Letters to the Editor

Readers blast our redesign; the Balkans isn't a "race thing."

By Letters to the Editor
Published April 12, 1999 3:48PM (EDT)

Welcome to the new Salon


Well, congratulations on repelling me from the ranks of your daily readers. Salon used to be one of the most truly unique Web sites around, with a look-and-feel and editorial style unmatched by any other online publication. Now, with your "site update," you've assumed the blandest common elements of every other commercial Web site and definitively killed the Salon aesthetic. Your gutless revamp incorporates every corporate Web site cliché, from newspaper-style column widths to the cheesy logotype to sickly, generic category titles: Are we to understand that "Sexpert Opinion" and "Urge" will now be found under "Health and Sex"? It's sad and disheartening -- Salon could have been the New York Times of the Web, upholding a certain editorial vision that held fast against ugly design trends. Your redesign absolutely reeks of market research and focus groups, with an obvious bent towards jacking up advertising revenue. Hey, I'm a realist -- I know Salon needs advertisers in order to stay afloat, but I guarantee you're going to lose a large part of the readership that brought you those advertisers in the first place. I hope to God you lost good people over this, and that they will go elsewhere to finish the job Salon started. Au revoir, sellouts!

-- Jay O'Rear

I'm sorry to see you repudiating your "magazine" title and resorting to the information-overload layout so common to other news sites. The old categorized layout I came to know and love eased navigation and put the focus where it should be: on the excellent writing. Suddenly my beloved Salon has become just another caffeinated portal-wannabe trying to be all Web things to all people, and I'm being forced back to the newstand.

-- Courtney Graff

I couldn't believe what I read in this morning's N.Y. Times, but, here I am, and it's true! You've had a fantastic makeover, and captured www.salon.com, while you were at it .

Your changes impress and excite me. I can't help but feel a bit proud, too, even though I've been part of your community for only a few months. You maintain balance on the Web, and you've continued to mature as you grow.

Intelligent, witty, on the spot.

-- Rick Adair

What's up with the new graphics? They're pedestrian and ugly. It's like running into an old friend who's had unfortunate plastic surgery and a really bad haircut.

What's up with the content? Can't find the columns for the ads, and the "new" stuff, like Amy Reiter's People column, is old and redundant. It's as bad as returning to that favorite neighborhood boîte and finding it's now a Pizza Hut.

Do these changes have anything to do with the new and very prominently displayed relationship with Microsoft? Please tell us you haven't sold out ... if you can't do that, then please publish a link to the new site where your creative team has gone, because this new look isn't the smart site with the slick graphics I've come to know.

-- Mary Alice Thring


Love the site, and have been reading for months, but after reading Joe Conason's review of the Isikoff book, and then seeing the "printer friendly version" button at the bottom of the article, I had to write to say "well done." I often print out your articles to share with friends and family (especially those who are Webless). Thank you for thinking of this. Keep up the good work, both in writing and design.

-- Bruce R. Wolff, Ph.D.

Waterloo, Ontario

Darkest Europe


What exactly is the point that the otherwise intelligent and sensitive Rodriguez is making? It's a "race thing" ? How convenient, it seems, that the complexities of the current and past Balkan crisis can be reduced to skin tone. Pardon my lack of sophistication if I can't appreciate the metaphor. His half-hearted history lesson only underscores the continued existence of a "dark underside" in our world at large. Why add to the mire by taking pot shots at churches, language and established order. Change is inevitable, yet it offers no guarantee that the new and improved (multicultural) will be more humane or just.

-- Ron Graziose

Mill Valley, Calif.

Richard Rodriguez's take on Europe was so bizarre it made me laugh out loud like a lunatic for 10 minutes. I'm surprised he didn't finish off the article with " ... and now children, the moral of the story is: White people are evil and all the poor, oppressed victims of the Eurocentric Devil Religion will one day inherit the Earth." Will someone please set Camille Paglia on this guy.

-- Joe Stocker


The working mom myth



Shari Thurer dismisses those who study differences between children of nonworking and working mothers as "hair splitters" who ought to spend their time solving "real" problems like crumbling schools and drug addiction. Fine, but from where does she suppose these problems arise? Teen pregnancy, drug addiction and gang violence occur across the religious, ethnic and financial spectrums. Yet a glaring commonality of life in the United States is that the majority of families no longer have a stay-at-home parent. Of course we should continue studying this. If we can better determine both positive and negative effects, then families can make better decisions, alleviate any unnecessary guilt and try to compensate for problems that come with this type of living situation. If Thurber took her own advice and set aside her own particular agenda, she might see that.

-- Erin Strathmann

San Francisco

Working moms can never rest easy because the next study purporting to show that an employed mother is the root of all evil is inevitably around the corner. Right-wing think tanks can't fund enough of those things, no matter how flawed the research might need to be. Shari Thurer is right: The people who demonize welfare moms (who have the hardest time getting adequate day care) for not working are the same people who can't bear to think of a middle-class mom escaping the kitchen and nursery.

The only solution is a thick skin. I've promised myself that next time I read about a study showing how working moms are the bane of society (funded by the Heritage Foundation or some other right-wing outfit), I'll just shrug before I put the kids on the school bus and I pick up my briefcase to head to work.

-- Ivonne Rovira

Louisville, Ky.

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