TNR's Man of the Millennium

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Dec. 18 1999 3:30 AM

TNR's Man of the Millennium

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New York Times Magazine, Dec. 19

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The cover profile admires Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's steely determination to make peace. The unpretentious ex-general acts as "the national tough guy." He set an ambitious 15-month timetable for solving the centuries-old Arab-Israeli conflict and back-burnered domestic issues to keep on schedule. A profile of auteur Paul Thomas Anderson, director of the new Magnolia, applauds his artistry and moxie. Boogie Nights showed that Anderson is master of camera movement and character development. Anderson shepherded his new film into theaters without letting it be dumbed down, proving that he can protect his work from rank Hollywood commercialism. An article exposes Tulsa, Oklahoma's long-forgotten race riots. In 1921, as many as 300 African-Americans were killed when white authorities deputized a bloodthirsty lynch mob. A state commission is finally investigating the disturbance.

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New Republic, Jan. 3

A millennium parody issue. A faux-profile picks a man of the millennium: "With his cartwheeling intellect and generous heart; with his revolutionary brain and conservative gut ... this epoch has belonged to Richard Keith 'Dick' Armey." A piece honors nachos as the emblematic invention of the last thousand years: "Producing penicillin may be beyond the mental faculties of the average Joe, but melting things isn't. … [N]achos are the glue that unites us." The magazine also includes a helpful list of the "Top Ten Stain-Removing Tips of the Millennium."

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Economist, Dec. 18

The cover story pegged to Russia's parliamentary elections says democracy is not in terrible shape. The crackdown on Chechnya has swelled the popularity of Boris Yeltsin's flailing administration, but the Russian system remains robustly pluralistic. The Communists will probably retain a plurality in the Duma, and "reformist views may be more strongly represented." An article earnestly questions whether irony is eroding the national character of post-imperial England: "In the days of yore British superiority was proven by force of arms. Now the point is made with a joke, and a quiet, knowing smile." A survey cheers the globalization of wine. The "best wines of the new world can match or even surpass the great wines of the old world." Vintners in Bordeaux now solicit the advice of Australian producers.

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Time, Dec. 20

The chilling cover photo, taken from a surveillance videotape, shows Columbine killers Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris in the cafeteria during the massacre. The cover story reveals the contents of the killers' homemade videotapes. Harris called his sawed-off shotgun "Arlene," after a character in the video game Doom, and boasted that his plan was better than those of previous school shooters: "Not like those f___s in Kentucky with camouflage and .22s." Klebold hoped to kill 250 people on what he called "Judgement Day." Klebold predicted: "Directors will be fighting over this story," and Harris hoped for Steven Spielberg or Quentin Tarantino. The sickest detail: When Harris found Cassie Bernall hiding under a desk, he leaned down, said "peek-a-boo," then shot her.

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Newsweek, Dec. 20

The cover story names ordinary Americans the "People of the Century." In the "Century of the Common Man" democracy "became the norm" and " 'elite' became a dirty word." A clunky six-pager summarizes the century in thick newsweekly-ese: "The overarching theme of the century's first half was the rise of state power. … The theme of the century's second half was liberation." (David Plotz's "Assessment" of a generic man of the year deflates the genre.) portfolio compiles the century's best cartoons and quotes. An article explains how the stock market could have risen even though the majority of companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 has lost ground: Enormous gains in the technology sector boost the overall market.

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