Julian Dibbell on Sat, 7 Feb 1998 07:47:25 +0100 (MET)

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Re: <nettime> The Californian Demonology

Reading through the entertaining and generally right-on responses to
Richard Barbrook's latest, I stumbled momentarily over Ted Byfield's casual
assertion, regarding nettime's Satanic Day-Glo nemesis, that "the
magazine's dying." I won't argue for or against the assertion, but it
alerted me to the strange fact that nobody on this list seems to have made
any mention of the tremendous and, I think, encouraging changes that took
place at Wired late last year.

For those who haven't heard: Louis Rossetto, the wicked witch of the west,
is dead. So to speak. He has been lopped off the top of the masthead and
denied any role in the magazine whatsoever. Some of you will be tempted to
see his ejection as the digital equivalent of Pol Pot's "ouster" from the
Khmer Rouge, I guess, but I don't. The women who took over the positions of
editor and managing editor, Katrina Heron and Martha Baer (a friend of
mine, I should note), are not in deep sympathy with Rossetto's worldview,
and as far as I can tell, they made sure he was going to be well out of
their hair before they accepted their new jobs. (The mere fact that they
*are* women, of course, hardly addresses the full range of criticisms that
have been leveled at the magazine here and elsewhere, but it sure addresses
one of them.)

Will they "fix" Wired? Can it be fixed? For now, who knows? In the
meantime, may I propose a general moratorium on sniping? Those inclined to
write the magazine off as no longer relevant, I think, should withhold
their final judgments until the new editors have had a chance to show their
stuff. Those inclined to keep expending effort beating up on Wired, on the
other hand, should consider that even the slickest commercial magazines are
collective creations, with various tendencies in various degrees of
ascendence, and that it's just possible the tendency newly risen at Wired
might be worth applauding.

It's just a thought.

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