Vanity Fair Goes Green over Warming
Byline: Cynthia Grenier, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The merry month of May apparently has Graydon Carter, editor in chief of
Vanity Fair, seeing green. Its cover says as much in its variations on the shade - from the coolest mint to heartier hues in emerald and pine.
There's so much green, in fact, that you can barely make out the features of Al Gore, George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. In case there's any doubt, a bold headline, "Special Green Issue, " proclaims its intent - inside and out - to draw our attention to environmental issues.
Other cover lines (such as "A Threat Graver Than Terrorism: Global Warming" on the left side of the cover) sound the alarm, as does another, "How much of New York, Washington, and other American cities will be under water?" If these don't shock you into a state of anxiety, the cleverly digitalized photographs of the District and New York City sinking under the waves should thoroughly unsettle you. The "worst-case scenario" view of Manhattan with many skyscrapers virtually submerged is equally disturbing - and the accompanying article is ominously titled, "While Washington Slept."
By way of introducing a bit of balance in the issue, a lighter read is offered through a very long and loving profile of Suzy Parker, one of the earliest supermodels. Take note of the captions, though. A few of the more memorable ones - such as "Just like that, Suzy Parker quit modeling to bake bread. ... She was happy to trade fame for a stove" - appear to be there for the purpose of defusing any incipient jealousy on the part of female readers.
The May 4 issue of Rolling Stone comes off the presses with a no-holds-barred cover story by Sean Wilentz, "The Worst President in History? One of America's Leading Historians Assesses George W. Bush." The headline is accompanied by a nasty caricature of Mr. Bush wearing a dunce's cap, and the illustration within the magazine is an even more insulting depiction of the president and Vice President Dick Cheney done up as bandits snickering over a handful of gold coins.
The same issue also features a very strong and moving account of a young sergeant who suffered a major brain injury in Iraq. While critical of the Army, the article also states that modern battlefield medicine is helping soldiers survive injuries that would have killed them in past years.
On a more upbeat note, let me call your attention to the Silver Spring-based Lady Magazine which has just published a special commemorative souvenir edition. The issue is rich in information about the African nation of Liberia, a country whose past may not be well known to many Americans but with a history that is tightly entwined with ours.
The May issue of that sterling monthly the New Criterion has one especially fascinating article. "Revolution for the rich: James's Princess Casamassima, " by Mark Falcoff, explains why this relatively little-known work "is not merely James's great political novel, but his great conservative political novel. …