The Word Factory

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

The Growing Grassroots

Sarah JaffeMarch 09, 2017
a group of volunteers hold a banner reading "Lewiston Unites for Human Rights"
a group of volunteers hold a banner reading "Lewiston Unites for Human Rights"

I am hopeful that if people follow Maine, they might learn some things that they could reshape to fit their circumstances, other folks who are working in rural contexts and in very white and conservative and working class contexts. If people want to reach out to Maine, we want to hear from them.

A Women’s Strike Reading List

Red PapersMarch 08, 2017
six women in nineteen hundreds dress link arms while marching.
six women in nineteen hundreds dress link arms while marching.

Here’s a helpful syllabus for following along with the today’s massive Women’s Strike, composed by the socialist feminist collective Red Papers.

Useful Idiots of the Art World

Megan NolanMarch 08, 2017
A Tumultuous Assembly by Marinetti. /
A Tumultuous Assembly by Marinetti. /

In a gallery in East London, in the summer of 2016, something strange was taking place. LD50 was about a year old by then, run by Lucia Diego, and had hosted shows by prominent artists at varying stages of their careers—Dinos and Jake Chapman, John Russell and Joey Holder, Deanna Havas, and Jesse Darling to name a few.

Circulate Now, Mobilize Later

Maximillian AlvarezMarch 08, 2017
Old lefty magazines like New Masses were goal-oriented. / Wikimedia Commons
Old lefty magazines like New Masses were goal-oriented. / Wikimedia Commons

Circulation numbers are steadily rising for key segments of the mainstream and leftist press, and more people are reading, sharing, writing for, and subscribing to a cluster of established and emerging outlets that dominate popular leftist criticism in the United States.

Whistle-blowers, Hedge Clippers, and Strikers

Sarah JaffeMarch 07, 2017
protester being by by two police officers. A tag on his shirt reads "Justice for Janitors."
protester being by by two police officers. A tag on his shirt reads "Justice for Janitors."

A big part of our work is basically saying, “Trump has surrounded himself with these set of players. That is who they really are. Let’s look at all of the way they screw people that are the opposite of Trump.” The way I think about it is, we have to make Trump guilty of every evil and sin they commit.

Daily Bafflements

The BafflerMarch 07, 2017
Baffler-34-final-350x505
Baffler-34-final-350x505

“This isn’t shaping up to be the millennium we were promised,” comments Chris Lehmann, in his introduction to Baffler no. 34, “The Snare of Preparation,” which is out on newsstands today. “The data-bedazzled twenty-first century was to be a time of painlessly enhanced social justice and seamless market accommodation.

Our Better Ban

Rafia ZakariaMarch 07, 2017
Are some Americans less real than others? / Nicola Romagna
Are some Americans less real than others? / Nicola Romagna

The President has been angry all weekend, anxious anchors have told us—fuming over perceived betrayals through rounds of golf and gourmet dinners at the club he owns. The ire of the most powerful seeks out the most wanting and so it is the case here.

Framed Narrative

Ben EhrenreichMarch 06, 2017
Hanamel Dorfman in a scene from the documentary The Settlers, directed by Shimon Dotan. / Image courtesy of Philippe Bellaiche.
Hanamel Dorfman in a scene from the documentary The Settlers, directed by Shimon Dotan. / Image courtesy of Philippe Bellaiche.

It is hard these days for even Israel’s most diehard supporters to pretend that something has not gone seriously wrong. A case in point: the sentencing last month of Elor Azaria, a twenty-year-old Israeli army medic caught on video putting a bullet in the head of a wounded Palestinian, Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif, as he lay bleeding on the ground outside a military checkpoint in the West Bank city of Hebron.

The Unhappy Medium

Vincent BevinsMarch 06, 2017
Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 18.16.14
Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 18.16.14

In every society of every kind, there is a simple technique available to reasonable moderates wishing to prove that the left and the right are actually the same, and therefore discredit the seriousness of their politics by association. The exercise relies on tautological reasoning, but it’s enough for those who overwhelmingly accept what passes for common sense at any given point in time.

Daily Bafflements

The BafflerMarch 03, 2017
What's a tech mogul to do? / Gustavo da Cunha Pimenta
What's a tech mogul to do? / Gustavo da Cunha Pimenta

Poor Travis Kalanick. The hits just keep on coming. Since the starry-eyed media has suddenly realized Uber is a terrible company (is one of those words redundant?), we’ve seen him lecture a driver on “personal responsibility” (the employee told Kalanick Uber’s ever-shifting policies had bankrupted him), issue an apology in which he told us he really needed “to grow up” (Don’t worry!

The Handmaiden of Entrepreneurship

David V. JohnsonMarch 03, 2017
Sokrates, Antisthenes, Chrysippos, Epikouros
Sokrates, Antisthenes, Chrysippos, Epikouros

In the authors’ entrepreneurial hermeneutics, all of us are born orphans, claiming true love and respect only when we create something of value in the marketplace that other people need. Here Heidegger’s concept of geworfenheit (thrownness)—the idea that our existence consists of feeling thrown into circumstances not of our choosing—is spun into a social-Darwinist tale worthy of Herbert Spencer.

The Baffler presents: Whale Vomit

WV-13
WV-13

Episode 1: Amber and Sam get the measure of the last fortnight’s most important news, covering everything from Trump’s well cooked steak with ketchup to Mark Zuckerberg’s presidential potential. With cameos from Carl Sagan, man in the state of nature, the nation of Sweden, and Dame Judi Dench.