Americana

New Praetorianism

Patrick BlanchfieldFebruary 17, 2017
Cyril Fluck
Cyril Fluck

There is a fundamental synergy between Democratic chauvinist exceptionalism, GOP clash-of-civilizations dogma, and Trump’s grotesque strongman antics. The Democrats may prefer a reboot of Cold War apocalypticism; Trump, for his part, looks eager to tear up global treaties, toss international law aside, and throw American weight around in building a new twenty-first century order of Great Powers.

Old School

Scott BeauchampFebruary 14, 2017
dake_crop_square
dake_crop_square

Anatomist Louis Bolk once called humans sexually mature primate fetuses. (And yes, it sounds suitably disturbing in the original German: einen zur Geschlechtsreife gelangten Primatenfetus.) As Bolk patiently explained, our evolutionary history is something of an arms race between the pelvic size of mothers and the skull size of offspring, which means, in turn, that we’re born half-made and unfinished.

Extreme Hating

Matt CameronJanuary 30, 2017
Lorie Shaull
Lorie Shaull

“I had always hoped,” our nation’s first President wrote to one of its first refugees, “that this land might— become a safe and agreeable Asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong.” It was 1787 and François Van der Kemp, an anti-monarchist radical, had fled the Netherlands to seek asylum in the newly formed United States, to escape persecution and imprisonment by the Prince of Orange.

Chelsea Manning’s Existential Threat to American Innocence

Chase MadarJanuary 23, 2017
Advocates can now be grateful that Manning is being treated almost as well as a war criminal. / Stephen Melkisethian
Advocates can now be grateful that Manning is being treated almost as well as a war criminal. / Stephen Melkisethian

You know the story: a court-martialed soldier of an unpopular war granted clemency as the very last act of a U.S. president amid great public controversy.

I refer, of course, to Lt. William Calley, the soldier of the Vietnam War who on March 16, 1968 led the systematic slaughter of nearly five hundred unarmed Vietnamese civilians—women, children, the elderly—in the hamlet that Americans called My Lai 4.

Be Afraid

Martha BayneDecember 23, 2016
Forsaken Fotos
Forsaken Fotos

In the final minutes of Doomocracy—a piece of immersive theater styled after a haunted house that ran in Brooklyn during the month leading up to Election Day—audience members were confronted with three doors. One was labeled “Clinton,” one “Trump,” and the third “Other.” Pass through the Clinton door and you were greeted by a pantsuited actor in a grinning Hillary mask and urged to don identical headgear.

The Baffler’s Trump-Era Gift Guide

Hannah GaisDecember 21, 2016
“We're gonna be saying Merry Christmas.” —Donald Trump / pexels
“We're gonna be saying Merry Christmas.” —Donald Trump / pexels

Forcing the phrase “Merry Christmas” back to the forefront of American culture will make our liberal-infected country “great again,” insists president-elect Donald Trump—but somehow, we’re not feeling the cheer. Instead of masking our suffering with enough mulled wine and spiked eggnog to kill a small horse, we’ve opted for a less traditional, more “smarmy” route: the gift guide.

New American Feud

Nikkitha BakshaniDecember 16, 2016
Left: Watergate salad (pistachio pudding, pineapple juice, marshmallows). Right: New American (duck, something, something). /
Left: Watergate salad (pistachio pudding, pineapple juice, marshmallows). Right: New American (duck, something, something). /

The 1980s in America meant saying tata to Watergate salads and letting a bit more of the world into our national cuisine. Then, in a 1998 restaurant review in New York magazine, Hal Rubenstein recorded a plot twist in New York’s—and, by domino effect, America’s—culinary history: Tavern on the Green, “mother of all tourist restaurants,” was trying to win the hearts of sophisticated locals.

By What Authority?

Hawa AllanNovember 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.

The Sanders Strategy

Max B. SawickyNovember 18, 2016
According to Max B. Sawicky, the left won't win by vilifying Sanders's recent comments on Trump. / Paulann Egelhoff
According to Max B. Sawicky, the left won't win by vilifying Sanders's recent comments on Trump. / Paulann Egelhoff

Okay, folks. This is the game.

Bernie Sanders is taking the line of resisting the intolerant, warmongering Trump & Co., while simultaneously challenging the president-elect to put real money into infrastructure and to write better trade deals, Trump’s signature overtures to the working class.

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before

Sam KrissNovember 17, 2016
Liberals have been falling all over themselves to cast Ronald Reagan in forgiving sepia tones. / Gage Skidmore
Liberals have been falling all over themselves to cast Ronald Reagan in forgiving sepia tones. / Gage Skidmore

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but how could the American people have given their highest public office to a man who is so clearly an idiot? Not just any ordinary lunkhead, but someone who brutishly, bullishly, maddeningly inhabits his own stupidity, who practically grabs the world by its lapels and shouts: I’m a big dumb moron, and I don’t care; you have to listen to me anyway!

Are Sex Offenders Human?

A scene from the film  Pervert Park. / De Andra/Final Cut for Real
A scene from the film  Pervert Park. / De Andra/Final Cut for Real

In July 16, 2015, Barack Obama visited a federal prison, the first sitting president ever to do so. It was a powerful statement of support for a broad movement—stretching from Black Lives Matter to Right on Crime—to reform the U.S.

Letter from Louisiana

Joshua LeibnerNovember 01, 2016
A bilingual Louisiana welcome.
A bilingual Louisiana welcome.

Even as Donald Trump’s campaign has zero chance of winning California or his own state of New York—and despite being spectacularly, unprecedentedly unfit for the office of the presidency—Trump will easily win the eight electoral votes of Louisiana. What could possibly connect someone like Trump to “Trump Nation”?