The Word Factory

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

Opening Doors

Sophie WeinerNovember 28, 2016
Khora aspires to a nonhierarchical style of decision-making. / Keegan Nashan
Khora aspires to a nonhierarchical style of decision-making. / Keegan Nashan

Scores of volunteers began congregating from activist enclaves throughout the West this summer as word of an ambitious project spread: the building of a new community center in Athens that would serve refugees pouring into Greece. Khora, a new center built by volunteers, opened its doors in October in the Exarchia neighborhood.

Good Books for Dark Times

The BafflerNovember 25, 2016
Where is wisdom found? / 
Dave Denison
Where is wisdom found? / 
Dave Denison

Steel yourself for the bleak times ahead. Look backward in order to look forward. Find a good book that speaks to this moment. Or one that gets you through the day. Here’s The Baffler’s list of a few good books. Themes: comfort, clarity, and the clarion call.

By What Authority?

Hawa AllanNovember 23, 2016
Fibonacci Blue
Fibonacci Blue

The 1890 massacre of as many as 300 Lakota men, women, and children at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, by a U.S. Army regiment was precipitated by a Ghost Dance. The dance was originally envisioned by a Paiute shaman in Nevada, a turning point in a prophesy of his in which Jesus Christ had been reborn as a Native American, Paiute ancestors, too, would be resurrected, buffalo herds and other animals would return in multitudes, and “the white man” would relinquish all indigenous lands.

#RIPMyShillaries

David V. JohnsonNovember 22, 2016
If only Hillary had chosen a different slogan. / Gage Skidmore
If only Hillary had chosen a different slogan. / Gage Skidmore

Political candidacies are like jokes: if you need to explain them, there’s something wrong. Hillary Clinton’s candidacy launched an entire cottage industry of explanation. It’s been two weeks since election day and her supporters and surrogates are still assiduously re-litigating the whole election, from her primary victory over Bernie Sanders (he wouldn’t have beaten Trump and he undermined her candidacy), to her various scandals (James Comey cost Hillary the election), to the exit polls (white women favored a misogynist, because they hate themselves and couldn’t bear listening to her voice), to the nature of U.S.

Presenting the New Baffler

The BafflerNovember 22, 2016
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Hello Baffler Readers!

I’m writing to alert you that when the Winter 2016 Baffler hits the newsstands, it will come bearing more than the usual roster of polemic salvos, well-wrought culture critiques, and pleas for incremental upticks in collective sanity.

Daily Bafflements

The BafflerNovember 21, 2016
Will there one day be Snowden Avenues? /
Will there one day be Snowden Avenues? /

At the alt-right confab in DC last weekend, “while much of the discourse at the conference was overtly racist and demeaning toward minorities . . . the focus was on how whites were marginalized and beleaguered.” We know how this one goes.

Begging Pardon

Astra TaylorNovember 21, 2016
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Daily Bafflements

The BafflerNovember 18, 2016
An early Trump Cabinet meeting. / Michelangelo
An early Trump Cabinet meeting. / Michelangelo

As news rolls in on the president-elect’s cabinet picks and White House staff, there’s not much to smile about. The selections have been described as a “team of racists,” “as bonkers as you thought,” and “a total sausagefest.” Here’s a helpful graphic from the Washington Post that will help you stay updated.

The Sanders Strategy

Max B. SawickyNovember 18, 2016
According to Max B. Sawicky, the left won't win by vilifying Sanders's recent comments on Trump. / Paulann Egelhoff
According to Max B. Sawicky, the left won't win by vilifying Sanders's recent comments on Trump. / Paulann Egelhoff

Okay, folks. This is the game.

Bernie Sanders is taking the line of resisting the intolerant, warmongering Trump & Co., while simultaneously challenging the president-elect to put real money into infrastructure and to write better trade deals, Trump’s signature overtures to the working class.

Against Bargaining

Laurie PennyNovember 18, 2016
Darron Birgenheier
Darron Birgenheier

What does it mean to be mentally healthy in a world gone mad? Sirens are blaring, lights are flashing, and we have been whisked out of the territory of metaphor onto the hard ground of fact. The rise to power and election of Donald J.

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before

Sam KrissNovember 17, 2016

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but how could the American people have given their highest public office to a man who is so clearly an idiot? Not just any ordinary lunkhead, but someone who brutishly, bullishly, maddeningly inhabits his own stupidity, who practically grabs the world by its lapels and shouts: I’m a big dumb moron, and I don’t care; you have to listen to me anyway!

Poll Axed

Chris LehmannNovember 17, 2016
Cristian May
Cristian May

As America’s diehard corps of data journalists and omni-explainers wail over the smoldering ruin of their shiny, digital forecasting models, the time seems ripe for the rest of us to ask why the activity of polling is tethered to the news business in the first place.