What the hell is this all about?


It was my third week living in San Francisco, and for something like the three hundredth time I cursed myself for not owning a camera, picturesque city that it is. But this time was different. I had just gotten off work, and decided to venture up to North Beach where all the Beat writers soaked up bourbon and spouted verse in the ’50s.

I passed through the downtown hotel district, which was especially glitzy for the Black and White Ball, a sort of high school prom for mid-life crisis millionaires. Every year, those with access to a limo deck out in slick black tuxedoes and shimmering white party gowns to strut through Union Square. The whole area is dressed in blinding black and white — like a scene from one of those Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire movies. I was taking it all in when I heard a loud snort coming from the ground. I looked down and saw her.

Framed by black and white she looked even more grey than she really was — dingy, mean, and toothless. Dressed in clothes stereotypical of the homeless and draped in newspaper, she looked like she could be an extra in some post-modern production of Oliver Twist; hardly suitable for center stage in a Fred and Ginger musical.

But I didn’t have a camera. If I had, the photo of this poor defenseless woman would probably be among these pages. With one click, I imagined, I could have shown the world a slice of truth about the human condition — man’s inhumanity to man, the gap between the rich and poor, and all that other starry-eyed stuff. Instead, I tell you about it in early-morning jumbled prose, and it’s probably better for all concerned.

But truth is where you find it. The hard part is telling others about the little bits of truth we discover. But then again it’s harder still not to tell. That’s why we made Hellraiser Central: because we have something to say, and we believe that our readers do as well. Each feature in HC is a chance for all of us to spout off, to be ourselves, and to encourage each other. Here’s how you do it:

  • Begin with HOT!media, where our smarty-pants writers give you the lowdown on what’s hot (and not so hot) in film, television, books, music, and on the Web.

  • Our readers can catch the spotlight in Hellraiser , a profile of someone who got off their ass and is making a difference.

  • Then there’s Sideshow. This is where we showcase our regular comic strips, as well as up-and-coming artists on the edge (of success, or sanity — you decide.) Sideshow emphasizes the more ironic side of life, on and off the ‘net.

  • Don’t know how or where to expend your Hellraising energy? ACTION!alerts will be a regular guidepost to things that are worth your effort.

  • And if all of this is still not enough, ACTIVE!links will point you to worthwhile spots out on the Web.

The MoJo Wire staff welcomes you to Hellraiser Central — our leap onto the webzine bandwagon. Perhaps we all just had a few too many coffees and a few too many ideas. Perhaps the webzine will go the way of the imitation-wood-paneled station wagon. Oh well, I’ll always have my photography to fall back on.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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