The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
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    Mad Magazine Is Over

    Dude, Mad Magazine is over. Maybe Pete Buttigieg made a good move in saying Donald Trump's nickname for him ("Alfred E. Neuman") was outdated.

    Now - It might be podcasts all the time. That could mean entirely different stars because writers aren't necessarily conversationalists. Even publications that seemed permanent like Time or Newsweek might be gone - who knows!!

    Even old ideologies, I think, may be breaking down as a result of the printed word breaking down. All the popular ideologies of the west were distributed through books and pamphlets, from Paine to Marx - it is Islam, Confucianism, African tribal beliefs, etc. that were not so dependent on format.

    Printed word was the basis of western civilization - it catapulted the west overnight, was its bedrock, and we are now seeing what many perceive as its fade from hegemony as the printed word is largely replaced.

    There seemed to be a system that distributed the ideas that made up western civilization and the internet has pushed that aside in favor of a different system entirely. We're still using the terms "left" and "right" though, which is puzzling.

    In the meantime, Cracked magazine has ironically outlived its big brother Mad. is a website known for its wacky Top 10 lists. It shut the doors of its print operation 12 years ago. I'm not sure if it has a podcast. I imagine so. 

    UPDATE: One of the commenters, ocean-kat, here pointed out the probable cause for why journalism is something that still is digested by huge numbers of people but the wealth is not being shared by those producing the labor:

    With Alphabet and Facebook crushing analyst estimates in the second quarter — while Twitter delivered a mixed quarter — it is a tale of two cities when it comes to the three biggest independent U.S. tech companies whose businesses rely on ads.

    In the June quarter, Google reported websites revenue of $15.40 billion, up 24 percent from the prior year’s comparable quarter, roundly beating analyst expectations of $15.01 billion. (This is the number investors focus on when looking at ad revenue, said Raymond James analyst Aaron Kessler.)

    For overall ad revenues — which includes Google websites (the lion’s share at $15.40 billion) and Google Network Members websites ($3.74 billion), Alphabet reported $19.14 billion, an increase of 19 percent year over year.

    It is possible that breaking up Google and Facebook, which is Elizabeth Warren's prescription, might not just alleviate skyrocketing rent in West Coast cities but also revitalize the media operations we grew up with as part of our daily lives.

    UPDATE: As if they knew about this and were prepared for it, Marvel is bringing back Crazy Magazine, a 1970s satire magazine that they ran back in the 1970s. You can read old issues of it free here.


    You're looking at a failing economic model and concluding it's failing because people are reading significantly less. The reality is more people are reading now than ever.

    A study out today from the Pew Research Center offers some vindication for the younger set. Millennials are reading more books than the over-30 crowd, Pew found in a survey of more than 6,000 Americans.

    People are reading on their smartphones, and they are reading a lot. A new Pew study finds high levels of engagement among readers of longer news articles—those that run at least 1,000 words long, by Pew’s definition.

    The problem is that Google and Facebook are getting the vast majority of digital ad revenue just for pointing people to content and the content producers are finding it hard to get paid for their work. There has been some pushback and people are beginning to realize they have to help the content producers find a new economic model.  New York Times subscription growth soars tenfold, adding 132,000, after Trump’s win and other news publications have added subscribers. Despite this the problem is a long way from being solved.

    No, no, you are right. People are still reading. Berkeleyside seems to be one of the huge providers of news in the Bay Area. Yet, the model seems to not make money, despite still being something people digest regularly. It's a really odd problem - and your explanation that Facebook and Google are eating up ad revenue has a lot to do with it.

    It's possible that podcasts are proliferating because it's a format that somehow works outside of the monopoly you just pointed out?

    If tech companies really are deplatforming people on questionable basis, demonetizing publishing by usurping its profits, employing people "precariously" through various apps, then Elizabeth Warren's proposal of breaking them up is a very good idea.

    Also, the rise of Brexit and nationalism worldwide, in tandem with a totalitarian tech industry, should make people question what the fall of the Soviet Union was really caused by. Transnationalism might not be something humans are quite prepared for and private industry is fully prepared to create its own form of totalitarianism. People who said "absolute power corrupts absolutely" in the 1990s weren't just deflecting from communism's failures.

    In my reading it seems as though there was a large decline in reading with the advent of TV but it stabilized and there even seems to be an increase in reading over the last couple of decades. Podcasts are proliferating in numbers but in terms of ad dollars it's a small sliver of the market.

    Ad revenues for podcasts overall are set to double by 2020” with predications that ad spending “will go up from an estimated $314 million in 2017 to $659 million in 2020.

    That may seem to be large but in the face of the billions in digital ad dollars it's a pittance.

    Google represents 33 percent of the world’s $223.7 billion in digital ad revenue this year.

    Facebook is a distant second at $36 billion this year, or nearly $40 billion less than Google.


    Yeah, I find these articles about how vinyl is staging a comeback or people are buying dumb phones again, but the total revenue in comparison is a pittance.

    Aww, sad.  Now where will I get my snappy comebacks to stupid questions?

    Excellent point, well made Michael. I actually thought Mad Magazine was over long time ago, there were several big auctions like this one 1992, somehow I wrongly presumed from that it was shutting down back then. It's 2019! Bart is actually the new old timey character like Alfred E. Neuman once was, where most adults get the message of what type of attitude he represents, takes his place. Bart is 30 years old now! He was followed by others like the South Park kids and Beavis and Butthead. Alfred is actually ancient history, like his physical twin Howdy Doody, will really die with the older boomers.

    After this, Marvel announced it is bringing back Crazy, a Mad style magazine they did back in the 1970s. Marvel is subsidiary of Disney and is likely insulated from a lot of the stuff discussed above.

    It was suspected that David Letterman was actually Alfred E. Neumann barely disguised, but since even Letterman's retired, we're all getting old...
    Remember "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World"?

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