Today, Other Magazines reads The New Yorker, New York, Newsweek, Harper's, Texas Monthly, and the Weekly Standard to find out what's worth your time—and what's not.
The New Yorker traces the rise of a megachurch in New England, a region with just 12 congregations that exceed 2,000 worshippers. The article explores the origin of the megachurch, the forces that contribute to its success, and its opponents' critiques, including fundamentalists and Calvinists who deride them as "market-driven churches that cater to the society's insatiable demand for entertainment."—E.G.
A profile of Texas Sen. John Cornyn in the December Texas Monthly presents a detailed look at the roots of Cornyn's conservatism and how his role in the Senate will shift after Bush leaves office. No Texas politician profile is complete without an inescapable sport-shooting experience, and this reporter ("improbably, impossibly") passed the test.—D.S.
Best Campaign Piece
Newsweek's cover examines Rudy Giuliani's upbringing, surrounded by friends and relatives both "good and bad," and how this exposure helps him see the often blurry line between saint and sinner.
Best Campaign Review
The Weekly Standard runs a funny and intelligent review of campaign memoirs by current presidential candidates, including works by Christopher Dodd, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards. For all "the puffery, the opportunism, the ambition," the article concludes, "even politicians, even their ghostwriters, can't kill the campaign book."—G.H.
Best Foreign Piece
Harper's visits the newly discovered Archives of the Guatemalan National Police Force—the group responsible for many atrocities in the Dirty Wars of the 1970s and 1980s. The article, which features comments from victims' family members and former guerillas, uncovers a country slowly discovering the truth of the harrowing era.—J.M.
Most Controversial Statement
The Weekly Standard accuses congressional Democrats of not only attempting to sabotage American victory in Iraq, but also being bad saboteurs. "They tried, it is true, to do serious damage, but were compromised in the event by their chronic incompetence."—G.H.
Harper's publishes lawyer Clive Stafford Smith's snarky response to Navy allegations that he smuggled Speedos in to several Guantanamo Bay inmates. "Mr. Aamer is hardly in a position to go swimming, since the only available water is in the toilet in his cell. … I presume that nobody thinks that Mr. Aamer wears Speedos while paddling in his privy."—J.M.
The New Yorker reports: "A well-fed pigeon will produce twenty-five pounds of waste in a year, and there may be more than a million pigeons in New York."—E.G.