New York Times Magazine, Dec. 12
The cover story heralds The Talented Mr. Ripley--a forthcoming movie about a man who assumes the identity of an aristocrat--as a brilliant meditation on the American dream of self-reinvention, but spoils the film by quoting its dialogue, describing its scenes in detail, and revealing almost every plot twist. … A profile laments Jesse Jackson's evolution into "the outsider's insider." His Wall Street Project, a campaign to diversify boardrooms and broaden access to capital, is "trickle-down civil rights." The primary beneficiaries are middle class, and the downtrodden receive no direct benefit. … An essay skewers public figures who remain coy about their sexual orientation. Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile, Ed Koch, Rosie O'Donnell, and Ricky Martin will reveal every detail of their private lives, but won't say whether they're gay or straight. The "Kinda Ask, Sorta Tell" approach insults open-minded Americans.
Newsweek and Time, Dec. 13
A Newsweek cover story depicts the anti-World Trade Organization demonstrators as the "new face of protest." The protesters, who ranged from violent anarchists opposing private property to topless Lesbian Avengers objecting to bovine-growth hormone, shared "a new mood of radical activism" and a "sense of alienation" from global capitalism. … Time declares the WTO meeting a "disaster" for free-traders. "From now on, every objection [to global trade] will be illuminated by the fires of last week." (Slate's " Frame Game" explains how the WTO became a boogeyman.)
Time's cover package lionizes Sen. John McCain. The anchor profile argues that McCain's amazing life story is his "running mate," but to broaden his support he must "build a bridge from his bio to his issues." … An article says Disney's Fantasia 2000 film project may invigorate middlebrow culture with its fusion of classical music and brilliant animation.
A Newsweek piece claims that "Internet brain drain" is hobbling big corporations. New talent and lower-level executives are lured to startups by the promise of wealth and career fulfillment. Businesses are fighting back by offering more stock options, creating "psuedo-entrepreneurial" environments, and pointing out dot-com failure rates. … A profile urges Pete Rose to apologize for past bets. Seventy-four percent of Americans believe he should be allowed back in baseball. An overdue, abject confession could help his cause.
U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 13
The cover story claims a "new generation of wireless services" will change the way the world communicates. Finland is leading the way toward a "networked society," with wireless services such as phone banking and mobile sports updates. Sixty-seven percent of Finns carry cell phones (usually domestically made, user-friendly Nokias.) ... A piece claims that George W. Bush and John McCain share a common mission to redefine conservatism. Both pols "have little patience for the libertarian aversion to government." … An article explores the incredible panda industry. The most sought-after zoo animals, pandas are rented out by China for exorbitant prices. The National Zoo just paid $8 million to house a pair for 10 years. (Slate's Hsing-Hsing " Obit" argues that the quasi-bears aren't worth the fuss.)
The New Yorker, Dec. 13
An article wallops biology guru Stephen Jay Gould for providing intellectual cover to creationists. "America's unofficial evolutionist laureate" opposes biological progressivism--the belief that evolution is inclined toward developing complexity--because it was used to justify racism. His shoddy pop science bolsters the creationist cause by exaggerating holes in the fossil record and stressing the randomness of evolution. … A review pummels Gail Sheehy's Hillary's Choice. The book analyzes its subject's psychosexual history based on little but gossip. (Read Slate's take in " Culturebox.")
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An All-Female Mission to Mars
As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.