"The Earthling" will be a monthly column by Robert Wright, contributor to the New Republic and Time, and author of the acclaimed book on evolutionary psychology, The Moral Animal. Other regular Briefing features will include a Press column by our deputy editor, Jack Shafer.
Doodlennium is our weekly cartoon strip by Mark Alan Stamaty, whose "Washingtoon" appeared for many years in the Washington Post and Time. Our SLATE Diary will be an actual daily diary, written and posted every weekday by someone with an interesting mind. Our first diarist is David O. Russell, writer and director of Flirting With Disaster. Our second diarist will be novelist Muriel Spark.
Can There Possibly be More?
Our Features section begins each week with the Committee of Correspondence, our e-mail discussion group. The committee is run by Herbert Stein, a former chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers best-known now for his witty columns in the Wall Street Journal. We have great hopes for e-mail as a medium of debate that can combine the immediacy of talk-television with the intellectual discipline of the written word. We hope for something halfway between The McLaughlin Group and the correspondence page of the New York Review of Books. Will it work? Check out our first attempt--Does Microsoft Play Fair?--and let us know what you think.
The Features section is also where we run longer articles and occasional humor pieces (that is, pieces that are intentionally, or at least aspirationally, humorous). This week in The Temptation of Bob Dole, SLATE's Washington editor, Jodie Allen, cruelly analyzes the arguments for a tax cut. Social critic Nicholas Lemann writes on Jews in Second Place, about what happens to American Jews as Asians replace them at the top of the meritocracy. And the legendary recluse Henry David Thoreau emerges to give SLATE readers an exclusive peek at his new Web page.
In SLATE Gallery, we have a continuous exhibition of computer-based art. You may like or dislike this stuff (we'll have plenty of linked commentary to help you decide). What appeals to us about computer art is that SLATE can show you not reproductions, but the actual art itself. We start with an offering by Jenny Holzer.
This week's reviews include Ann Hulbert's book review of Miss Manners' latest encyclical; Sarah Kerr's television review of the changing fashions in season finales; Larissa MacFarquhar's High Concept column, about how managed care could improve psychotherapy; and Cullen Murphy's The Good Word, about the difference between "Jesuitical" and "Talmudic."
In general, SLATE's Back of the Book will contain a weekly book review, alternating television and movie reviews, and a rotating menu of columns on music (classical and popular), sports, web sites, and other topics. Jeffrey Steingarten will be writing monthly on food ("In the Soup"), Anne Hollander on fashion ("Clothes Sense"), and Margaret Talbot on "Men and Women." Audio and video clips will be offered where appropriate.
Every issue will have a poem, read aloud by the author, with text. In this issue is a new poem by Seamus Heaney.
And coming up soon, two additional Back of the Book features: an interactive acrostic puzzle, and a stock-market contest.
Does SLATE Have a Slant?