What is SALON?

SALON is an interactive magazine of books, arts and ideas. Inside SALON you'll find not only authors, artists and thinkers, but a kinetic community of readers and kindred spirits eager to thrash out cultural issues.

We are inspired by the creative potential of the Internet, but unlike many other Web sites, SALON is not a techno-cult. As refugees from the atrophying world of newspapers and magazines, our primary allegiance is to written communication, to the power of the word. We think of digital technology as an exciting means to an end, but not the end itself.

American journalism has become a pitiful giant, ensnarled by commercial formulas and political tribalisms.Where once its voice shook mountains, it now squeaks cautiously and banally. The Net allows publishers to burst these bonds, to howl again.

It's the duty of writers to speak with a "terrible honesty," in the words of Raymond Chandler. This is the term historian Ann Douglas used to define the ethos of New York in the 1920s, where the high and low, black and white, male and female all came together in jazzy union to create an original American culture. SALON is dedicated to this same fearless creativity.

Cultural ferment was once the province of Greenwich Village bars, Left Bank cafes and North Beach bookstores. But SALON will free these smoky discussions from time and space. Readers from all over the world can drop by at their convenience, and when they do they will always find well-known writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers and multimedia designers as well as other savvy, opinionated readers. We provide the room. The drinks are on you.

SALON stands for a "militant centrism," to use journalist Jim Sleeper's term. In this angry, entropic age, the very idea that Americans share a common ground has become a radical notion. The Internet, which breaks down the distinctions between readers and writers, is the most democratic medium in history. SALON hopes to employ this electronic forum to advance the cause of civic discourse. We believe that communication in the '90s can be more than the ugly cacophony of talk radio. By using technology to bring forth what Walt Whitman called the "varied carols" of our nation, we hope, like that great prophet of democracy, to hear all America singing.

A final note on SALON conversations. We request that you use your real name when participating in a discussion. This makes for a responsible exchange.

We also make a plea for common courtesy. Slander and boorishness don't encourage an enlightening meeting of the minds.

And now, meet your hosts, the staff of SALON [ http://www.salonmagazine.com/12nov1995/bookfront/who.html ].

--The Editors

Copyright 1995