jerusalem has enjoyed “relative stability” because of “close ties with both the Israeli economy and Palestinian culture.” But now, it is “quietly becoming radicalized.” The ideological shift is in part due to Israel’s restructuring of the area, which isolates East Jerusalemites “from the West Bank without integrating them into Israel … creat[ing] a state of limbo. …”

Wired, August 2008 The cover story of the “How To” issue concentrates on frequent Gawker subject Julia Allison’s rise to fame. “[N]obody gets people to pay attention quite like” Allison, though it’s “hard to describe what she’s famous for.” She’s frequently accused of narcissism and was named the No. 3 most-hated person on the Internet by Radar, but Allison “regularly shows a savvy self-mockery” that can endear her to “even the most hardened Gawker commenter.” A piece uncovers the magic of the Clover coffeemaker, which can make a “single cup of custom-made coffee that’s Jessica Alba hot, Bill Gates rich, and as unique as a snowflake.” The secret to the $11,000 machine is that it lets “the user program three key variables: dose, water temperature, and brew time.” A list advises what not to say in a Facebook status. Among them: “[j]ust came up with a new emoticon for sanguine [:<≠>,” “[w]atching The Notebook again,” and “[t]hinking about maybe talking to someone.”