Internet cure; the joys of e-mail delivery.

Internet cure; the joys of e-mail delivery.

Internet cure; the joys of e-mail delivery.

Policy made plain.
Dec. 14 1996 3:30 AM

Internet cure; the joys of e-mail delivery.

(763 words; posted Friday, Dec. 13; to be composted Friday, Dec. 20)

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Just Call Us Lourdes.com
     Many extravagant claims are made for the Internet: that it will change the nature of human thought, that it will be a fantastic engine of productivity and economic growth, and so on. At S
LATE, we like to think of ourselves as being somewhat skeptical about these lavish claims. This week, though, we find ourselves promoting an even more flamboyant assertion: The Internet can cure dreadful diseases. The novelist Muriel Spark was one of our first S LATE diarists and the first person to be invited to write the "Diary" again. In her original "Diary," Dame Muriel described how shingles had made it hard for her to walk. In her entry for Monday, Dec. 9, in this, her second round, Dame Muriel reveals how a courier arrived within two days of her first postings bearing a miraculous cure unavailable in Italy, where she lives. Naturally, we're feeling quite smug. Is S LATE like the kings whose mere touch was once thought to have curative powers? Or are we more like Lourdes (for Catholics) or the Western Wall (for Jews): a place you go to appeal for divine intervention against your afflictions? We leave the details up to Steve Chapman and Andrew Sullivan (whose " Dialogue" about the existence of God continues, Chapman not yet having been struck by lightning). All we wish to point out is that a visit to slate.com is a lot more convenient than a pilgrimage to Lourdes. Please report any further medical breakthroughs--or miracles of any sort, for that matter--attributable to reading S LATE to letters@slate.com, subject line "S LATE miracles." (And by the way, there already is, of course, a Lourdes.com. It's the Web site of a hospital in Binghamton, N.Y.)

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Michael Kinsley is a columnist, and the founding editor of Slate.