Justice Department Settlement
In settlement of a dispute with the Justice Department, Slate has agreed to discontinue "bundling" its Back of the Book with the rest of the magazine. We take this opportunity to inform our readers that they are under no obligation to read the music or movie reviews, or to follow the gardening column, or to listen to the poem, in order to consume the news and political analysis. Subscribers to Slate on Paper who wish to receive a culture-free edition, with all the reviews and other artsy-fartsy stuff sliced out at no extra charge, can e-mail us at email@example.com, and we'll be happy to oblige.
It was the Justice Department's position in this controversy that a magazine of news analysis and a review of culture are two fundamentally different products, and that Slate's merging of the two was a subtle effort to foist culture on an unwilling political readership. It was Slate's position that the typical Slate reader is highly educated, civic-minded, intellectually curious, culturally sensitive--also brave, debonair, and sweet-smelling--and that these admirable qualities are intertwined, leading each of our readers to value a wide variety of Slate offerings. "The so-called 'front' and 'back' parts of Slate are as inseparable as Windows 95 and Internet Explorer 4.0," declared Slate publisher Rogers Weed. "And everybody knows you can't get more inseparable than that."
In such situations we like to ask ourselves, what would Lakshmi Gopalkrishnan have done? Lakshmi is Slate's co-managing editor and, as it happens, her office is just down the hall, so the easy thing would have been to go and ask her. But the easy thing is not always the right thing. And our decades of combined experience as newspaper and magazine journalists tell us that the right thing is to speculate. We speculate that Lakshmi would have wanted us to settle. So we settled.
In response to Slate's concessions, Attorney General Reno personally agreed to drop a demand that Slate review more mystery novels and, in the language of the DOJ brief, "get rid of that fool Weisberg with all deliberate speed."
Michael Lewis joins Slate this week as a regular columnist. Michael's first book, Liar's Poker, a description of his life at Salomon Brothers, is the definitive account of the 1980s on Wall Street. His most recent book, Trail Fever, is a highly idiosyncratic and entertaining account of the 1996 election. The words "entertaining" and "1996 election" don't sit easily together, but take our word for it. Or, better yet, buy the book.
For Slate, Michael will be engaged in a yearlong project to update William Whyte's The Organization Man, the classic book about the business culture of the 1950s. He will be filing dispatches weekly, from his base in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, and we hope they will add up to an equally compelling portrait of the business culture of the 1990s. Michael's first column will appear Tuesday, Oct. 28 (or thereabouts).
Welcome to America Online
A hearty welcome--or "HWELLLLL-kum," as AOL puts it--to our new readers from America Online. Slate is scheduled to take up residence Monday, Oct. 27, as an anchor tenant on AOL's news-channel newsstand. Of course Slate continues to be available on MSN and directly on the Web at slate.com.
And for America Offline ...
There is yet another new way to read Slate, or at least a part of it. The Slate "Briefing" Channel is open for business on Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0. (Download IE4 here if you want. Or--yes, fine, OK--download the latest version of Netscape Navigator here.) The Slate "Briefing" Channel is an automatic daily download of new material from Slate's Briefing section ("Today's Papers," "The Week/The Spin," "Summary Judgment," "In Other Magazines," etc.). If you've installed Internet Explorer 4.0, click here for more about (and a chance to download) the channel.
And for You Netscape Users ...
We love you too. Slate and Netscape have agreed in principle for Slate to join Netscape Navigator's Inbox Direct program, which delivers Web pages directly to your e-mail inbox. Coming soon.