Kinda Ask, Sorta Tell

Kinda Ask, Sorta Tell

Kinda Ask, Sorta Tell

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Dec. 9 1999 3:30 AM

Kinda Ask, Sorta Tell


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.")


Weekly Standard, Dec. 13

The cover story argues that George W. Bush's management of the Texas Rangers indicates he would be an effective president. Bush delegated day-to-day decisions but was a constant cheerleader in the ballpark, raised morale enormously, and was beloved by everyone he worked with. The traditionalist stadium he built jacked up attendance and revenues. An article about the WTO protests contends that "Seattle had it coming" because it's filled with liberals who support banning discrimination against transsexuals, resist kicking disorderly drunks out of parks, and affectionately call their city "Sodom on the Sound."


The Nation, Dec. 20


The cover story reveals that Ralph Nader is preparing for a White House run. Nader will actively campaign on the Green Party ticket to secure public funding for lower-level party candidates and publicize his view that corporations excessively dominate civil society.


New Republic, Dec. 20

A cover story argues that it pays to play dumb in politics. While Al Gore "has the appearance of a man who prepared for a spelling bee and found himself in a swimsuit competition," George W. Bush's apparent "boredom with the details of governance" is a political asset. Voters are seeking "a president who will make us proud--and do little else." A cover story traces the similarities between George W. Bush and John F. Kennedy. Both were privileged, preppy "reluctant dauphins" to political dynasties, who caroused and earned C's at college. Both relied on daddy's allies, outspent their opponents, and sought to avenge their fathers' political defeats. An article celebrates the Battle in Seattle: Protests against such minor matters as genetically modified food demonstrate that the world has conquered more critical problems. (Slate's " Frame Game" explains how the World Trade Organization became a boogeyman.)


Economist, Dec. 4

The cover editorial applauds the establishment of a power-sharing parliament in Northern Ireland as providing "a realistic hope for durable peace." The new North-South council will appease Nationalists, and the British-Irish council will reassure Unionists. Dispersed government, European Union membership, affluence, and secularization could defuse ancient animosities. (For more on Northern Ireland, see "International Papers.") A piece explains how the "open content movement" will transform the way we work. Open-source projects--such as the operating system Linux--rely on online collaboration to improve. An "Open Law" experiment asks Web surfers to contribute arguments to a high-tech legal brief. An article recommends the LifeShirt--a turtleneck with six built-in medical sensors. LifeShirts measure vital signs and relay the information to palm-sized computers, which download the data for online diagnosis.