The SXSW Slog Begins

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sxsw.jpgAfter listening to our flight attendant—a former auctioneer from Dallas—rattle off emergency escape instructions in double time and then tell jokes about her co-workers for the entire flight (one was a former Miss Dallas, the other Southwest’s steward of the year), I arrived in Austin, Texas, in high spirits.

I’m here to cover SXSW, Austin’s ginormous film-music-interactive festival that draws (last I heard) about 10,000 folks from around the country (and abroad) to the Texas capitol.

Before I start really digging into things here in Austin, a few quick observations:

1. Bars serve beer until 2 a.m. in Austin. Not 1:30, not 1:45, but 2 a.m.
2. The two people sitting on either side of me on my flight into Austin talked about the Eliot Spitzer scandal a lot. No one I’ve met so far at SXSW seems to care.
3. I’ve seen 3 Ron Paul bumper stickers so far.
4. Lou Reed is a very funny man (more on that later).
5. I’m surrounded by a lot of other white dudes in their 20s and 30s wearing plaid shirts, jeans, and Vans; and it’s kind of bugging me out. Yikes.

—Gary Moskowitz

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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