Paul Smalera

How to reboot Slate

August 29, 2011

By Paul Smalera
The opinions expressed are his own.

There’s really no schadenfreude to be had for Slate, which laid off four staffers and a few freelancers last week. After all, this is the online magazine that gave birth to a Twitter meme, #Slatepitches, that was instantly understandable by almost anyone who has ever read an article on the site, ever. The publication’s formula of taking an already counter-intuitive conceit for a story and adding an extra inversion might be easy to poke fun at, but it’s also become, like so many other of its early innovations, a signature of writing online.

Downgrading democracy

August 8, 2011

By Paul Smalera
All views expressed are his own.

The Washington debt ceiling debate over these past months was the throwing open of the doors to the democratic slaughterhouse — let’s please not ever complain again about not being able to watch the sausage get made. Though our media window onto the killing floor surely contributed to the S&P’s downgrade of U.S. debt, that’s not an entirely bad thing, as I’ll explain in a moment.