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Notes From An Emergency

A talk from the re:publica conference in Berlin:

The good part about naming a talk in 2017 ‘Notes from an Emergency’ is that there are so many directions to take it. The emergency I want to talk about is the rise of a vigorous ethnic nationalism in Europe and America. This nationalism makes skillful use of online tools, tools that we believed inherently promoted freedom, to advance an authoritarian agenda.

Gerhard Steidl is Making Books An Art Form

Steidl, who is sixty-six, is known for fanatical attention to detail, for superlative craftsmanship, and for embracing the best that technology has to offer. "He is so much better than anyone,” William Eggleston, the American color photographer, told me, when I met him recently in New York. Steidl has published Eggleston for a decade; two years ago, he produced an expanded, ten-volume, boxed edition of “The Democratic Forest,” the artist’s monumental 1989 work. Eggleston passed his hand through the air, in a stroking gesture. “Feel the pages of the books,” he said. “The ink is in relief. It is that thick.”

Rafe Bartholomew is the former features editor at Grantland and the author of Two and Two: McSorley’s, My Dad, and Me.

“I never saw it as something negative because [my dad] comes out, to me, at the end, extremely heroic. … He becomes this dad who I idolized as a bartender, a guy who would hang out with me and make me laugh, a guy I just adored almost every step of the way. I mean, of course, everybody gets into fights. But to me it was always so obvious that he had overcome the problems in his childhood, he’d overcome his own drinking problem, he’d done all these things, and by the time I was older, he’d even found a way to get back into writing and self-publish a couple of books of poems about the bar. So he’s sort of managed to tick off all those goals, just maybe not on the same schedule, maybe not in the most normal way.”

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The Zankou Chicken Murders

The creator of the California-based food chain kills his mother, sister and, finally, himself.

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From Hollywood to Anaheim, he had opened a chain of fast-food rotisserie chicken restaurants that dazzled the food critics and turned customers into a cult. Poets wrote about his Zankou chicken. Musicians sang about his Zankou chicken. Now that he was dying, his dream of building an empire, 100 Zankous across the land, a Zankou in every major city, would be his four sons’ to pursue. In the days before, he had pulled them aside one by one -- Dikran, Steve, Ara, Vartkes -- and told them he had no regrets. He was 56 years old, that was true, but life had not cheated him. He did not tell them he had just one more piece of business left to do.