The Melodrama Behind the Elián Saga

The Melodrama Behind the Elián Saga

The Melodrama Behind the Elián Saga

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
April 22 2000 1:30 AM

The Melodrama Behind the Elián Saga

New York Times Magazine, April 23


A cover story reveals the personal melodrama behind the Elián González saga. Elián's parents were loyal revolutionaries who spoiled their only son. His mom left Cuba at the behest of her boyfriend. The Miami members of the González family are intent on reuniting their whole clan, by almost any means necessary. In a cover memoir, a reporter recalls joining the Mariel boatlift when she was a teen. All the possessions of the émigrés were confiscated; fellow Cubans stoned those who wanted to leave. A profile credits Phil Jackson with shaping up the Los Angeles Lakers by treating his players with respect. Jackson's authority stems from his "strategic willingness" to let the Lakers direct their own play. Zen Buddhism infuses his "emancipated coaching style." 


Economist, April 28

An article argues that a stock-market downturn could trigger a recession. American businesses and households are deeply in hock. Private sector debt is 4 percent of the GDP. Stock losses could stop people from spending. A piece says that 700,000 albinos in Tanzania are organizing to demand equal rights. The country's high albinism rate—2 percent—is attributed to inbreeding. The cover story blames Janet Reno for letting the Elián González saga drag on for so long. The attorney general should have returned the boy in November. Instead she treats Elián's recalcitrant Miami relatives "with the sort of deference that most politicians reserve for a head of state."

New Republic

New Republic, May 1


An editorial dismisses the inchoate complaints of World Bank-International Monetary Fund demonstrators. The IMF and the bank are not instruments of megacorporate oppression: They "allow global capitalism to function better by making it more humane." The cover story explains why anarchists dominate anti-globalization protests and the "New New Left." The collapse of socialist and Communist regimes left a power vacuum on the left. Youth activists are attracted to anarchism's rebellious image. Their movement is a "revolt of the affluent."

O: The Oprah Magazine

O: The Oprah Magazine, May 2000

The première issue of Oprah Winfrey's magazine takes the radical position that you should feel better about yourself. Oprah's editorial note explains: "This magazine is about helping you become more of who you are." … There are lots of Q and A's (on hosiery, inner-self improvement, and financial freedom). … A " Something to Think About" section invites readers to fill in the blank beneath questions, such as "What is my heart's deepest desire?" … A "Tap Your Personal Courage Calendar" schedules daily confidence-building exercises, such as "[e]ach time you do something courageous, no matter how small, write it in your journal." … In a nine-page interview, Oprah quizzes Bill Cosby's wife, Camille, about menopause and learning to love herself.

New York Review of Books

New York Review of Books, May 11


A piece describes the horrific civil war in Colombia, where the leftist guerrilla movement FARC fills its ranks with teen-age soldiers and supports itself by collecting $500 million a year in protection money from coca growers. Long-anticipated peace talks with the government have not materialized. Proposed U.S. military aid will only prolong the fighting. An article deplores China's "custody and repatriation" policies. Every year, police round up thousands of migrant workers, mentally ill people, children, and other innocents, imprison them for not having a permit to live in the city where they were arrested, and ship them back to their rural hometowns. Most of the victims are peasants left out of China's urban boom. A laudatory review of Frances FitzGerald's history of the Strategic Defense Initiative blasts the Star Wars missile defense as a ludicrous idea that won't ever work, never scared the Soviets, and continues to waste billions of tax dollars every year.


Harper's, May 2000

The cover essay says that the Pacific Northwest environmental radicals and latter-day John Browns who staged the Seattle protests suffer the same sense of inner emptiness as materialist consumers do. "Beneath the belief in unspoiled nature and the rhetoric of total industrial collapse," anti-globalization activists harbor an  "urgent desire to be part of something larger than oneself—the same desire that motivates consumers to drink Starbucks coffee and wear Nikes." …  A profile attacks America's "favorite arms dealer," Ernst Werner Glatt. The former Nazi helped supply the Contras and the mujahadeen. His rabid anti-communism made him a valuable ally during the Cold War, but his affection for the Third Reich embarrasses the CIA agents who consorted with him.


