Poland's Smut Ban

Poland's Smut Ban

Poland's Smut Ban

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

Poland's Smut Ban


Economist, March 31


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Forbes, April 3

An item reports that 7-Eleven will become a Web concierge by installing personal-transaction Internet terminals in its 6,200 stores. Customers will be able to have their e-commerce purchases delivered to 7-Eleven. Slurpees will still be served.


Time, March 27


The cover story, pegged to Stephen King's online book sale, celebrates do-it-yourself dot-com stardom. Entertainers (as well as regular folks) can make and distribute their own movies, music, books, and radio shows. There's a niche for everyone: Doodie.com, an all-excrement animated site, attracts 9.5 million visits a month. An article reports that next week Kathleen McGrath will become the first woman to command a Navy warship. The Tailhook scandal prompted the Navy to promote more women into its upper ranks.


Newsweek, March 27

Newsweek gives its cover to Jesus Christ, just as it did 12 months ago and just as Time did three months ago. (The son of God apparently boosts newsstand sales.) This cover story  describes non-Christians' conceptions of Christ. (But enough about me, what do you think of me?) Muslims consider Jesus as a great prophet. Hindus think Jesus became a guru while touring India as a teen. In an excerpt from First Person: Vladimir Putin, Russia's acting president describes bonding with Boris Yeltsin over sushi and escaping a 1996 fire buck-naked.  An article  applauds Smith & Wesson for compromising with gun-control advocates. Among other measures, the company will force gun show dealers to do background checks. Gun lovers might boycott Smith & Wesson for consorting with the Clinton administration.


U.S. News & World Report, March 27


The cover story investigates the online porn business, one of few Internet industries to turn a profit. Last year, smut-surfers paid almost $1 billion to access 40,000 sex-oriented Web sites. A piece touts the explosion of cyberart, which includes everything from abstract graphics to mock mutual fund sites.  The Whitney will include digital pieces in its 70th Biennial. An article warns that tuberculosis is the "comeback plague." To stop the infiltration of TB, which kills 2 million to 3 million people worldwide every year, U.S. border authorities are X-raying immigrants.


The New Yorker, March 27

A profile portrays Martin Scorsese as an anthropologist-cum-director. Scorsese "anatomizes the codes and rituals of whatever subculture he fixes his lens upon." His movies and his mind are jam-packed with film history, cultural trivia, and genius. An article argues that Vladimir Putin will owe his presidential victory to billionaire Boris Berezovsky. The "most notorious" of the Moscow oligarchs who plundered Russia under Boris Yeltsin's presidency, Berezovsky guaranteed Putin's election by unleashing his media empire on Kremlin critics. An item slams Bush-backer Haley Barbour for his campaign-finance shenanigans. When Barbour was chairman of the Republican National Committee, he solicited money from foreign sources. As a lobbyist, he was the "chief liaison" between Republicans and tobacco companies.


Weekly Standard, March 27


The cover story wallops West Wing for whitewashing the White House. The NBC drama is "political pornography for liberals." In Hollywood's version of the Clinton administration, the president abhors profanity, makes chili for his staff, and remains faithful to his wife.


The Nation, April 3

The second annual Hollywood issue. A cover story cheers the box-office success of off-beat movies such as American Beauty. The indie spirit is infecting big studios. Hollywood executives deserve kudos for "keeping their hearts and minds well above the bottom line." An article attempts to explain Hollywood's love for the Dalai Lama (see: Richard Gere, Steven Seagal, etc.). Buddhism is an excellent Hollywood faith: It promotes tolerance without demanding repentance.  An editorial exhorts the Academy Awards to remove the "stain on its institutional history" by honoring the blacklistees that the Awards once shunned.


National Review, April 3

The cover story prods George W. Bush to pick former Education Secretary Bill Bennett as his running mate. The Bush ticket needs Bennett's Catholic background and his brains. The best-selling author of The Book of Virtues would energize conservatives and appeal to scandal-fatigued voters.  An editorial advises Bush to imitate the style, not the substance, of John McCain's campaign. Voters were attracted by the insurgent's personality, not his wacky reform proposals.


Robb Report, April 2000

The "Luxury Lifestyle" Bible ranks the "Top Affluent Communities" in the United States, based on prestige, privacy, and proximity to good golf courses. Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., is No. 1: It offers free polo clinics. Greenwich, Conn., finishes a close second, even though those who own yachts longer than 100 feet can't anchor offshore. Palm Beach, Fla., is third. Its perk: Drawbridges keep out the underclass.