The Hauntological President: Citizen Media, Analog Memory, and Bernie Sanders

By Michael Grasso

Over the past year of the seemingly interminable 2020 presidential campaign in the United States, the public political history of Senator Bernie Sanders has been fêted and castigated from both sides of the political aisle. An avowed democratic socialist throughout his life and political career, Sanders has taken the side of some very unpopular movements and causes…

“A Closer Look”: HBO Feature Presentation Sequence, 1982

Earlier HBO idents had been relatively simple affairs, the kind of simply animated and crudely soundtracked bumpers you might see on your local UHF station’s movie revue. But this bumper—known here as “HBO Theater,” although it would eventually be titled “HBO Feature Presentation” when broadcast in 1983—combined live actors, models, motion control cameras, animation, and a full orchestra soundtrack….

“Unity, Precision, Thrust”: The NASA Graphics Standards Manual, 1975

n the mid-1970s, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was in a period of transition. The final manned Apollo mission to the Moon, Apollo 17, had returned to Earth in December 1972; no further Moon landings were planned. NASA had recently kicked off their Skylab experiments in short-term orbital space station living (and détente-inspired collaboration with the Soviets), as well as announcing a reusable fleet of Space Shuttles…

“Spacy Spheres and Funky Shacks”: The Otherworlds of 1971’s ‘Domebook 2’

In the spring of 1971, it seemed everyone on the fringes of mainstream society in North America was trying to build geodesic domes: soaring gridwork domes made of plastic and steel, of wood, of concrete. Inspired by technocratic engineer-turned-counterculture guru and geodesic dome evangelist R. Buckminster Fuller, hundreds of back-to-the-land hippies sought to use his elementary architectural example…

Tubular Terrors: ‘The Night Stalker’

By Michael Grasso

Like many folks my age, I first encountered crusading news photographer Carl Kolchak (played by the imminently charismatic and recognizable Darren McGavin) thanks to The X-Files creator Chris Carter’s repeated praise of the character as one of the biggest influences on his creation of Mulder and Scully…