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Points of Entry

Introducing the September/October 2013 issue of Pacific Standard.
(PHOTO: NOVELO/<a href=


Sometimes we editors get mesmerized by quotes, passages, or descriptions in the stories we publish. It’s not uncommon to hear an editor repeating these nuggets at random. If I may, here’s a sampling—an index of sorts—from this issue:

• “The subdivision now known as Hollywood was created in 1887 by Harvey Wilcox, a prohibitionist from Kansas who hoped it would attract similarly sober and religious residents.”

• “I’d definitely rather be my wolf self.”

• “If front-runner Cory Booker wins, he will return the total number of African Americans in the U.S. Senate to its historic record of two.”

• “Hair bacon.”

• “Businesses are reluctant to invest their record profits in new workers and, instead, they’re hoarding cash—because they aren’t convinced people can afford to buy the goods and services they sell. Too many of them are unemployed!

• “It was as if Jason Schwartzman, coming to work one day to learn the big office stud had quit, morphed into Arnold Schwarzenegger by close of business.”

• “A cell is a machine for turning experience into biology.”

• “She figured the last thing the TSA wanted to read was the headline ‘Woman Arrested for Singing National Anthem.’”

• “If you want to heal a family, with its own long-staying pathologies, then forget about healing the child.”

On the subject of indexes, we’re introducing a feature that offers our own take on the form. We call it IN THE PICTURE.

In every issue, we’ll fix our gaze on an everyday photograph and chase down facts about details in the frame. Our first installment, a street scene in Los Angeles, taught us about the surprisingly perilous lives of arborists (killed at three times the rate of policemen and firefighters) and the success of a multi-year plan to coordinate the timing of L.A. traffic lights (resulting in a 12 percent average decrease in commute time for Angelenos).

And, as the notion of “mainstream culture” continues to calve like a melting glacier, we’ve noticed that everyone seems to belong to a subculture these days. So our new column, SUBCULTURE, looks at one such group each issue (with more at In this issue, we meet a therian—someone who identifies strongly with another animal species. Shiro Ulv considers himself as much wolf as human, and finds camaraderie among a community of therianthropes, to use their official name.

At, too, we’ve added new features. One’s called WHAT MAKES YOU SO SMART?, for which writer Noah Davis interviews an impressively intelligent figure and then interviews the smartest person that person knows, and so on. And WHAT IS COOL?, by writer Kevin Lincoln, looks at what it means to be cool in America, and what that says about us. Lincoln explains: “The idea of ‘cool’ defies easy qualification: If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be cool.”