With the presidential election in the rear-view mirror, we wanted to think about the opposite of politics, so we thought about sex. The result was an issue in which Heather Havrilesky sent up Fifty Shades of Grey, Chris Bray tracked down General David Petraeus and his wandering PhD, Hussein Ibish remembered the Marquis de Sade, Christian Lorentzen buried the British pop star/pedophiliac Jimmy Savile, Slavoj Žižek told us why gonzo porn is the most censored of all film genres, and Anne Elizabeth Moore explored the hidden assumptions behind Nicholas Kristof’s bid to rescue the women of the world, who have nothing to lose, apparently, except their market potential. Thomas Frank and David Graeber wrote about politics after all, and Thomas Bernhard’s homage to Arthur Rimbaud appeared here for the first time in English. Evgeny Morozov’s “The Meme Hustler,” meanwhile, made the longest single essay in the history of The Baffler. Hey, look, we’re finally in color!
In the third and last issue of our revival year, Thomas Frank tells you how theory met practice in Occupy Wall Street (and drove it out of its mind), Rick Perlstein explains how Mitt Romney lies to be loved, and David Graeber asks whether it’s possible to think that you believe something when, in fact, you don’t, or to think that you don’t believe something when, in fact, you do? (Answer: yes and yes.)
In our summer culture issue, we bring you decomposing cities that tremble with vibrancy, art museums where cash-and-carry aesthetics are the rule, journalists on the endless education of the president, and imperial foundations and their pet broadcasters on public radio. Where else can you learn why Eugenia Williamson thinks Ira Glass’s This American Life is so annoying, or take in Steve Almond on the lame, postideological pantomiming of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, or admire, with Jim Newell, the performance art of Harvard fraud Adam Wheeler and laugh at the Ivy mothership’s efforts to smite the pretender down?