What's new in Newsweek,TheNew Yorker, and GQ.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Nov. 25 2008 6:14 PM

One Is Not the Loneliest Number

New York on the myth of the lonely New Yorker.

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New York, Dec. 1
Manhattan isn't as lonely a place as people think, the cover story argues, despite having the highest proportion of single-individual households of any U.S. county. Not feeling alone—as opposed to less significant distinctions like objectively not living alone—extends life expectancy. Like spending time on the Internet, living alone in New York may seem to promote alienation but in reality facilitates more dynamic and wider interaction. The article is a paean to cities—"the ultimate habitat in which to be ourselves"—and to one in particular.... An article explains why Barack Obama selected Hillary Clinton for secretary of state and why she's inclined to accept. Several appointments of close associates show that "the 'team of rivals' meme is vastly overdone." The author argues that this pick reinforces, rather than undermines, the president-elect's dominance over the former first lady—and her husband.

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The New Yorker, Dec. 1 A valuable 12,000-word profile traces pro-free-market Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's unlikely new role as activist regulator. As a professor, Bernanke supported Alan Greenspan's "benign neglect" of the tech bubble; as head of the Council of Economic Advisers, he was sanguine about the emerging housing bubble; for his first year as Fed chair, he continued Greenspan's policies of cheap money and light regulation. Still, the downturn is "more a reflection of the limits to the Fed's power than of Bernanke getting it wrong," says former Princeton colleague Paul Krugman. "And things could have been much worse."... An author checks in with former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. "I was scratching my head," he remarks of the Sarah Palin pick, "saying, 'Hey, wait a minute. She's wonderful, but the only difference was she looks better in stilettos than I do, and she has better hair.' "

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Newsweek, Dec. 1 The cover story, "What Michelle Means to Us," ponders how Michelle Obama's stint as first lady may improve Americans' negative perception of black women and black women's ambivalent perception of themselves. The author says that Mrs. Obama has successfully navigated the line between timidity and Angry Black Womanhood. The essay also examines how Mrs. Obama's "Mom in Chief" role will play in the mommy wars and celebrates the fact that, unlike most African-American models—who tend to be light-skinned and have European features—Mrs. Obama is unequivocally "brown."... Jonathan Alter, who wrote the book on Franklin Delano Roosevelt's famed 100 Days, says Obama is already emulating the 32nd president's moves. FDR conditioned thousands of patronage gigs on passage of his legislation; Obama made Rahm Emanuel, who got many congressmen their jobs, his chief of staff. FDR exploited the new medium of radio to build support for his proposals; Obama has turned to the new medium of YouTube.

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Weekly Standard, Dec. 1 One author concludes that Obama's plan to shutter the prison at Guantánamo Bay will prove overhasty at best and, at worst, detrimental to national security. Included among the roughly 250 detainees are 14 of "high value," some of whom helped plan and execute the 9/11 attacks. The anti-Gitmo backlash is partly the fault of the Bush administration's "strange failure to make its case to the public," its "rightly questioned" interrogation techniques, and the incompetence of its military commissions. That said, without its detention policy, the author asserts, "many more Americans surely would have perished."... An editorial laments Obama's "neither conservative nor Clintonite" economic agenda. Sure, the Bush administration may have intervened to save the banking industry. But that was necessary because "[b]anks are the economy's circulatory system." The same cannot be said of the auto industry, which Democratic legislators will be "more than happy" to bail out in January, according to the author.

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GQ, December A profile in the "Men of the Year" issue follows Gen. David Petraeus during the last days of his stint in Iraq before his transition to U.S. Central Command. A close associate summarizes the general's innovative counterinsurgency strategy: "You have to find other kinds of ammunition, and it's not always a bullet." When Petraeus' father died earlier this year, he did not attend the funeral stateside, saying, "Our soldiers make all the same sacrifices." Petraeus' son has earned his parachuting wings and could be deployed to Iraq.... It turns out that "Icon of the Year" Philip Roth is fairly unexciting, and nobody finds him less exciting than he does himself. "[ Sabbath's Theater ] would be kind of marvelous with Jack Nicholson," Roth says in reference to one of his several novels featuring aging, libidinous male protagonists. "He would understand it."

Marc Tracy is a writer living in New York.

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