supermarket illustration

Sex and the Supermarket

Supermarkets represented a major innovation in food distribution—a gendered innovation that encouraged women to find sexual pleasure in subordination.
Womens Home Companion ad

An Ad Campaign for Ads

Back in the 1920s and ‘30s, the magazine Women’s Home Companion tried explicitly appealing to its readers to take the ads seriously.
Wooden retro radio

Before Net Neutrality, There Was Radio Regulation

Before today's fight over net neutrality, the US government debated commercial profitability & popular access in the context of a different medium: radio.
green semi truck

The Populist Power of the American Trucker

How did truckers nudge the American economy toward deregulation?
Starbucks drinks

Why Brands Want To Be Your BFF

Most contemporary consumers consider ourselves too savvy to be taken in by a corporation’s attempts to integrate seamlessly ...
Iran hostage crisis TV

How the Iran Hostage Crisis Changed International Journalism

On November 4th, 1979, Iranian militants took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. They seized 63 Americans, a number later ...
Clothing Rack full of T-Shirts at a Thrift Store

How Thrift Stores Were Born

According to the Association of Retail Professionals, about 16 to 18 percent of Americans shop at thrift stores in any given year.
Padlock laptop

The New Censorship

Americans will rail against the government at First Amendment infringements. But the government isn't the only entity that can censor speech or ideas.
credit cards on dollars

How Credit Reporting Agencies Got Their Power

Early credit reporting companies urged people to “Treat their credit as a sacred trust” and argued that keeping a good credit record was a moral concern.
Juicero patent

The Most Important Rule for Startup Success

Startups often don't play by the rules. But a wifi-enabled juicer may have been "trying to solve a problem that didn't exist."