reviewed by Tom Hartman

Published in Issue No. 32 ~ January, 2000

I wish I could feel more strongly about this site. aLT TeXT
starts off well enough with a striking graphic of a breaking
ocean shore with a simple black background overlaid with yellow
and white lettering. Alt Text calls itself “a two-way interaction
(Is there any other sort?) between reader and writer, or writer
and artist.” The site features various “facets”: episodes, images,
and rants.

The episodes section is the most substantial, featuring works specifically
designed for the Web. Currently featured is Richard Rutter’s “Fumbling
for Lip Balm” – a fairly mediocre narrative about a guy with a hangover
stumbling around the streets of London who finally decides to “flop from
job to job and lie dead-man-floating on top of each problem until it’s
squashed”. Not altogether inspiring, but an interesting enough piece with
a nice picture of the London underground behind it.

More substantial was the poem by Mark Pist entitled “The Kiss of the

Kiss me sweet mother and show me

everything I have forgotten

A haunting picture of a forlorn-looking little girl serves as its epilogue.

Ben Edwards, the producer and designer of aLT TeXT, features his
own work “Inside Out”, a meditation on how “lonely commonly has a negative
stigma associated with it…but our very individual singularity is to
blame.” I was not in an analytical mood, but there was some good writing here,
complemented by striking, austere graphics and handwritten fonts.

The “images” section features some fairly average photographs: a tombstone
angel, some dolphins at sunset, some basketball players. Apparently, all are images that the folks at aLT TeXT find “intriguing,
visually appealing, or funny in some way”, but I don’t know, maybe something was
lost in the translation. You can submit your own opinion if you’re so

The “rants” section proved interesting, if a little disturbing. It claims
to be a “moderated” forum where visitors can air their views – its stated
aim being to encourage “thoughtful posts that will, hopefully, blossom
into intelligent discussions.” No such luck here, when you have people
like Boone discussing “what’s wrong with girls”; Adam counseling Willy
about his relationship problems (“break it off”); and Richard Wayne Anderson,
who refers to himself as a “somewhat angst-ridden painter that resebels
[sic] Jesus, Oppy, Kurt Kobain [sic] and Beck.” All I can say is that
maybe a little more moderation is in order for this to become the profound
philosophical forum that it was originally intended to be.

aLT TeXT is best described as “promising”: there’s nothing
really wrong with it, but it doesn’t exactly knock my socks off, either.
Maybe I’ll check back in a couple of months. Until then, keep trying guys.

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Tom Hartman has been a regular contributor to Pif since 1999. He lives in Philadelphia.