What's new in the Economist, Monocle, and Harper's.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Feb. 20 2009 2:50 PM

Winslet's Win

Time pre-emptively dubs her "Best Actress."

Time, March 2
The cover story profiles Kate Winslet, who is the youngest actor to be nominated for six Academy Awards. (The cover says, merely, "Best Actress.") The key to her success? "In an industry that insists that most actresses remain giggly, pliable and princessy well into middle age, Winslet has somehow avoided that pigeonhole entirely." Further "cementing her status as an icon of the Era of New Seriousness, she really likes hard work." An essay celebrates a silver lining of the recession, "the immense incentive it gives retailers to treat you like a queen for a day." Where shoppers and diners once encountered "surly" staff, "now the customer rules, just for showing up." The author hopes that after having "lived in an age of wanton waste," Americans will maintain some of their present frugality, "practicing conservation that goes far beyond our own bottom line."

New York Times Magazine, Feb. 22
The cover story follows a patient through the new Undiagnosed Diseases Program at the National Institutes of Health, where a team of top medical specialists works "to achieve a more coherent view" of patients whose conditions have baffled other doctors. One patient, Summer Stiers, has confounded her doctors in Oregon for more than 20 years, as "her health declined bit by bit, unpredictably, from her head to her toes." After spending a week at the NIH, Stiers leaves with neither a firm diagnosis nor a cure for her ailments, but she hopes that her contributions to the innovative "collective approach" will one day pay off. An article views President Obama's time in the White House as "some kind of public experiment in child-rearing." Like all parents, Obama is "[s]tarting with the rules, then finessing them" but with less room for error, because "there isn't a therapist's couch large enough for 300 million" Americans.

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Economist, Feb. 21
A feature probes the recent closures of factories in a region of southern China that had been "one of the world's fastest-whirring economic engines—a global hub in the manufacture of clothing, shoes and electronics—serviced by tens of millions of migrant workers." Although the trouble is partly due to the global recession, "there are also worries that it is in fact tied to profound flaws in the Chinese economy." While China produces high-quality products for other companies, the country is not home to many "strong brands" of its own. Shady property rights and intellectual property laws "and a financial system skewed in favour of big, state-controlled companies" may also play a role. An article examines unrest in the French Caribbean territory Guadeloupe, where "economic grievances" and "racial tension" led to a strike among workers, who are demanding an increase in the monthly minimum wage.

Monocle,February 2009
The cover story focuses on Iceland after "the 8 October failure of the banking system rocked the island to its core." After "riding an all-time high" with increased tourism and an Olympic win last summer, Icelanders now fear the "highly skilled and globally minded" younger generations will desert the island to find work in Continental Europe. "[O]thers feel that it's their patriotic duty to come back and help," particularly Icelandic artists and filmmakers. An article explains why private military contractors are looking to Africa after making billions in Iraq. The increasing presence on the continent of the United Nations and Africom, the newly founded U.S. military unified command, ought to provide many opportunities for "security, training, and support" from independent contractors. The U.S. military hopes for 50 percent civilian employment to advance "disease control and poverty alleviation."

Harper's, March 2009
In the cover story, the author flits around this year's Frankfurt Book Fair, a weeklong event devoted to "quick meetings and international good fellowship and devastating draughts of cheap prosecco and allowing the pleasure of talking about books to intensify into the pleasure of selling them." (At least, this is true for the Americans in attendance.) Visitors encountered Nigerian book publishers "boxed in between the Uzbeks and the Kurds and the Romanians." Despite "the relentlessness of the apocalypse" predicted to befall the publishing industry, some larger-than-life icons continue to flaunt "insupportable advances" at such events. An essay compares "the tonality, the pitch, [and] the cadences" of President Barack Obama to those of Nelson Mandela. Both speak with "a kind of urgent, self-evident morality," suggesting "men convinced of higher responsibilities," but the author wonders whether the presidency will "mark the onset of political impotence" for Obama, as it did for Mandela.

Must Read
The New York Times Magazine spends three entertaining days with outlandish, unapologetic actor Rupert Everett.

Must Skip
New York
's cover story on Kate Moss is a rambling dialogue between the model and her business partner and friend at British clothing chain Topshop.

Best Culture Piece
TheNew Yorker's profile of a Mumbai slum draws attention to the gritty details of daily life that a viewer of Slumdog Millionaire  might have missed.

Best Politics Piece
The Weekly Standard cover story makes a strong case for beefing up U.S. law enforcement with stimulus funds and questions the perceived national decrease in violent crime.

Who Knew?
On its back page, Harper's notes "that London traders with relatively long ring fingers earn eleven times as much money as do men with short ring fingers" and "[g]irls are better than boys at recognizing sweet and sour tastes."