We Happy Few

Michael Kinsley on boycotting the Web.

We Happy Few

About 17,000 people had signed up for Slate by the middle of this week, a day or so after we became a paid-access site. For reasons explained in “Readme” last week, we’re very pleased with that number. Thanks, and welcome to all our members. And to those of you who are reading this on our “front porch” (free area): Come on in! Click here to subscribe.

Keep in mind that in America, you get what you pay for. The version of this column available only to subscribers is not the rather perfunctory sales pitch you see before you. It is an extravaganza of witty jokes, brilliant political insights, the startling confessions of five women who claim to have slept with President Clinton in the past week (three of whom say they also slept with Special Prosecutor Ken Starr, one simultaneously), the details of Microsoft’s plans to incorporate Puerto Rico into the next generation of its Internet browser, a sonnet in memory of Lloyd Bridges, a special offer for laundry detergent, and a secret password that will get you into the hidden pages of any sadomasochistic site on the Web (with the exception of

Subscribers will confirm that it’s heaven on this side of the wall: The sun always shines, all people are beautiful and kind, there is rice pudding for dessert–and seconds! So please do join us.

A Quiet Word to Subscribers

If anyone asks, please do us a favor and confirm the preposterous lies in the preceding item. Feel free to substitute your favorite dessert or to embroider and fabricate generally. We’re all in this together now.

Navigational Notes

Those reading Slate on Internet Explorer 4 should be sure to take advantage of the new “nav bar” that runs across the top of each page. By clicking on the various section headings, you can get a drop-down list of their current contents and go directly to any article or feature in Slate. We will soon be adding this bar at the bottom of pages, too (in the optimistic belief that even in fin desiècle America, some people will a] finish reading an article and b] wish to read another). We will also be providing the nav bar to users of Netscape Navigator 4. (Click for a free download of the latest version of Explorer or Navigator.)

If you’re already a subscriber to Slate, you don’t need to subject yourself to the vulgar sales pitch we impose on newcomers to Nor must you remember that damned password and user name. Just check the box that says, “From now on, sign me in automatically” (right below the sign-in boxes). Next time you come to Slate, you’ll go directly to the table of contents.

Boycott the Web

You can avoid the Web completely, if you want, by signing up for e-mail delivery. SlateonPaper, e-mailed each Friday, is a text-only compilation of most of what Slate has published during the week. It is formatted for printing out on standard-size paper. “Today’s Papers” is also delivered daily via e-mail. These services are available to subscribers only. Click here to sign up for e-mail delivery. Last week we purged our delivery lists of people who hadn’t subscribed. If you’re a subscriber and your delivery was discontinued, please accept our apologies, and sign up again.

Scouts’ Honor

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–Michael Kinsley