Editors' Letter: Lost & Found
Bitch’s relationship with that crazy series of tubes known as the Internet has been marked by emotions ranging from mild curiosity to passionate indifference. The magazine was born in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay Area, which was also ground zero for much web- related hoopla—Wired, Yahoo!, and the short-lived Future Sex magazine, among other entities. From a zeitgeist perspective, our little paper zine was in exactly the right place at exactly the wrong time.
Back then, publishing was posited as either/or: Either you were web-only, and therefore awesome, or you were print-only, and therefore some kind of hippie Luddite. These days, there seems to be more fluidity; it’s a “both, and” kind of situation. Which we appreciate, as it has allowed us to work on overhauling our own website at a rather leisurely pace while reassuring people that Bitch is not totally late to the party that’s been in full keg-tapping swing for several years. All this is to say: Get ready for more Bitch over the next few months, as we relaunch the Bitch site with blogs, daily content, and all the Web 2.0 bells and whistles our teeny-tiny budget can buy.
Everyone at Bitch loves print for all the usual reasons. Magazines are tangible, portable, and pretty; plus, they can conceivably last forever (as long as the acid-free paper holds out, at least), which is nice for those of us with a slight hoarding problem. And so we cannot deny that, when the End of Print failed to materialize at the end of the 1990s, we felt gleefully vindicated. But as many of you are doubtless sick of hearing us say, times have gotten worse for magazines lately, particularly those with a social bent. And in keeping with the theme of this issue, we’re holding a eulogy for a bunch of our favorites—many of which, like Bitch, started up in print well after the rise of the web, defying trends and delighting readers (page 52). We already miss these magazines—but of course, several live on in web form, which many not-magazine-obsessed people no doubt think is exactly the same. (And to that we ask: Do you keep your laptop in the bathroom? Never mind; we don’t need to know.)
Elsewhere on the Lost & Found tip, earlier this year when a writer pitched us to say she wanted to cover the subject of eating disorders within the fat acceptance movement (page 40), we had two immediate thoughts. The first was, “Hmm, intriguing.” The second? “This writer might want to consider a pseudonym.” Indeed, this may be the first piece in Bitch history to garner reader mail before it was even published. Eating disorders and the societal fear of fat are reliably hot-potato subjects for this magazine, and we’re making space right now in the next issue for your letters responding to it. (Or, you know, perhaps we’ll run them on our website!)
So read on for these and other tales of losing and finding: one women’s improbable embrace of Christian rock (page 86); the return of the j.a.p., that much-reviled stereotype (page 46), and an interview with Susan Faludi (page 34), who influenced many a budding feminist with her book Backlash and whose new work, The Terror Dream, looks at the cultural meanings that were both lost and found in the wake of 9/11. Enjoy them all. —Eds.
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