What's new in the Economist, etc.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Sept. 6 2002 12:56 PM

How America Has Changed Since 9/11

Economist

Economist, Sept. 7 The obligatory "How America has changed"article says the Sept. 11 attacks were like "a bolt of lightning that brilliantly and briefly illuminated the landscape without changing it. The storm passed." Patriotism and religiosity rose and then fell. Earnestness eventually returned to irony. Politics went back to usual. The magazine gives the Johannesburg summit higher marks than most. On a narrow but important set of issues—water, energy, fisheries, farming—the summit made modest steps forward. Beyond the specifics though, "the rest was mushy and imprecise." An article speculates about why Tony Blair is "sticking his neck out" in support of Bush on Iraq. On the one hand, he's trying to close a potentially catastrophic rift between Europe and America. But he also believes that if you want to change the world for the better, you can only do it by hitching yourself to American interests.— J.F.

New York Times Magazine
Foreign Policy

New York Times Magazine, Sept. 8
One piece of the cover package describes the brilliance and hubris that built the World Trade Center. Its creators, who included giants like David Rockefeller and Robert Moses, had to overcome both political and physical obstacles: To win the battle against the project's opponents, they doubled its size—from 5 million to 10 million square feet. Engineer Leslie Robertson had to figure out how to support 110 floors while maintaining the graceful exterior design and economizing wherever possible. Robertson came up with revolutionary construction methods—some of which helped the towers survive the planes' impact, and some of which finally brought them down. Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp collaborated with over 20 architects to propose a plan for Ground Zero: Turn the focus from commerce to culture; bury the West Side highway and build a tree-lined promenade, lined with fanciful buildings.—K.T.

Foreign Policy, September-October 2002
What is the "international community"? FP asked nine leading thinkers the question, and their answers are as varied as their ideologies. Is it merely, as Noam Chomsky says, the United States "joined by some allies and clients"? Is it the emerging "transnational anticorporate globalization movement," as Walden Bello would have it? Is it a moral ideal or—if thrown about too glibly—a "moral hazard"? Jeane Kirkpatrick attests that multilateral organizations are anti-democratic because voters can't throw international officials out if they disagree with them. Must the world move beyond the idea of nations as "the most significant receptacles of large-scale loyalty," as Arjun Apparudai argues? Or is Ruth Wedgwood right that states remain essential to international governance since only they have the force to uproot dangerous regimes, dig out terrorists, and protect refugees?—K.T.

Time and Newsweek

Time and Newsweek, Sept. 9
Anticipating the anniversary by a few days, both magazines go with huge Sept. 11 cover packages, skipping the rest of the news of the week. Time runs 11 profiles of "men and women and children who are trailblazers in a new century, a new world, and they had no choice in the matter;"Newsweek profiles 13 "people whose lives, public and private, were deeply affected by the events of September 11, 2001."Time also features several essays by notable writers and a large collection of photographs. Newsweek has a couple of traditional news stories related to the terror attacks.

Time's cover story, written by Nancy Gibbs, who wrote last year's real Sept. 11 cover story, bends the American public over its knee for forgetting the lessons terrorism was supposed to have taught us: "There seemed to be a spirit of infectious virtue everywhere we turned a year ago; we have since looked from the pulpit to the boardroom to the baseball diamond and wondered if there was an honest man anywhere in sight." In a related pair of essays, Andrew Sullivan and Michael Elliott square off about whether America has changed in the aftermath of the attacks. Slate's Michael Kinsley writes that we should all worry a little less about terrorism. We don't know how to assess the risk, which may in fact be unassessable. Rationally, we cannot afford to pour all our energy, real and psychic, into stopping something that might not be a threat and that we can't really stop anyway.

U.S. News & World Report

Newsweek reports that intelligence officials worry less about Osama Bin Laden and more about other escapees who might still be hard at work. The piece provides details about several of the men, including a financier, a computer expert, and the leader of a European cell. One of the men has been tied to the April bombing of a Tunisian synagogue.— J.D. U.S. News & World Report, Sept. 9
U.S. News' Sept. 11 piece, which is not on the cover, criticizes the media for beating the public with terror-attack retrospectives. Some experts worry that "the onslaught of commemorative activities" could reopen emotional wounds or spark a wave of anti-Arab violence. Others think that mourning ought to be a private, not public, event. The cover story is the second in-depth report on the Secret Service this summer. Many agents believe staff cuts and a new philosophy limit their ability to protect the president and vice president and their families. Instead of full coverage (literally surrounding the protectee at all times), the Secret Service now has to guess when and where threats lie and respond accordingly. A piece reports that American investors have joined foreign businesspeople in pulling capital out of the United States and pouring it into foreign markets. Foreign stocks and emerging market funds are booming as their American counterparts deflate.— J.D.

