On each episode of RIP Corp, we tell the story of one failed business, or a business failure. Join us in the dead mall of business history.
RIP Corp is a production of Charts & Leisure, hosted by Ingrid Burrington with research and fact checking by Matt Giles. Produced by Meghal Janardan and Mike Rugnetta. Original music and sound design from Andrew Atkin and Michael Simonelli, and artwork and design by Megan Mulholland and Beatriz Lozano. Executive produced by Jason Oberholtzer.
Why Do We Keep Dead Company Merch?
This episode of RIP Corp is about the afterlives of corporate merch—as a collector's item, as nostalgia play, as irony-laden artifact representing the hubris of capitalism—and the ways people live with these artifacts and the legacies attached to them.
It's also about RIP Corp having merch now! Sorry. Please check out the wonderful designs by Beatriz Lozano and Megan Mulholland, and consider expressing brand loyalty on your person: ripcorp.threadless.com
Cosplay Cops and Special Ops: Baldwin-Felts and the West Virginia Mine War
The Battle of Matewan, also known as the Matewan Massacre, took place on May 19, 1920. It’s a significant part of the history of the West Virginia Mine Wars. The shootout claimed ten lives: three residents of Matewan and seven employees of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency, a private security firm that among other things worked for coal operators throughout West Virginia. That day lives in infamy in both Appalachian and American labor history. But Baldwin-Felts doesn’t really live on in the public record. Which is weird, because for miners and organizers trying to build union power in the West Virginia coal fields, Baldwin-Felts was synonymous with the enemy.
Sex, Lies and Classifieds: The Fall of Backpage
Years before QAnon, myths and distortions about children being sold for sex fueled a politically-motivated moral panic in the name of protecting kids, yet largely targeting sex workers, not sex traffickers. This episode of RIP Corp is about Backpage — the classified advertising website founded in 2004 — and the path that led to its dramatic closure in 2018. The fall of Backpage led to a turning point in the coverage of sex work and criminal justice while also foreshadowing future media flashpoints.
Minisode — Failing Upward: Dan Snyder and The Six Flags of Football Teams
On this RIP Corp minisode, we spoke with journalist Dave McKenna to help us chart the upward-failing trajectory of Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder, how his earlier failure as Chairman of Six Flags led to opportunities to fail in different arenas, and what he now represents (vis-à-vis failure).
In Space No One Can Hear You Sell
This episode of RIP Corp is about Planetary Resources — a company formed to "expand Earth's natural resource base" through asteroid mining — and its ... not quite failure to launch, but failure to conquer the final frontier. It’s also about how their brief, ill-fated trajectory has seemingly only strengthened the resolve of people working to make space mining a reality.
Pierced Ears to Private Equity: The Rise and Fall of Claire’s
While bankruptcies of familiar retail brands made headlines this past year, you can actually still shop at some of them–JC Penney, Nieman Marcus, Guitar Center. So that’s what this episode of RIP Corp is about: Claire’s, and the wild world of modern retail bankruptcy which kind of exists to help distressed companies avoid total collapse, but is also an increasingly gamed system to help a handful of people stay hella rich.
Smart and informative. A deep dive into some lesser known events that informs our current landscape.
Witty, wry, and super smart
A delightful foray into the high-stakes world of corporate chicanery.
Smart as hell
and witty to boot. Love to have an opportunity to refine my dunks on dead businesses.