This was a review I wrote on an 'issue' of Slate magazine. The review is admittedly lacking in substance but I was drunk when I wrote it and I think it's real funny. Also, I saw the pilot episode of Black Donnelly's last night (which can be dl'd for free on itunes). Yikes! The last 7 mins weren't bad but otherwise it felt like it was written by a bunch of 4th graders given to stereotyping. I'm also really curious as to how Hell's Kitchen got an elevated railway system but hey, that's just me. On a positive note Olivia Wilde is dynamite. I might keep watching for her alone. Without further ado, Slate:
The art of the critique is rather intriguing. Is the critic’s responsibility to be the most informed observer of the phenomenon he endeavors to review or should he assume the layman’s perspective? Who is his master? Is it the intelligentsia or the humble masses? The art or the audience? Why should the reviewer remove himself from the art I wish to critique when the elements of self-expression are just as evident in his voice as those he is concerned with? Isn’t the critique a response, just like the work of Masaccio was to that of Giotto or Carrot Top to Gallagher? Idk. With those thoughts on the mind and none of them on display I shall pursue the critique of a new medium of magazine: The Webmag or Ezine, or Webzine, or as I like to call it, the ZinWebaMag.
Slate magazine is doing it’s best to toe that fine line between boring old-form news magazine and useless blog. The audience must skew older because I don’t know who else would read it.
The lead story utilizes the instant format of the medium to report on the fall of the “bus plunge” story from the pages of the New York Times. The dive in coverage began in the 1980’s and seems to have tumbled to a halt five years ago.
The article’s driver, Jack Shafer, is kind enough to provide his readers with a strong dose of Dramamine in the fifth paragraph when he mentions that the drop in “bus plunge” stories was initially mentioned to him over a year ago when writer Tom Miller asked him to investigate.
What follows is either the most inefficient year in the history of investigative journalism or a poorly formed attempt at last minute humor. My antipathy toward Shafer is saved only by the fact that I learned through the article Slate Votes that he has cast his ballot for the Libertarian party in every presidential election since he was eligible to vote. Impressive not only in it’s stubbornness but also in its acumen, imho.
Also worthy of derision in this “issue” of slate is Christopher Hitchens send-up of the Borat movie. I’ve been a fan of Sacha Baron Cohen’s for over five years and I was actually a bit disappointed with the film as well as surprised by how often he goes for the cheap joke in Borat. So it’s not that I disagree with Hitchens - the poor-man’s P.J. O’Rourke – it’s that he sounds like my Grandfather when he’s been up past 8 p.m.
One thing that I think Slate does well is to make links to its other content readily available while reading an article. So, if one happens to be a Diane Arbus fan, and is reading, say, an article by Jack Shafer and about to X out the page, the name Arbus might catch his eye and save him from exiting the site. Each page has not only and Also in Slate column but also a “Most Popular” section. These are clever innovations and certain to be staples of ZinWebaMag pages.
The idea of Slate is certainly progressive and I applaud the transparency that the Slate Votes article promoted. However, imo, I think that they need to be more creative in the ways in which they use the medium. The internet can provide as many opportunities as individuals can think of but they have to be willing to break the mold first.