Princess Diana re-emerged in the news this week after a controversial Newsweek story imagined what she would be like at 50. Tina Brown speculated that, had Princess Diana survived the tragic car accident in 1997, she might have gone on to marry a “super-rich hedge fund guy,” date a “high-mindedly horny late-night talk-show host,” sue Rupert Murdoch, become friends with Prince Charles and Carole Middleton, throw herself into humanitarian causes and—of course—get Botox. Many people (including a few at TNR) reacted with horror.
Writers should be excused their obsessions, and they should even be pardoned for writing too much about those obsessions. But Tina Brown, the editor of Newsweek, has decided to make her article on “Diana at 50” the cover story of her magazine. The piece ponders what Diana would have been doing with her life had she not died in Paris. It is almost impossible to do justice to the sheer awfulness of this story.
From A.Q. Khan to … DSK?
May 27, 2011
One of the most striking changes to Newsweek in recent months has been the influx of celebrity authors. The current issue alone contains contributions from Gordon Brown, Cindy McCain, Betty White, and A.Q.
‘Newsweek’ or Trashy Romance Novel?
May 05, 2011
When it came to the nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Tina Brown, the editor of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, truly flooded the zone. In the week of the wedding, the two publications featured an account from Brown herself of the big day; an interactive feature detailing Kate’s trajectory from commoner to princess; assessments of Kate’s dress, her sister Pippa’s dress, the hats, and the possibility that Prince Harry and Pippa might hook up; and a piece from a sex researcher analyzing what Kate and William’s balcony kiss revealed about their love life.
Annals Of Poorly-Timed Profiles
April 25, 2011
Lloyd Grove profiles Barbour for Newsweek: Iowa likes Haley Barbour, who’s set to announce his 2012 plans. In the huge GOP field, don’t bet against him. D'oh. It happens to everybody.
Paul Ryan, Ross Douthat, And The Dream Of An Egalitarian GOP
April 11, 2011
I have a Newsweek column on the philosophical underpinnings of Paul Ryan's "Road to Prosperity." Basically, Ryan is an Ayn Rand nut who thinks the Obama administration's agenda is an eerie reprise of "Atlas Shrugged" and is precipitating a total collapse, and he proposes to address that by slashing tax burdens on the rich and benefits for the poor and sick. Obviously, this is not the interpretation of Paul Ryan that's being conveyed in most of the mainstream media, but I do think it's the one that best fits the available facts. I notice that Ross Douthat today expresses some frustration with
The Toxicity Panic
April 07, 2011
When, armed with an infant, you descend into the nether world of urban playgrounds and playdates and long, searching conversations about upper-middle-class parental obsessions (gluten allergies, Mandarin classes), you’re likely to find yourself wondering whether you’ve joined a genial but nutty sect. Rumor runs rampant; information is so copious and conflicting there might as well be none at all; skepticism and standards of scientific evidence shimmer and vanish at the hint of something to worry about.
February 10, 2011
The mantra goes, “You either love or hate Michelle Rhee.” In the education world, there is no figure as polarizing as the former chancellor of Washington, D.C.’s public schools, who famously warred with the city’s teachers’ union and left abruptly when her boss, Mayor Adrian Fenty, lost reelection last year. Since then, she has started an organization called StudentsFirst to push for education reform nationwide. She announced the group in a Newsweek cover story, and it raised more than $700,000 in its first week.
Michelle Rhee's New Group, New Sacramento Office, and New Union Strategy
December 06, 2010
After months of speculation, former D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee today is unveiling her next move. On this afternoon’s episode of “Oprah” and in this week’s Newsweek, Rhee is announcing the launch of an education advocacy organization called StudentsFirst. (The group’s website also went live this morning). Rhee is dubbing it a “national movement,” with headquarters online, but a source tells me she will be working out of Sacramento, where her new husband Kevin Johnson is mayor. Her office for the time being, I’m told, will be at conservative-leaning Mercury, a p.r.
September 13, 2010
This is a season of liberal disappointment. Or, rather, another season of liberal disappointment. Liberal disappointment follows liberal triumph as night follows day. It is a multitudinous thing, its varieties including, but not limited to, despair, recrimination, impotent rage, potent rage, and existential angst. The genus currently in full bloom is precrimination, a subspecies of recrimination that occurs before the fact. In this case, the liberal argument is that President Obama has blown the 2010 elections by moving too far to the center. My colleague John B.