One Man’s True Experience With the Naked Web

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One thing led to another this weekend, and yesterday I found myself playing around with Internet Explorer on Windows 8.1. It had probably been 20 years since I’d last used it. It turned out to be surprisingly nice once I got everything set up, so then I got curious and set up the tile version too. (That’s the Windows RT version, aka the Metro version, aka the Modern UI version, aka whatever Microsoft is calling it this month.) It was actually fairly nice too. I have a few UI quibbles here and there, but that’s true of every app. Generally speaking, it was pretty good.

But. It turns out that the MUI version of IE doesn’t support add-ons. Don’t ask me why. That means I couldn’t install AdBlock. And holy cow: during the hour or so that I spent checking things out I felt like I was under assault. My browser was deluged with gigantic banner ads, flash ads, auto-play video ads, animated GIF ads, ads that danced across my screen, and a relentless series of popup ads that apparently have figured out how to foil the built-in popup blocker.

I’ve spent the last ten years or so browsing with ad blocking of some kind enabled. This was the first time in a long while that I had been forced to spend time on the naked web, so to speak. Have I just lost my tolerance for this kind of thing? Or has advertising on the web really gotten an order of magnitude worse since the early aughts? This is an academic question, since needless to say I won’t be using the MUI version of IE anytime soon, but I’m still curious. What say you, commenters?

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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