Pokémon: The Foreign Menace

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Nov. 19 1999 9:30 PM

Pokémon: The Foreign Menace

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Economist, Nov. 20

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The cover editorial heralds the China-U.S. trade deal as "a momentous agreement that will vastly improve [China's] economic landscape." The cover story explains the deal: China will open its economy to foreign banks, telecommunications firms, carmakers, and other manufacturers. Ensuing competitive pressures will reshape China's domestic economy. A column argues that Pokémania proves globalization is not a euphemism for Americanization. The United States' embrace of foreigners such as Pikachu, Harry Potter, and the Teletubbies demonstrates that globalization is a two-way street.

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New Republic, Dec. 6

The cover story explains the race controversy in Decatur, Ill.: The expulsion of six black students (for fighting at a football game) that has outraged Jesse Jackson is viewed as an attempt to halt the white flight that has undercut the city's tax base. An editorial favors zero-tolerance school rules such as Decatur's: The rules "effectively combat the greatest crisis in public education today … the crisis of violence." An article explains the "constitutional etiquette" of the vice presidency. Veeps should never malign or crudely distance themselves from their presidents. In case of assassination or impeachment, the republic needs a smooth transition of power to the second-in-line.

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Vanity Fair, December 1999

An article tells the strange story of Miranda Grosvenor. The homely Louisiana woman ensnared numerous Hollywood men into obsessive telephone affairs during the '80s. Stars such as Richard Gere and Billy Joel fell for her out-of-the-blue phone calls, gossip, and flattery. When men asked to meet her she stood them up or sent photos of a blonde model. Some of the relationships lasted years. Quincy Jones invited her to Hollywood, and Joel considered writing a musical about her.

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Talk, December 1999

An article exposes the National Enquirer's mob origins. The newspaper was bankrolled by Mafia loans in the '50s, and gangsters leaned on newsstand dealers who refused to sell it. When the publisher realized real news wasn't profitable, he turned it into a scandal sheet. An item pokes fun at Hollywood's newest excess: "pity brokers." Talent agencies now offer "conscience management," helping their celebrity clients pick philanthropic causes that boost their image and ego.

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Forbes, Nov. 29

A great cover story stunt exposes the impossibility of electronic privacy. Given a reporter's name, a Web-based "information broker" tracked down his "base identifiers"--Social Security number, birth date, and address--in five minutes. Within a week the snoop had discovered his unlisted phone numbers, bank balances, stock holdings, and salary, as well as the phone numbers of everyone he calls. To protect your privacy, ask your bank to restrict access to your records and beg your member of Congress for legislative protections.

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