The New Yorker

The New Yorker, Sept. 9 The style special.... A piece about hip-hop-impresario-cum-fashion-designer Puff Daddy says he cares more about being successful than about being cutting edge. Even so, the editor of Vogue calls him "wonderfully over the top and flamboyant." Donatella Versace's assistant is less kind: "He's a fashion Mini-Me: half the talent, half the glamour, just as demanding." About himself, he marvels, "Look at my canary-yellow diamond. Impeccable. Admit it, I am impeccable." ... A Hendrik Hertzberg "Talk of the Town"piece approves of whatever annoying anti-smoking tactics New York's Mayor Mike Bloomberg can come up with. "A smoker is simply a person who would like to quit smoking," so even though smokers don't say so, they crave the pesky taxes and bans on bar smoking.... A profile of Bill Lerach, the lawyer heading up a class-action suit against Enron, claims he's no substitute for the SEC. Lerach does get bad companies, but he also gets good ones, and he has little patience for substantive remedies that cut into his paycheck. He's a businessman, not a reformer.— J.D.

Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated, Sept. 2 The NFL preview issue. Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmerman picks the St. Louis Rams to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl, 27-24. Tampa Bay and Miami will make the conference championship games. Michael Silver profiles Minnesota wide receiver Randy Moss. Last season, after dogging it on the field, Moss told reporters, "I play when I want to play." The Vikings tanked. Does Moss regret his words? "Hell, no, because I still play when I want to play. I do what I want, homey." Coaches promise to get him the ball more. The magazine ranks the league's most powerful coaches. Denver's Mike Shanahan, who runs the front office and the sidelines, ranks first. Dallas' Dave Campo, a puppet controlled by owner Jerry Jones, is last.—B.C.

Weekly Standard

Weekly Standard, Sept. 9 The cover article, by Charles Krauthammer, finds American culture more or less in the same place it was before Sept. 11. One year later, we're no less ironic, no less partisan, no less frivolous. The editorial makes the case for national ID cards. Libertarians and leftists object that the cards are steppingstones on a path to a police state, but Fred Barnes calls their fears "misplaced, especially in decentralized and democratic America." Privacy may suffer, but "the Constitution has never recognized a right to anonymity." A piece offers four suggestions to reduce criminal recidivism. 1) Institute more and better prison labor programs to prepare convicts for the work force. 2) Hold prisoners more accountable when they fail drug tests (increase sentences for those who test positive, "plenty of coercive drug treatment"). 3) Help prisoners plan for their post-release lives, and then follow up after their release. 4) Give faith-based programs a chance in prisons.— J.F.

The Nation

The Nation, Sept. 16 The cover article describes the struggles of meatpackers to raise wages and increase workplace safety. Wages remain low and meatpacking is still the most dangerous job in the country, but a series of recent strikes could point the way toward a safer, more sanitary industry. Naomi Klein explains how the World Summit on Sustainable Development was "booby-trapped from the start." Corporate lobby groups with too much sway are pushing a trickle-down solution to development that demands that poor countries privatize their industries. Meanwhile, those pushing land reform, an end to privatization, and debt cancellation have not been invited to the table. A piece describes how Miami's right-wing Cubans have come to embrace gay rights. Gay Cubans have worked tirelessly to reach out to the rest of the Cuban community, which has in turn been receptive—in part as backlash against Castro, who is an infamous persecutor of homosexuals.— J.F.

Bryan Curtis is a staff writer for Grantland. Follow him on Twitter.

Jeremy Derfner is a former Slate editorial assistant.

In addition to being the co-founder of the Atlas Obscura, Joshua Foer is the author of Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, which grew out of a story he wrote for Slate.

Kate Taylor is the arts reporter at the New York Sun and the editor of an anthology of essays about anorexia, Going Hungry, which will be published next spring.

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