The Word Factory

Daily broadsides from The Baffler's just-in-time corps of knowledge workers


A People’s History of the Third Reich

Megan Carpentier   December 02, 2016
frankieleon
frankieleon

Liberals should stop asking whether Donald Trump—or his chief strategist and the former head of Breitbart, Steve Bannon—is a Nazi. Not because the employees of Trump’s son-in-law and adviser said so in an embarrassing paean to the “zealous Zionist” who has Trump’s ear, or even because, like one high school history teacher and Holocaust expert in Northern California, you could be forced into retirement.

Faux News Channel

Chris Lehmann   December 01, 2016
Josh Hallett
Josh Hallett

In line with venerable liberal tradition, the disaster known as Election ’16 has bred a slew of culprits behind the surprise defeat of Hillary Clinton, all reassuringly distant from the leadership sanctums of the national Democratic Party: James Comey, WikiLeaks, Vladimir Putin, Bernie Sanders and his cast of bros, etc.

Daily Bafflements

The Baffler   November 30, 2016

Our lovely readers have weighed in on our Bleak Friday reading list, “Good Books for Dark Times.” Over on our Facebook page, several readers offered their own additions, including: Arlie Russell Hochschild’s Strangers in Their Own Land, Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer, Albert Camus’s The Plague, and Jane Mayer’s Dark Money.

Looking Plain, Getting Laid

Amber A’Lee Frost   November 30, 2016
Everywhere you turn on this earth, unremarkable-looking creatures are getting it on. / Mark Spokes
Everywhere you turn on this earth, unremarkable-looking creatures are getting it on. / Mark Spokes

I am a twenty-one-year-old cisgendered, heterosexual woman, and I am not hot. I don’t mean that I am ugly, but I also don’t just need a makeover, and I don’t have low self-esteem; I just mean that I am not hot.

Starving in America

Talia Lavin   November 29, 2016
Mike Licht
Mike Licht

In the late seventeenth century, the Puritan preacher Cotton Mather laid out a vision for America in a fiery sermon: “For those who indulge themselves in idleness,” he told his congregation, “the express command of God unto us is, that we should let them starve.” Nearly three hundred years since Mather’s death, this austere principle of his Calvinism has found a new expression in the top rungs of American government, where Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, has laid out a plan both to decrease idleness and increase starvation in the form of his “Better Way.”  

Most public alarm has focused, justly, on the Trumpian chaos in our nation’s highest office, but with Republican control of both the executive and the legislative branch, some Democrats are readying defenses against what Ezra Klein, at Vox, has called “a war on the poor.” Ryan has already suggested extensive cuts to Medicare, advocating “letting market competition work” on the healthcare of seniors.

Daily Bafflements

The Baffler   November 28, 2016
Francois "eyebrows" Fillon.
Francois "eyebrows" Fillon.

Angela Nagle podcast alert: “Because all of this stuff is so steeped in irony,” she comments, drawing on her Baffler essay on 4chan, “it’s very hard to know what anyone actually means .

Opening Doors

Sophie Weiner   November 28, 2016
Khora aspires to a nonhierarchical style of decision-making. / Keegan Nashan
Khora aspires to a nonhierarchical style of decision-making. / Keegan Nashan

Scores of volunteers began congregating from activist enclaves throughout the West this summer as word of an ambitious project spread: the building of a new community center in Athens that would serve refugees pouring into Greece. Khora, a new center built by volunteers, opened its doors in October in the Exarchia neighborhood.

Good Books for Dark Times

The Baffler   November 25, 2016
Where is wisdom found? / 
Dave Denison
Where is wisdom found? / 
Dave Denison

Steel yourself for the bleak times ahead. Look backward in order to look forward. Find a good book that speaks to this moment. Or one that gets you through the day. Here’s The Baffler’s list of a few good books. Themes: comfort, clarity, and the clarion call.

By What Authority?

Hawa Allan   November 23, 2016
Fibonacci Blue
Fibonacci Blue

The 1890 massacre of as many as 300 Lakota men, women, and children at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, by a U.S. Army regiment was precipitated by a Ghost Dance. The dance was originally envisioned by a Paiute shaman in Nevada, a turning point in a prophesy of his in which Jesus Christ had been reborn as a Native American, Paiute ancestors, too, would be resurrected, buffalo herds and other animals would return in multitudes, and “the white man” would relinquish all indigenous lands.

#RIPMyShillaries

David V. Johnson   November 22, 2016
If only Hillary had chosen a different slogan. / Gage Skidmore
If only Hillary had chosen a different slogan. / Gage Skidmore

Political candidacies are like jokes: if you need to explain them, there’s something wrong. Hillary Clinton’s candidacy launched an entire cottage industry of explanation. It’s been two weeks since election day and her supporters and surrogates are still assiduously re-litigating the whole election, from her primary victory over Bernie Sanders (he wouldn’t have beaten Trump and he undermined her candidacy), to her various scandals (James Comey cost Hillary the election), to the exit polls (white women favored a misogynist, because they hate themselves and couldn’t bear listening to her voice), to the nature of U.S.

Presenting the New Baffler

The Baffler   November 22, 2016
screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-6-42-38-pm
screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-6-42-38-pm

Hello Baffler Readers!

I’m writing to alert you that when the Winter 2016 Baffler hits the newsstands, it will come bearing more than the usual roster of polemic salvos, well-wrought culture critiques, and pleas for incremental upticks in collective sanity.

Daily Bafflements

The Baffler   November 21, 2016
Will there one day be Snowden Avenues? /
Will there one day be Snowden Avenues? /

At the alt-right confab in DC last weekend, “while much of the discourse at the conference was overtly racist and demeaning toward minorities . . . the focus was on how whites were marginalized and beleaguered.” We know how this one goes.