The Word Factory

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


Daily Bafflements

The Baffler   August 26, 2016
epi-pen
epi-pen

What to do in your new Cadillac? Rich people stuff, obviously. Of course, for the final word on Rich People Things, we always refer to editor in chief Chris Lehmann, who explored that slippery category in his 2011 book.

The Media Con Job

Chris Lehmann   August 25, 2016
Gage Skidmore
Gage Skidmore

A curious outbreak of truth-telling seems to be seizing our right-wing media. In this most deranging campaign season of our postmodern political lives, the specter of Donald Trump—billionaire tribune of the forgotten white working class—has sent some of our most notable right-spinning pundits directly into confessional mode.

Daily Bafflements

The Baffler   August 24, 2016
Don't just sit there—organize! / Mike Steele
Don't just sit there—organize! / Mike Steele

Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board declared that graduate teaching assistants at private universities qualify as school employees, thereby freeing students across the country to form their own unions. The NLRB’s decision reverses a ruling from 2004 that argued, according to the Washington Post, “students engaging in collective bargaining would undermine the nature and purpose of graduate education.” So, students, go forth and (continue to) organize! 

What happens to all that well-loved memorabilia when a restaurant pares down?

Friends on the Dole

Amber A’Lee Frost   August 24, 2016
This pretentious yuppie cupcake shop is the only place in America that shouldn't accept SNAP. / Rebecca Schley
This pretentious yuppie cupcake shop is the only place in America that shouldn't accept SNAP. / Rebecca Schley

Welcome to The Baffler’s agony corner, YOUR SORRY ASS, where Amber A’Lee Frost dispenses bossy, judgmental advice on how to live your life fairly, kindly, and with good humor. Send us your rants and pleas, please: yoursorryass@thebaffler.com.

Daily Bafflements

The Baffler   August 22, 2016
Ivanka. / Mark Nozell
Ivanka. / Mark Nozell

With Ivanka Trump publicizing intern-written blog posts about how to survive as an intern, we urge you to recall the year 1997, when Jim Frederick wrote about unpaid interns as unwitting scabs.

The apple didn’t fall far from the tree: “Trump Campaign Office Is Literally Run by a 12-Year-Old.”

Appropriate me, daddy.

Elon Musk, Fatalist

Daniel Oberhaus   August 19, 2016
Elon Musk
Elon Musk

Odds are that you’ve heard by now that SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk said something Totally Trippy at Recode’s Code conference earlier this summer. According to the darling of Silicon Valley, “the odds that we’re in base reality is one in billions,” meaning that we are almost certainly operating in a computer simulation created by some far-future civilization.

Enemy of the PayPal

Chris Lehmann   August 18, 2016
Gawker founder Nick Denton. / Dave Winer
Gawker founder Nick Denton. / Dave Winer

The financial unwinding of Gawker Media’s tawdry tour through the justice system landed on an oddly anticlimactic note this week: Univision, the Spanish-language TV network that has been aggressively colonizing the digital mediasphere, picked up the bankrupt web empire for $135 million.

Daily Bafflements

The Baffler   August 17, 2016
Thanks, Reddit. / wicked_ladybug
Thanks, Reddit. / wicked_ladybug

Jill Stein’s candidacy may be a long shot—even in a race where both major party nominees are intensely, passionately disliked. Yet she’s still managed to garner the attention of major outlets—hell, her town hall tonight is going to air on CNN—although not all of their coverage has necessarily been desirable.

The 1,000-Meter Whine

David Rees   August 17, 2016
“We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with winning. Believe me.” opus moreschi
“We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with winning. Believe me.” opus moreschi

The Olympics and American presidential elections have a lot in common: both celebrate the absolute best humanity has to offer; both reward integrity and fair play; both are devoid of corruption; and both appeal to citizens’ highest ideals and are thus immune to cynicism and snark.

Spoiling for the Green Party

Jacob Silverman   August 17, 2016
Kroninger_Stein2016.4_84
Kroninger_Stein2016.4_84

At the Green Party National Convention in Houston this month, the villain that loomed the largest wasn’t Hillary Clinton or global warming or even Donald Trump—it was the doctrine of lesser evilism. Some say that a vote for Jill Stein is a wasted vote, but Martina Salinas, candidate for Texas railroad commissioner, is tired of hearing that chestnut.

Daily Bafflements

The Baffler   August 15, 2016
The New York Times: Whistling eternal yesterday
The New York Times: Whistling eternal yesterday

Over at In These Times, Baffler contributor Kathleen Geier writes that “the progressive label has become little more than a marketing tool . . . As early as the 1970s, liberalism was in bad odor, and some liberal politicians were adopting ‘progressive’ as their preferred euphemism .

Daily Bafflements

The Baffler   August 10, 2016
Is this the content you crave? / mout1234
Is this the content you crave? / mout1234

As David Rees wrote last week, “We’re at the point where it seems like there’s nothing Trump hasn’t done—or wouldn’t do, or won’t soon do.” Of course, that was before Trump’s comments on “Second Amendment people” having ways and means to prevent Hillary Clinton from appointing her ideal Supreme Court justice.