The Word Factory

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

A Conversation with Kali Akuno

Sarah JaffeJanuary 12, 2017
Kali Akuno, co-director of Cooperation Jackson, a project advancing a solidarity economy in Jackson, Mississippi through a network of worker-owned coops. / Photo courtesy Kali Akuno/Cooperation Jackson
Kali Akuno, co-director of Cooperation Jackson, a project advancing a solidarity economy in Jackson, Mississippi through a network of worker-owned coops. / Photo courtesy Kali Akuno/Cooperation Jackson

We are pleased to share with you the first in a new, syndicated series of interviews by Sarah Jaffe. INTERVIEWS FOR RESISTANCE will introduce you to some of the key figures in the growing movement(s) against our reactionary new federal government.

Daily Bafflements

The BafflerJanuary 11, 2017
Just two friends. / DonkeyHotey
Just two friends. / DonkeyHotey

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.

Russia to Our Right

Max B. SawickyJanuary 11, 2017
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422394658_93c2a39611_b

Russian interference in U.S. politics during the elections of 2016 and beyond is one big, fat, ugly squirrel. It commands attention but distracts from the related but more important matter of rising, Russian-supported far-right movements throughout the world, which support has now come home to the U.S.A.

After Truth?

Stephen Kearse  January 10, 2017
Find the truth./Jeremy Brooks
Find the truth./Jeremy Brooks

Post-blackness has retreated from public discourse. And now “post-truth” has become the latest empty idea in search of a meaning. Both obscure the fact that blackness and truth are always under siege.

Shameless Liars

Justin ClarkJanuary 10, 2017
"And after all what is a lie? 'Tis but the truth in masquerade." / 
April L. Sanders
"And after all what is a lie? 'Tis but the truth in masquerade." / 
April L. Sanders

Today, we’re quick to call those who lie too grandly or frequently, or without requisite shame, pathological liars. But psychiatrists tend to mean something more exact. The pathological liar was manifestly not a con artist. For one thing, he didn’t lie for the sake of wealth or power.

Daily Bafflements

The BafflerJanuary 09, 2017
glasseyes view
glasseyes view

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.

A Tax on Shivering

Siddhartha DebJanuary 09, 2017
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If one of the functions of writing is to make the reader see, and see again, here is a brief list of what John Berger made visible. Paintings, photographs, advertisements, motorcycles, swimming pools, the aging body, migrating workers, and mass demonstrations; the intricate pattern of colors in the roads of Lisbon; the shit of cows in the French Alps.

Daily Bafflements

The BafflerJanuary 06, 2017
Tired moralizing can't obscure the fact that Silicon Valley bears some responsibility for our always-on culture. / Farhad Sadykov
Tired moralizing can't obscure the fact that Silicon Valley bears some responsibility for our always-on culture. / Farhad Sadykov

Today in 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.

The Sad Taste of Success

Rebecca StonerJanuary 06, 2017
Monuments to tragedy. / John Rees
Monuments to tragedy. / John Rees

“For a while,” the New York Times recently observed, “it seemed as if slapping the word ‘girl’ on a title virtually guaranteed best-seller status.” There were the mass-market paperbacks, like Gone Girl, as well as the more highbrow specimens—like Emma Cline’s The Girls.

Meltdown of the Phantom Snowflakes

Laurie PennyJanuary 04, 2017
Kimberly Vardeman
Kimberly Vardeman

“Are you a strong woman?”

The camera crew wanted a snappy answer. We were filming a short news segment on the beach in Brighton, with a frigid wind gusting around the boom mic and seagulls circling overhead, screaming for chips. I didn’t know how to reply.

Daily Bafflements

The BafflerJanuary 04, 2017
Behold, the micro-cheater. / Tookapic
Behold, the micro-cheater. / Tookapic

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.

Keeping Up with the Deviants

Amber A’Lee FrostJanuary 04, 2017
Our intrepid advice columnist fields a wave of "vanilla shame" / Bill McLaughlin
Our intrepid advice columnist fields a wave of "vanilla shame" / Bill McLaughlin

You’ve touched on a curious new phenomenon I’ve been observing: I have recently noticed that more often than not, modern, culturally progressive young people no longer shamefully confess to me their perversions. It’s sad, really—I live for prurient gossip, and there’s no better tea than a bit of horny shame.