Esquire, May 2000


The cover story cheers David Letterman's triumphant comeback. The Late Show host's bypass surgery "reminded many people—primarily the few million people who had stopped paying attention to him—that he actually did have a heart."  Since his brush with death, Dave has been walloping Jay Leno in the ratings.


Time, April 24

The cover story anticipates a boom in testosterone use. Four million American men inject themselves with synthetic hormones each year. The debut of AndroGel, a testosterone ointment, will make is easier for guys to boost their sex drive and muscle mass. Would-be he-men beware: Synthetic testosterone heightens aggression and increases the risk of prostate cancer.  (Judith Shulevitz's "Culturebox" helped spark the debate over testosterone determinism.) An article  suggests that last week's Wall Street dip was a blip. The American economy remains strong, and the information age has "condensed" the "time it takes to correct market excesses." ... A piece predicts that Ralph Nader's Green Party campaign for president could erase Al Gore's edge in states with large lefty-activist populations such as California.


Newsweek, April 24


Rejecting Time's optimism, the cover story claims that last week's "$2.1 trillion market tumble" is a wake-up call for Panglossian investors. The Nasdaq's 25.3 percent plunge demonstrates "how fragile a reed the market is." An article says the market drop is roiling Silicon Valley: Startup CEOs are delaying public offerings, employees are questioning the value of their stock options, and day traders are feeling more like dupes than geniuses. A piece mocks the backlash against Pottery Barn. Snobby magazines such as House & Garden are decrying its lowest-common-denominator furniture design.

U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report, April 24

U.S. News devotes its Easter week cover to Jesus Christ. (Newsweek did a Christ cover last month and Time did one four months ago.) The story argues that Pilate crucified Christ because he imperiled Roman rule over Jerusalem and "the religious status quo." An article bemoans the "byzantine universe of organ allocation." Under current rules, organs are given to the patient closest to the organ donor. As a result, Illinoisans wait three times longer for transplants than neighboring Wisconsinites do. …  A piece reminds investors that the Nasdaq is still up 24 percent since October. Tech sector earnings are expected to rise 36 percent this year.

The New Yorker

The New Yorker, April 24


The money issue. A profile reveals Alan Greenspan's private musings: The Fed chairman compares computer day-trading to casino gambling, suspects the stock market boom is a bubble, and believes a Wall Street crash might benefit the economy. He regards Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton as the two smartest presidents he has worked with. Greenspan remains an Ayn Randian, despite his "entente cordiale" with the White House.  A piece explains business clusters such as restaurant rows and diamond districts. Clustered competitors enjoy access to specialized labor pools, supplier discounts, and spillover demand. …  A "Talk of the Town" item reports that ABC let Leonardo DiCaprio rerecord the questions he posed to President Clinton. Leo flubbed his lines on the first take.

Atlantic Monthly

Atlantic Monthly, May 2000

The cover story says boys, not girls, are in trouble and criticizes "gender theorists who never stop blaming the 'male culture' for all social and psychological ills.' " Social scientists such as Carol Gilligan sold Americans on the spurious notion that schools shortchange girls. Boys lag behind girls in academic achievement and college enrollment. "The climate of disapproval in which boys now exist" is exacerbating the educational gender gap. A piece warns of "the manure menace." Marine life is threatened by noxious runoff from the 2.7 trillion pounds of manure that livestock generates each year.  An article quoting notes from the diary of Abraham Lincoln's law partner, William H. Herndon, indicates that Honest Abe might have been illegitimate and syphilitic.

Weekly Standard

Weekly Standard, April 24

A cover story argues that the only ways to stop another Columbine-like massacre are to ban gun ownership or arm schoolteachers. The editorial urges Republicans to resist the immediate approval of the China trade deal. The issue divides Democrats. If Republicans wait, it could disrupt the Democratic National Convention.

National Review

National Review, May 1

The cover story warns that President Al Gore would be "worse than Clinton." Gore is a liar and a racemonger. He is as grandiose as Woodrow Wilson, as inflexible as Herbert Hoover, as ferocious as Richard Nixon, and as petty as Jimmy Carter. …  An article suggests that Connie Mack might be the perfect veep for George W. Bush. Florida's amiable Republican senator is a Catholic "supply-sider who has never met a tax cut he didn't like."