TNR's Man of the Millennium

TNR's Man of the Millennium

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

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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

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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.

{{U.S. News#64560}}U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 20

The cover story reveals that--brace yourselves--Americans work a lot. More than one-third of Americans work at least 50 hours per week. Meanwhile, the French are scaling back to a 35-hour workweek. Telecommuting has made long hours easier and may be contributing to productivity gains. An article applauds a Navy decision to build "electric drive" ships. Electric destroyers will have smaller engine rooms with more room for weapons. The new ships will be quieter, stealthier, and more efficient. A piece questions a new approach to cracking down on school absenteeism: In California, Florida, and Michigan, prosecutors are imprisoning the parents of chronic truants for up to 90 days.

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Weekly Standard, Dec. 20

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A cover profile pokes fun at Donald Trump. Trump's penchant for purple prose and self-promotion verges on self-parody. The candidate says of the United States trade representative: "Has she made billions of dollars?" He supports the United Nations so strongly that "I'm building a 90-story building right next to it." He regrets the death of Princess Diana because "I would have loved to have had a shot to date her." An editorial applauds New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for applying tough love to the homeless. Coddling hasn't worked. We should demand that able-bodied folks pay for shelter.

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The Nation, Dec. 27

The cover story claims that food will become a focus of radical politics in the 21st century, galvanized by opposition to genetically modified crops. An editorial claims that a tentative "red-green alliance" emerged from the Seattle havoc. The new coalition will make it difficult for the United States to normalize trade relations with China.

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The New Yorker, Dec. 20

An item relays the rumor that Bill Clinton will join the Motion Picture Association of America. Retiring MPAA head Jack Valenti thinks the former president would make a worthy successor. Clinton would enjoy working with starlets. As Hillary Clinton steps up her Senate campaign, a faux West Wing memo proposes first lady subs. The president's top picks are Shania Twain, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and "wrestling sensation" Sable. The East Wing prefers Janet Reno.