• Poetry

    by Stacy Boe Miller

    The air above this man-made
    reservoir turns violent
    pink each afternoon. This is a tune

    on a guitar I can barely ...

  • The Takeaway

    by Kianoosh Hashemzadeh

    The origins of the Hawaiian pidgin language reflect the history and diversity of the islands. First used in the mid-19th century by the sugarcane laborers who spoke Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, and English and needed a way to communicate with one another, today, the language is …

New at Zócalo

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AMERICAN

The Charming French Product Designer Who Made Mid-Century America Look Clean and Stylish

From Refrigerators to Coca-Cola to Air Force One, Raymond Loewy’s Distinctive Curves Sold Products—and Himself

by John Wall

Raymond Loewy, the legendary American product designer and businessman, isn’t familiar to consumers today, but in the latter half of the 20th century he was a household name for his practice of applying the principles of what he called “cleanlining” to create starkly memorable designs. The 1934 Sears refrigerator; the packaging for Lucky Strike cigarettes; the Exxon logo; dozens of car models for the Studebaker Automobile Company—all were Loewy’s designs. Following his credo that “the loveliest curve I know is the sales curve,” Loewy moved millions of products for clients such as Coca-Cola, Nabisco, Armour, and Frigidaire.
  The French-born Loewy also applied the tenets of cleanlining—reducing the look of a product to its essence, without frills or needless detail—to build his own uniquely American persona. Reinvention is a recurring theme in American literature ...

Essay

The Depression Era Laws That Led to the 1980s Savings and Loan Crisis

Federal Insurance for Bank Deposits Encouraged Consumers, Bankers, and Politicians to Make Riskier and Riskier Choices

by Kathleen Day

In 1986, Citicorp vice chairman Hans H. Angermueller sat before Congress, complaining that federal red tape made a nightmare of buying a special type of bank that specialized in making home loans and was known as a “thrift” or “savings and loan”—or “S&L” for short.
  “So why bother?” he asked lawmakers.
  He was posturing. Citicorp, the nation’s largest banking holding company at the time, very much wanted to bother with those kinds of banks. Even as Angermueller complained, his colleagues a few blocks away were wrestling with oil billionaire Gordon Getty over the right to buy the second biggest S&L in the nation’s capital. The bank in question was an odd prize: It was on the brink of failing. Federal regulators wanted to sell the Washington, D.C., thrift for that very reason, hoping a deep pocketed buyer would spare the government the cost of having to close it and pay off ...

Connecting California Joe Mathews

Poetry

  • by Ruth Dickey

    Our house leaned and pitched in strong winds. The tin roof ...

  • by Rogelio Juarez

    Sundays my father made us chorizo
    we still begged to skip …

  • by Alan Michael Parker

    Soon I’ll need assurances, a shower, coffee, pills.
    In the fuzz of …

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