What's new in Vanity Fair, etc.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Nov. 22 2002 11:52 AM

Triple Threat

Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated, Nov. 18 The cover story, the first in a four-part series about high-school sports, says that fewer kids are playing more than one sport these days. The big sports—football, baseball, basketball—have become too competitive and time-intensive for athletes to flit from one to the other; they have to commit to one their freshman year and stick with it. The magazine endorses the Boston Red Sox's hiring of Bill James, the stats guru, for a front-office job. A general manager calls guys like James "objective" and says they deal in "facts." … Franz Lidz profiles heavyweight boxing brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko. Both could pose serious threats to Lennox Lewis. A "Scorecard" item says that the Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary high-school basketball team, featuring NBA prospect LeBron James, will air some of its games on pay-per-view.—B.C.

Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair, December 2002 A fact-crammed piece by Sebastian Junger describes a search for links to terror activity in South America's Triple Border region. The area hosts al-Qaida, Hezbollah, and Aryan Nation groups, among others. A growing fear: What if they all banded together against the United States? Slate contributor Christopher Hitchens visits Qatar, home of the new U.S.-backed airbase Al Udeid. The tiny gulf nation boasts maverick media upstart Al Jazeera as well as one of the least repressive governments in the area. Qatar, a "synthesis of prosperity, … religious moderation, and press freedom," has bravely chosen to ally itself against Saddam in the brewing war. An article explores possible connections between anti-malaria drugs used by U.S. troops in Afghanistan and a rash of wife murders at Fort Bragg. Are the drugs or military culture to blame?— S.G.

Economist

Economist, Nov. 23 The cover story says the computer industry is shifting its goal from a PC on every desk to a handheld in every pocket. The battle for control of the growing handheld market will be a clash of titans between Microsoft, which believes in scaling down computers, and Nokia, which wants to scale up its phones. A piece attempts to make sense of North Korea's nuclear strategy. Does the nation believe the worse it misbehaves, the greater the concessions it can get from the rest of the world? The world will have to stand firm. An article compares the success of septuagenarian media moguls Sumner Redstone and Rupert Murdoch. The two "part-paranoid, monarchical" CEOs have risen above the turmoil of the media business by shunning the Internet and the recording industry and instead sticking to what they know best: creating good content.— J.F.

New Republic

New Republic, Dec. 2 and 9 The cover story explains why New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer was the only Democrat to use the corporate scandals to his advantage in the elections. While other Democrats attacks on greedy executives came off as anti-business, Spitzer managed to pitch his reforms as not anti-business, but pro-investor. "TRB" crows that it took congressional Republicans only eight days to overreach: They stuffed the homeland security bill with goodies for special interests, and gutted its restrictions on giving government contracts to companies that reincorporate abroad to avoid paying taxes. A piece says that, while the White House hawks want to make lies in Iraq's Dec. 8 report a casus belli, neither the State Department nor the U.N. Security Council will go along. That means Saddam has no reason to be honest in the report, and war is further off than you think.—K.T.

New York Times Magazine

New York Times Magazine, Nov. 24 The cover story explains how Leonardo DiCaprio made his comeback. Dragged through the mud by the tabloids during his post-Titanic fame bad-boy phase, DiCaprio now has a spruced-up image and two major films coming out within days of each other: Martin Scorcese's mammoth Gangs of New York and Steven Spielberg's lighter Catch Me If You Can. A piece describes the new Steve Ballmer. Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, used to be famous for screaming at meetings and for having publicly insulted Janet Reno. Now, with a new ruling in Microsoft's federal antitrust case, Ballmer has decided the best business strategy is to play nice. Bobos in Paradise author David Brooks offers a hilarious, anthropological take on the new Sims online world, where everyone seems to live with roommates, like the characters in Friends, and to be much more interested in being well liked than in actually doing anything.—K.T.

