“But it is pretty to see what money will do.” So says London diarist Samuel Pepys in his March 21 1666, entry. And he’s right. Money can “answereth all things” according to Ecclesiastes; it “doesn’t talk, it swears” according to Bob Dylan; it’s “good for bribing yourself through the inconveniences of life” according to Gottfried Reinhardt; it’s that “clinking, clanking sound” that makes the world go round” according to the Cabaret emcee; “it’s better than poverty, if only for financial reasons” according to Woody Allen. Money can even purchase the wherewithal for a personal credo: “I believe in meditating in the tub with some very nice bath products,” Oprah declares. “Origins Ginger Bath is one I use a lot.” Well, I suppose meditating is a fine and centering thing, as long as one meditates with rather than on… More…

These are days of crisis for the publishing industry in general and for journalism in particular. The grand newspapers of record — like the New York Times, the London Times, Le Monde — have been slashing budgets and trying to figure out ways to survive in the transformed media environment that the Internet and financial instability have wrought.

Morgan Meis has a PhD in Philosophy and is a founding member of Flux Factory, an arts collective in New York. He has written for n+1, The Believer, Harper’s Magazine, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. He won the Whiting Award in 2013. Morgan is also an editor at 3 Quarks Daily, and a winner of a Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers grant. A book of Morgan’s selected essays can be found here. He can be reached at morganmeis@gmail.com.

Part of Chicago froze in the 1930s. I’ve been thinking of my old home city of Chicago a lot lately, and of my new home in Berlin. The thread that ties them together seems to be that they’re both stuck in time. In the same time. They have one foot in this chaotic contemporary period, but the other is still in the 1920s and early ’30s, each summed up as a Bob Fosse experience (Chicago and Cabaret).

The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago by Douglas Perry. 320 pages. Viking Adult. $25.95.

And why not? It was a glamorous age for both. Berlin had its cabarets, Otto Dix, sex, and liquor. Chicago had its speakeasies, gangsters, and gunner girls. With what followed — rubble for one, crime and poverty for the other… More…

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! The newspaper, Information Age dinosaur, superannuated leftover from the glory days of mass culture, cheap and disposable booster of middlebrow department stores and network TV shows, is about to become next year’s $299 chambray work shirt, the must-have accessory for signaling one’s artfully off-handed connoisseurship. Kill your Facebook page. Forget everything you know about Twitter. Box up your iPad. The age of heritage news is upon us.

 On July 29, Monocle — the magazine for creative class hipsters whose idea of a good read is a tastefully edited tote bag — is publishing a 60-page summer newspaper called Monocle Mediterraneo. No preview is available, but promotional copy on Monocle’s website informs potential consumers that the paper will be on sale at “all the best resorts, from the West Coast… More…

Tom Bissell is a David Foster Wallace man. I mean that specifically. DFW’s essay collection A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again contains “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction.” In that essay, Wallace wrote these momentous sentences:

Most scholars and critics who write about U.S. popular culture … seem both to take TV seriously and to suffer real pain over what they see. There’s this well-known critical litany about television’s vapidity, shallowness, and irrealism. The litany is often far cruder and triter than what the critics complain about, which I think is why most younger viewers find pro criticism of television far less interesting than pro television itself.

It would be difficult to overestimate the relief this sentence brought to many critics under the age of 40. It signaled that we had definitively turned the page on an era in which you had to go through the motions… More…

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) held its annual convention in Chicago recently, and I was there. Let me make clear at once that I am not a member of this august body but am instead married to someone who is; I was thus in the logistical position to report (with some admitted bias) on the proceedings.

ASCO is a big organization, and its members engulfed the city. Everywhere I looked, disheveled men and women could be seen carrying over-the-shoulder ASCO satchels and leafing through behemothian ASCO Convention Proceedings. Only Chicago and Orlando have convention centers big enough to accommodate the more than 30,000 doctors, researchers, drug company representatives, and sundry others attached to the cancer industry who attend this meeting each year. And although Orlando has hosted on occasion, there’s a certain dissonance in talking about myeloma in the morning and visiting Mickey Mouse in the afternoon. Chicago,… More…

In your living room, the broadcast age is over. Remote controls, VCRs, DVRs, on-demand cable, videogame consoles, Netflix, and the Internet killed it. But at the gas pump, broadcast lives on in its purest, most potent form, like an ostensibly slain slasher movie villain who’s come back from the dead, stronger than ever. It is an awesome thing to behold.

 

Gas Station TV, a digital network founded by former Yahoo! advertising executive David Leider in 2006, can now be seen at 1,000 stations across the country. When you being fueling, an all-weather, 20-inch LCD screen on top of the pump springs into action, playing a 4.5-minute loop of newzak, infotainment, and lots and lots of commercials. PumpTop TV and Outcast, two similar networks that have formed a partnership with each other to… More…

I don’t need an iPad. I don’t want an iPad. But every few days for the last two months, I’ve spent some time thinking about whether or not I need an iPad, or want an iPad. Apple’s TV commercials for the product aren’t making me ask these questions. Neither are all the cool things an iPad can reportedly do. I’ve heard there are apps for magazines like Wired and Sports Illustrated that are so remarkable they’re going to save the magazine industry, but I have no idea what makes them so mind-blowing. I do read a lot of websites that specialize in showcasing new products, though, and every few days now, at least one of these sites features some new iPad case that catches my eye.

 

It started on April 1, two days before… More…

At just 540 calories, KFC’s new chicken sandwich, the Double Down, makes for a modest meal. Even skimpy Hollywood movie star Megan Fox would have to down nearly five of them each day to sustain her weight of 114 pounds. But if the sodium-drenched morsel seems more tooled for casual snacking than a serious feast, it has certainly satisfied our collective appetite for outrage and controversy. In the lead-up to and aftermath of its national debut three weeks ago, the Double Down emerged as an irresistibly mediagenic, instantly polarizing force, the junk food equivalent of Sarah Palin.

 

In true maverick fashion, the Double Down replaces the plainest, least indulgent part of a traditional chicken sandwich — the bun — with the most delicious part — the chicken. At first glance, this seems like a… More…