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Category Archives: Advertising

Harper’s Weekly, April 16, 1904.I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something subtly disturbing about this ad.

The Daily Inter-Ocean, May 22, 1879. In today’s history lesson, we trace gay nightlife in Chicago back to the first term of the Hayes administration. Read more.

Chicago Defender, February 10, 1917. Read more.

I’m a bit too swamped to restock the Chest today, but I do have some new and partially recycled content up over at the new annex hosted by the Chicago Reader. Feel free to throw up some comments there: The noise of chirping crickets is becoming unnerving.

GrishnackhI’m going to break the flow here to link to an essay I just wrote for the Chicago Reader about a certain tendency in American documentary filmmaking. I’m getting some pretty entertaining blow-back from an incensed fan of Norwegian black metal. That’s a kind of music, dontcha know.

exodusPrinters’ Ink, July 26, 1923. Encouraged by the likes of the Chicago Defender and their own plain-as-day self-interest, Southern blacks began heading north in huge numbers in the Teens and Twenties, trading lynch law and cotton-picking debt-peonage for better paid urban industrial jobs and relative civil liberties. From the perspective of their erstwhile employers, this had to be the result of conspiratorial agitation by radicals and no-goodniks, who were messing with the minds of the impressionable colored folks. Hence the decision to fight back with this awesomely misconceived “Negroes, remember your place” propaganda campaign. Read More »

hi-lobrow Printer’s Ink, October 25, 1923. Printer’s Ink was the house organ of the national advertising trade, so this is advertising aimed at advertisers. I wonder why they didn’t just say ‘Middle Brow’ instead of ‘High-Low Brow.’ Anyway, health clearly resides in the middle term. Mr. High Brow is plainly a close cousin to our wimpering friend Merciful Percival. Mr. Low Brow was violent and erratic even before they put the steel plate in his head. But look out for Mr. In-Between, that noble synthesis of virility and intelligence. That’s your desired demographic in outdoor advertising. Once you sell him your pomade, antimacassar or celluloid shirt color, the dweeb and the ape will meekly follow his decisive lead.