The Word Factory

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

Race to the Bottom

Chris LehmannMarch 02, 2017
JBrazito
JBrazito

One might well ask, amid this new chorus of pundit swooning, why is it that so many of the Trump administration’s policies are explicitly designed to foment hate and evil? The painfully obvious M.O. of the Trump White House is to deny basic civil protections to the vast swathes of the population the great leader randomly deems to be a threat to real American values: immigrants, Muslims, inner-city (read: black and less privileged) residents.

It Is Just Open Season Now

Sarah JaffeMarch 02, 2017
Aly Wane speaks at a School of the Americas protest, 2013. / Photo courtesy of Aly Wane
Aly Wane speaks at a School of the Americas protest, 2013. / Photo courtesy of Aly Wane

There is a hypocrisy in being shocked about Trump proposing a border wall when the compromise by Republicans and Democrats included this ramp-up of ICE and CBP and a border wall that was deeply, deeply militarized. I think that is one of the things that we need to pay attention to, especially as we organize somewhat with the Democratic Party is we need to remember that many of these folks have not necessarily been on our side and have compromised our humanity left and right.

Plus-Size Proletarian

Amber A’Lee FrostMarch 01, 2017
spaztacular
spaztacular

Mind and body cannot be divided (until we’re all uploaded to the cloud or transplanted into sexy robot bodies, of course). So while your guilt is an understandable result of our terrible atomized neoliberal society, it is ultimately a malfunction.

Undoing Islamophobia

Hussein IbishMarch 01, 2017
Masha George
Masha George

Muslim Americans must be at the forefront of the fight to preserve—and increasingly, to restore—them in the face of the most sustained assault they have received in many decades. A concerted effort on all these fronts, both nationally and globally, may well ensure that at the end of this ordeal, Muslim Americans will never be the “other” again.

After the Ugly Laws

Sunaura TaylorFebruary 28, 2017
Humans are animals too / Cover art, Sunaura Taylor
Humans are animals too / Cover art, Sunaura Taylor

The ways disabled individuals move when we “crawl” or “walk on all fours,” the ways we sound when we “screech” or “howl” or “make strange noises,” the ways we lack control when our bodies relieve themselves at inappropriate times, the way we transgress social etiquette by “eating like dogs,” the way we fail to stand erect on two feet—all of these things have been used to confirm disability’s perception as an “unruly,” “beastly,” and “animal-like” state of being.

Demonstrations for Peace and Bread

Sarah JaffeFebruary 28, 2017
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor speaking at an anti-Inauguration event in Washington, D.C. / Photo courtesy of Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor speaking at an anti-Inauguration event in Washington, D.C. / Photo courtesy of Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

There is still the issue of childcare—there is no access to public or state funded childcare. The attacks on public education. The attacks on the public infrastructure. All of these have disproportionate impact on the lives of women. On a very basic level, we need a feminist politics that responds to these issues as the most urgent.

Daily Bafflements

The BafflerFebruary 27, 2017
Does the alt-lite owe more to Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters than to conservatism? / Joe Mabel
Does the alt-lite owe more to Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters than to conservatism? / Joe Mabel

Trump is expected to sign a new travel ban on Wednesday. This morning Rafia Zakaria wrote about the routine “de-Muslimization” preparations she makes before traveling: “The burden of trying to ‘pass,’ of trying to erase an aspect of oneself, is not rendered null by the success of evasion.

De-Muslimization

Rafia ZakariaFebruary 27, 2017
Ervins Strauhmanis
Ervins Strauhmanis

In Trump’s America, that “terrorist” label is cast in indelible ink. The previous precautions would not suffice, I realized. It was not just what was visible, but everything that was searchable that was now at play. A reversal had taken place.

Daily Bafflements

The BafflerFebruary 24, 2017
Donald Trump Tweets
Donald Trump Tweets

Perhaps considering how they’ll fill their time if they join the group of outlets excluded from White House press briefings, the Washington Post has compiled a neat little pie chart tracking Trump’s hours since taking office.

Battles We Have Fought Before

Sarah JaffeFebruary 24, 2017
Michael Kink arrested during civil disobedience at the New York State Capitol in Albany June 2013 with a multi-issue activist coalition. / Nathaniel Brooks
Michael Kink arrested during civil disobedience at the New York State Capitol in Albany June 2013 with a multi-issue activist coalition. / Nathaniel Brooks

I see someone like Elizabeth Warren, I see someone like Zephyr Teachout, I see someone like Kshama Sawant, I see candidates that can speak out forcefully and directly and link economic interests and racial interests and class interests and get people to stand together.

The Horror of North America

Niela OrrFebruary 24, 2017
Universal pictures
Universal pictures

Jordan Peele’s Get Out, which premieres nationwide this Friday, is one of the few black horror films not about Africa to feature both possessed black people and the deep wilderness. This cinematic tradition can be traced back to the early twentieth century.

Red and Blue Highways

Joshua LeibnerFebruary 24, 2017
Sasha Lane and Shia LaBeouf in American Honey. /
Trailer
Sasha Lane and Shia LaBeouf in American Honey. /
Trailer

While La La Land is celebrated by the Academy Awards, there’s a different America portrayed in American Honey. It was nominated for zero Oscars, but nonetheless remains 2016’s most interesting film. British filmmaker Andrea Arnold’s unusual story follows a young and profane crew of roving magazine-subscription sellers driving through the middle of America into the rural plains—a million miles from cultured and urbane Los Angeles.