Poland's Smut Ban

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
March 24 2000 9:30 PM

Poland's Smut Ban

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Economist, March 31

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An article predicts that Poland will enact a pornography ban to appease the Roman Catholic Church. Vibrators will still be permissible, and foreign Internet servers will satisfy lingering Polish lust for smut. A column scoffs at Oscar favorite American Beauty's hackneyed view of the suburbs. American suburbs have mutated from bourgeois havens into the multicultural, mixed-income engines of the high-tech economy. Silicon Valley, after all, is a suburb.

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New Republic, April 3

The cover story explains the reason why Al Gore might have a hard time finding a decent running mate: Bill Clinton. His self-promoting presidency has kept the political spotlight focused on the Oval Office and not on young Democratic pols. Rising Democratic stars "were decimated by the 1994 backlash against the ambitious agenda of Clinton's first two years." …  A column advocates using the federal budget surplus to equalize school spending. Educational inequality persists because rich school districts can spend so much more per student than poor ones. The editorial assails National Rifle Association flack Wayne LaPierre for claiming the Clinton administration doesn't enforce gun laws. Gun prosecutions rose under Clinton. Furthermore, the NRA fought to decrease the budget of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, which enforces federal gun laws.

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New York Times Magazine, March 26

The cover story celebrates U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke's famous ego, arguing that it fuels his tireless advocacy of the administration's foreign policy. Someone who was less of a pest could never have convinced Congress to pay the United States' U.N. debt. To position himself to become the next secretary of state, Holbrooke shamelessly sucks up to Al Gore and Jesse Helms. An essay argues that support for the death penalty is "approaching a political tipping point." The more people know about "the unequal, corrupt and racist reality of the capital trial apparatus," the less they favor execution. A piece puzzles over dog-care fads: Holistic veterinarians prescribe herbal supplements and homeopathic medicines to pups.

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Harper's, April 2000

The cover essay deplores the outsourcing of domestic work. Maid services are booming, but hiring a maid undermines moral moorings. "A servant economy breeds callousness and solipsism in the served."  The United States is becoming like Latin America, with a huge class of domestics serving a small group of callous rich folks. A hilarious dispatch describes what happens when you take an infant to Paris. Babies are not permitted to crawl on the grass, strollers are banned from museums, high chairs are rare, and potentially lethal pigeon droppings are everywhere.

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Texas Monthly, April 2000

The cover story claims that the collapse of Texas A & M's 59-foot log stack, which killed a dozen people, was "an accident waiting to happen." The student-led bonfire-building ritual involves heavy drinking. During earlier log-pilings, students have suffered concussions, broken bones, multiple lacerations, and fractured vertebrae.

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