Time
Newsweek
U.S. News & World Report

Time, Nov. 25
The cover story examines why the United States hasn't caught Osama Bin Laden. Last week, federal authorities played a taped message attributed to Bin Laden for a key al-Qaida operative in custody as well as detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. All confirmed the voice to be Bin Laden's and said the message is a "call to action." An article profiles "the new" Al Gore as he attempts to make a political comeback in time for the 2004 presidential race. Gore no longer speaks as if every sentence has been preapproved by his pollsters, and though he won't announce his intentions until after the holidays, Gore is already vowing an "unvarnished approach" to the issues. "Those who like it, great. Those who don't—I'm sorry, I don't care," Gore says. A piece says former Gen. Wesley Clark is contemplating a Democratic bid for the White House.—H.B. Newsweek, Nov. 25 The cover story looks at how technology is changing the way we work and live. One of the biggest trends is online gaming, which is fast becoming a leading forum for social interaction. Automakers, meanwhile, have been upping the ante on vehicular technology, outfitting new cars with DVD players, microwaves, and other perks. An article says law-enforcement agents are privately complaining that FBI terror warnings are "over the top" and drawing away from the agency's successes in fighting terrorism. Meanwhile, members of Congress are pushing for the creation of a domestic spy agency to monitor terrorism within the United States. A piece says the Bush administration's sudden embrace of an independent commission to investigate 9/11 is to curb the effects of possibly damaging leaks to President Bush's re-election bid in 2004.—H.B. U.S. News & World Report, Nov. 25 The cover story profiles research into C-reactive protein, a substance the liver pumps into the bloodstream when you have a cold, cut, or other inflammation. Doctors believe CRP could be a leading indicator of heart attacks and strokes, more so than high cholesterol or other danger signs. A "Washington Whispers"piece says rap mogul Sean "P. Diddy" Combs is contemplating a future in politics, but he won't settle for a seat in Congress. Combs, friends say, would aim directly for the White House. An article examines the ramifications of dropping federal charges against alleged "20th hijacker" Zacarias Moussaoui and transferring his fate to a military tribunal. The move would buy time for the United States' investigation into 9/11 but could "deep six" international support for the war on terrorism.—H.B.

The New Yorker

The New Yorker, Nov. 25 A piece profiles Kenneth Feinberg, who heads the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund set up by Congress. He alone will decide the amount of money victims and their families will receive—or if they will get help at all. "[The law] gives me discretion to do whatever I want. So I will," Feinberg says. An article weighs the crimes Saddam Hussein has committed against his own people and questions why Iraqis don't openly criticize the leader. The simple answer: fear. A "Talk of the Town"piece by Hendrik Hertzberg compares the Bush and Windsor dynasties. Petty scandals have plagued both families, but because tabloids here are like "church newsletters" by British standards, the Bushies have escaped the scrutiny that now plagues Prince Charles and the gang.— H.B.

Weekly Standard

Weekly Standard, Nov. 25
The cover story reports back from the recent round of anti-globalization protests in Florence, Italy. Though Florence was notably less violent than Genoa, Switzerland, and Seattle, that shouldn't be surprising: This was the anti-globalization movement's own convention. With its attempts to link economic imperialism to American militarism, the rhetoric of the movement is actually becoming more radical and potentially more violent than it was in the 1990s. An essay laughs at the left's inability to come to terms with defeat. Whenever liberals lose an election, they blame their opponents for deceiving voters with a "genial smile" that belies their true extremism. They can never accept that maybe voters really do prefer their opponents' positions, which usually aren't even all that extreme. An article claims that the midterm elections could mark a shift in the Republican Party's relationship with Hispanic voters. The GOP figures it needs 40 percent of the Latino vote to stay competitive nationally. In Florida and New York, it met or exceeded that goal.— J.F.

The Nation

The Nation, Dec. 2 The cover article argues that if the Democrats are going to be a party with any soul, they'll have to let Nancy Pelosi be Nancy Pelosi. In other words, the new House minority leader should make no concessions on her progressive politics. Since the party is fated to get pummeled on most House votes for the next two years, the question will be how vigorously it can fight on the way down. A piece urges Ralph Nader to keep out of the 2004 presidential election. Greens realize they can't afford to once again be complicit in the election of a "crypto-fascist" who "threatens American democracy and the peace of the world." Instead, they must work internally to reform the Democratic Party. An article says run-of-the-mill U.S. gun shops are unwittingly arming foreign terrorist groups. Weapons dealers buy hundreds of modified AK-47s and ship them in small planes to distant countries. John Aschroft has expressed little interest in closing the loopholes that make the gun smuggling possible.— J.F.

Holly Bailey is a writer in Washington, D.C.

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

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.

Siân Gibby assists in editing the Faith-Based column. She copy-edits 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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