Commentary

Handy symbols

In the five years that I spent in Wisconsin, the ubiquitous symbol of Madison liberals’ resistance to the right-wing takeover of the state was the Wisconsin fist. Something about it always bothered me. I always figured that my dislike for … Continue reading

Walter Christaller’s bloomin’ onions

Last week, Twitter took notice that Outback Steakhouse seemed to be planning to cover the United States in an occult pattern of pentangles: Wtf is Outback Steakhouse planning pic.twitter.com/l1CSafkdOK — balenci-who? aga ☭ (@eatmyaesthetics) July 27, 2017 From Arizona to … Continue reading

Buy it here

On Dorchester Ave in South Boston yesterday, we drove beneath a billboard for Bark Thins chocolate. Bark Thins is a brand owned by the Hershey Company of Pennsylvania; the billboard was owned by Clear Channel of San Antonio, Texas; and … Continue reading

Gerrymandering and the whole community

The US Supreme Court’s decision to hear the Gill v. Whitford gerrymandering case is raising hopes that the judicial system will reign in the worst abuses of partisan electoral districting. Academics are partly to thank for the success of the … Continue reading

Enemies far and near

It’s now increasingly clear that the US president has a cozy relationship with the Russian state—a relationship that is at best incautious, at worst sinister. This has understandably whipped the country into another round of political bloodletting. Can it really … Continue reading