Today, Other Magazines reads Newsweek, New York, The New Yorker, and the Weekly Standard to find out what's worth your time—and what's not.
Must Read In the Weekly Standard's cover story, an ex-Mormon passionately condemns the religious bickering between Mitt Romney and his evangelical opponents. It is "unfortunate that the issue of religious tolerance should arise in a morally and intellectually underwhelming debate between unworthy Christian evangelicals and an opportunistic Mormon," the piece laments.—D.S.
Caleb Crain writes a 4,500-word lament in TheNew Yorker on the decline of reading. While as chilling as every other essay on how no one reads books any more, its impact is diminished by clunkers like this: "Emotional responsiveness to streaming media harks back to the world of primary orality, and, as in Plato's day, the solidarity amounts almost to a mutual possession."—C.W.
Best Front-of-Book Piece
Newsweek investigates claims that, while governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee fired the director of the state police for refusing to officially deny prosecuting Huckabee's son on charges of animal cruelty. The report, which has been picked up by other news outlets, has the graphic details on allegations that in 1998, a 17-year-old David Huckabee hanged a stray dog from a tree.—C.W.
Best Campaign Piece
New York finds an early predecessor to Mike Huckabee in Pat Buchanan: Both experienced a "rapid rise" after being written off, and both owe this surge to their "organic, potent connection to the Christian right" and "populist economic thrust."—E.G.
Best Anti-Trend Piece
An article in the Weekly Standard argues that "reports of the demise of social conservatism have been greatly exaggerated." Reaching broadly into Western political history, the writer explains that social conservatism is a response to the social-issues definition of the left, and "continues to be the essential building block of republican presidential majorities."—D.S.
Best Foreign-Policy Piece
An item in the Weekly Standard wonders what Iraq's silent boycott of the Annapolis peace summit—even after much courting by the United States—says about Iran's continued influence on the country.—D.S.
Best Business Piece
Newsweek's Stephen Levy ponders the "peachfuzz billionaires" of Silicon Valley and the social computing boom. Levy, who summarizes the movement as "Don't Fund Anyone Over 30," notes that a lot of innovation is driven by youthful ignorance to the low probability of success. But there's still hope for the graybeards: TiVo, after all, was created by two guys over 35.—C.W.
Best Culture Piece
TheNew Yorker dotes on the sweet-and-sour relationship between celebrated short-story writer Raymond Carver and his editor, Gordon Lish, whose drastic omissions are often cited as crucial to forging Carver's reputation as a minimalist. (His penchant for red pen also eventually ended their friendship.)—C.W.
Best Art Story
Newsweek chronicles one of the world's most successful art forgery studios. It took a mistake in the cuneiform on a supposed Assyrian relief, spotted by an official at a British museum, for Scotland Yard to finally nab the forgers, who are estimated to have made as much as $4 million off fake masterpieces.—C.W.
Best Photo Spread
New York captures the men and women who "keep the city fed, housed, and healthy." The undocumented workers, wishing to remain anonymous, are seen only from the neck down; the piece includes images of a hand ladling soup, and a garbage can that, at first glance, seems to be emptying itself.—E.G.
In the Weekly Standard, Slate contributor Christopher Hitchens reviews Eric Felten's How's Your Drink? Cocktails, Culture and the Art of Drinking Well. Hitchens pats Felten on the back for a "muscular" argument against "sickly" drink-naming trends, and calls his book "a superb guide to the world of the cocktail, and a handsome tribute to the bold society that produced it."—D.S.
When New York asks a 3-year-old why she is reading the children's book How To Build a Snowman, she responds, "I want to build a snowman."—E.G.
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