Slate this week takes pleasure in hosting the Web site of People for the Correct Way—a liberal lobbying group which, strictly speaking, doesn't exist. Attentive readers may notice a pattern here. In recent months, we have posted Web sites for a fictional SUV dealer, an imaginary congressman, and an obsessive yet nonexistent fan of teen-age pop star Mindy D'Stasio, who is also, frankly, made up. (Not heavily made up, as a pop star should be, but completely made up.)
Really attentive readers may have noticed that these seemingly diverse Web sites all have some connection to the city of Blorple Falls, West Carolina (also nonexistent). This is not a coincidence. These sites are part of a new, experimental business partnership between Slate and Blorple Falls, in which Slate will sponsor a regular series of Blorple-related sites. As usual, each will be featured on Slate's Table of Contents for a week, and then will remain available permanently in the archive. In addition, they are quite naturally promoted on the Blorple Falls home page. Over time, we hope these sites will add up to a political-cultural alternate reality, to which Slate readers can retreat when they find the state of culture and politics non-alternative-reality too distressing.
Also this week, we add a second volume to our library of Slate eBooks. A few weeks ago we published Sons: George W. Bush and Al Gore, a compilation of two profiles of the candidates written by Nicholas Lemann for The New Yorker. (One benefit of epublishing is that it's easy to republish as often as you wish. So last week we added to the eBook four drawings by the vice president, which he made to illustrate various points during an interview with Lemann. Click here to see the sketches, and scroll down to the bottom of that page to see our readers' best guesses as to what they mean.) Sons is available free, along with the software necessary to read it, on the Slate eBooks page.
Now we've posted our second eBook, which is actually an offshoot of our first paper book. Later this month PublicAffairs Books will publish The Slate Diaries, a collection of some of our best Diaries from the past four years. You can get a taste now by downloading an eBook containing four Diaries—by radio host Ira Glass; Karenna Gore Schiff, daughter of the vice president; Leslie Carr, a school nurse; and Lucas Miller, an NYPD detective—here. And you can order the paper version here.
Incidentally: Getting an eBook is embarrassingly easy. You just download and install the Microsoft Reader software (click here to do it now), then download the eBook you want. The Reader software is about a 6.75 megabyte file, which can take quite a while to download on a slow modem. On the other hand, it's free—unlike, say, ordering back issues of The New Yorker to get campaign articles by Nicholas Lemann. And the eBooks themselves download in an instant.
But if you don't want to fool with all that, we also offer Slate eBooks as HTML (a k a Web pages). Just click on the HTML link for the eBook you want, and it will be opened in your Web browser. Then click File, Save As to save it for later.
As really, really attentive readers will have figured out by now, this is a new column devoted to touting recent developments in Slate itself. We expect it to combine insight, intelligent synthesis, wit, and deep humility in the tradition of all Slate departments.