In times of perceived crisis, the American liberal mind instinctively reaches for reassurance in its great dream of impartial reason. The noble pursuit of above-the-fray truth is besieged on all fronts, the stout refrain usually goes, and the most urgent order of business, in view of this sorry state of affairs, is to subject the sanctums of our higher learning to bracing corrective discipline in the name of free and open inquiry.
But reader, learn to take breaks! Remember, after all, the first act of the Paris Communards: they shot out the clocks.
LD50, the London gallery with alt-right leanings, has been closed. Last week Megan Nolan wrote about the way mystification in the supposedly apolitical art world enables the spread of reactionary ideas: “I have seen it said by antifa that LD50 is not a story about art, but about fascism.
To those who say that strike is only the luxury of the privileged, that is bullshit. Strike is the most basic form of resistance for the most vulnerable women. It is precisely the most vulnerable women that have come out and demanded their rights over the history of modernity really.
Rick Perlstein talks to Baffler editor in chief Chris Lehmann about his salvo “Outsmarted” in the new issue of the magazine. They discuss the curious identity of smartness, American Psycho, the dark underbelly of meritocracy, and the long-term political origins of the “libtard” insult.
In prepping scenes, the sheer weight and volume of things, an essential part of the North American experience for a while now, is recorded and imagined in a different time. Things are arced from abundance to scarcity, reinvented with meaning, imparted with an aura that they do not have in our present even as they endlessly proliferate on the difference between wages for labor in the global south and the prices supported by the credit-fuelled, consumer economies of the global north.
The globalized power elite that may feel more at home in Taiwan or Singapore isn’t objectionable because its members may be in thrall to some sinister, unpatriotic economic loyalties, as Bannon and his retinue of Trump enablers tirelessly insist. No, the members of the placeless, merit-obsessed global ruling class deserve our scorn because they’ve turned their backs on the larger project of sharing democratic civilization on an equitable basis with their fellow citizens.
In Case You Missed It (to be fair, you might have been distracted by the efforts of congressional Republicans to take away your life-saving health coverage): a little-discussed bill called HR 1313 is on the rise, approved by a House committee.
Missing Richard Simmons is not a “much-heralded hollow space.” It deserves its acclaim. It mostly succeeds in rounding out the personality of a man who had become in the public eye a caricature, a Halloween costume, a reliable butt of David Letterman jokes before he withdrew into his Beverly Hills mansion.
Strip The Hierarchies of Cuckoldry and Bankruptcy of its satirical critique, and you’re left with a logic that is dismally familiar. The categories of embattled manhood now trafficked by the cuck-trashing, immigrant-bashing men of Breitbart or 4chan are shifting but ultimately exacting; like Fourier’s taxonomist, they obsess over finer and finer distinctions.
Welcome to This American Carnage, your weekly slice of life from the country of Trump.
Trump’s rise has been described as “anti-intellectual” in nature, but that hasn’t stopped a new intellectual movement from feeding off his momentum.
When driving into Ohio from the Northeast, as I now do several times a year, one of the first things one sees when crossing over is the towering Goodyear plant. The headquarters, and then the old factory. It is a haunting image, the “GOODYEAR” atop the factory with its lights blinking or fading, smoke seeming to rising out of nowhere, the windows broken or blackened.