Today in presidential aesthetics: commentators weigh in on Trump’s selection of (two!) bibles for his swearing-in and an oil painting takes aim at Obama in a bizarre echo of Trump’s promise that “the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer”—a fitting gift from the likes of Sean Hannity.
Betsy DeVos’s hearing was fraught with controversy and moments of complete idiocy—not to mention a brief discussion about bears. The billionaire and education “philanthropist” proved to be incapable of answering basic policy questions, all the while demonstrating little-to-no knowledge of basic educational terms.
Amid mounting pressure on Obama to pardon whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden this week (update: Manning will be freed in May!) it’s worth revisiting Astra Taylor’s salvo on presidential pardons, and their shady, unofficial counterparts.
When it comes to election 2016, you could say, “when it rains, it pours.” And “pour” it did last night after BuzzFeed dropped a 35-page dossier on what kompromat (compromising material) the Russians allegedly have on Trump.
Longtime Baffler hand Siddhartha Deb has a books column in 2017! In his first piece, today, he remembers John Berger, and his “principled opposition to the contemporary idea of the writer as entrepreneur.”
“There have always been crazy movements (remember Lyndon LaRouche?) that lived and breathed fake news,” writes contributing editor Evgeny Morozov, over at The Guardian.
tech: Tristan Harris, a Silicon Valley stalwart with a résumé that includes the likes of Google and Apple, has begun running “digital detox experiments” designed to put an end to the practice of hacking human psychology.
This is for all the ladies out there: Did you know your male partner is micro-cheating and, like, totally getting away with it? On Facebook, he’s reacting to all these other women’s posts with a “love,” not a “like” (no.
Forget about the United States for a moment. France has accorded its workers “the right to disconnect,” that is, French companies of a certain size have to negotiate a protocol with employees, so that work does not habitually spill over into free time.
Was the Trump campaign’s decision to spend 3.2 million on badly-designed hats between July 2015 and September 2016 a good one? Over at the Fast Company, Baffler art director Lindsay Ballant gives an insight into why it was indeed.
In Queensland, Australia, a horse named Party Till Dawn tested positive for methamphetamine. That makes the aptly-named mare “the only other horse in the state to test positive for methamphetamine was Island Tang in Mackay in October last year.”
Cuba has found a curious way of paying off its debt to the Czech Republic: rum—specifically 276 million dollars worth.
Pankaj Mishra writes about the new angry world we live in, in which old liberal dichotomies no longer make sense. Quoting Tocqueville, he argues that “people liberated from old hierarchies ‘want equality in freedom, and, if they cannot get it, they still want it in slavery.’”
Teen Vogue’s latest piece of good political coverage is entitled “Donald Trump is Gaslighting America,” and it’s worth reading:
Trump won the Presidency by gas light.
Dear Bafflers, we offer you a new issue, “The Virtue Cartel.” This one’s dedicated to the virtuecrats—in the words of Chris Lehmann, these are the “policy big thinkers, military strategists, and neoliberal nudgers [who] have appointed themselves the permanent guardians of moral uplift and the public good.” It has salvos that run the gamut from virginity to smoking bans—via billionaires, empire, and Slack—as well as fiction, art, and poetry, not to mention a brand-new design.