Looking Up 

Chris Ware on his back-to-school theme cover for The New Yorker:

It’s cliché and it’s sentimental but it’s true: parents, when your child asks, “Will you play with me?”—do. Because one day they really will stop asking, just like you did.

Amazon’s Antitrust Antagonist Has a Breakthrough Idea 

Amazon has so much data on so many customers, it is so willing to forgo profits, it is so aggressive and has so many advantages from its shipping and warehouse infrastructure that it exerts an influence much broader than its market share. It resembles the all-powerful railroads of the Progressive Era, Ms. Khan wrote: “The thousands of retailers and independent businesses that must ride Amazon’s rails to reach market are increasingly dependent on their biggest competitor.”

Unrequited Fanboy Love 

The Lyndon Johnson books by Caro, it’s our Harry Potter. If there were over-large ears and fake gallbladder scars that we could wear instead of wizard hats while waiting in line to get the book, we would do it.

– Conan O’Brien

Can Trump Stop Twitter from Enforcing Its Own Speech Rules? Not Likely 

Daphne Keller:

Many would say there is a moral imperative for platforms to take down legal-but-offensive or harmful speech – including seriously disturbing material like Holocaust denial tracts and suicide how-to videos. In any case there is a clear commercial reason for platforms to weed out content of this sort, since it alienates both users and advertisers. That means we are unlikely to get away from some form of the current situation: platforms enforcing discretionary rules that ban legal speech, and users disagreeing vehemently with the platforms’ choices.

As the Financial World Crashed, the Marvel Cinematic Universe Took Shape 

Abraham Riesman for Vulture:

In the real-estate bubble of the mid-aughts, when collateralized debt obligations were being passed around like joints at a Dead show and it seemed like the party would never end, the big banks did something unusual: they started investing in Hollywood.… [Post-crash] Faced with uncertainty and austerity, it became clear that it was only worth it to make movies if they either cost a pittance to conjure up or if they were big-budget spectacles that were sure to get butts in seats (and, in the wake of Avatar, could have tickets sold at a premium for 3-D screenings).

The crash made studios more risk-averse, and they were hungry for reliable tentpole flicks. Marvel was perfect for this new post-collapse film landscape.

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