Net Gains: Salon selective

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The Independent Culture
There are thousands of e-zines on the Web which espouse the qualities of the original fan-zine movement: passion, commitment, erudition. This doesn't mean that many of them are much good, however. The movement has broadened, though, and now includes on-line publications whose accessibility would seem to be e-zine heresy.

When it comes to Suck (www.suck.com), the true believers may have a point. Each day an essay opens this pop culture site with a polemical attempt to do justice to Suck's motto: "a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun". The same self-regard has infected the impressive site design and lay-out.

The Onion, a weekly spoof newspaper, is more like it. Its subject is the absurdity of the print media - not a revelation, granted. But it's the detail of its pastiche - the layout, the strident tone of the ridiculous news stories - that carries the Onion through some hit-and-miss gags. And it was the only paper that broke the story rocking the world of comedy: "Robin Williams Still Missing After Three-Day Free-Association Binge."

For the real thing, though, Salon Magazine (above) is a peerless on-line daily (www.salonmagazine.com). Its news coverage isn't its strong point, but in most other respects this handsome lifestyle mag is authoritative. The sum total of its books, health, entertainment, media, people, travel pages may tend to the coffee table, but it's the quality e-zine to beat.

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