The Word Factory

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

Outcast No More

Hannah GaisFebruary 23, 2017
Dinesh D'Souza on Feb. 23 at Columbia University
Dinesh D'Souza on Feb. 23 at Columbia University

If his speech managed to enrage—or, to quote him quoting campus jargon, “trigger”—a room riddled with skeptics, it didn’t show. On a day when angry constituents were confronting their congresspeople at town halls across the country, the mood in this small lecture hall in Manhattan was subdued.

When the Meek Inherit the Movement

Jessa CrispinFebruary 23, 2017
Who could possibly object to a kitten with milk on its nose? / yoppy
Who could possibly object to a kitten with milk on its nose? / yoppy

Don’t worry—this is not where I insist I am not a feminist because I am afraid of being mistaken for one of those hairy-legged, angry, man-hating feminists who are drawn up like bogeymen by men and women alike. Nor will I now reassure you of my approachability, my reasonable nature, my heteronormativity, my love of men and my sexual availability—despite the fact that this disclaimer appears to be a prerequisite for all feminist writing published in the last fifteen years.

Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes

Sarah JaffeFebruary 22, 2017
Day Without Immigrants march
Day Without Immigrants march

We are unable to make a difference in politicians’ deals but we live here, we make money here, and we spend money here. So we are going to spread the message for the community and be ready in the best way possible.

The Accidental Elitist

Maximillian AlvarezFebruary 22, 2017
Blok 70
Blok 70

The left’s battles often involve conditioning popular discourse to unfamiliar material, while the right has been exceptionally good at “framing” popular discourse so that people will support things that are bad for them.

Not Just Band-Aids

Emily CarrollFebruary 21, 2017
healthcare rally
healthcare rally

As the Trump administration continues its campaign to repeal Obamacare and Republican legislators dodge constituents in fear of losing their coverage, headlines paint the health care debate as a simple tennis match between the two major parties.

The Slow Confiscation of Everything

Laurie PennyFebruary 17, 2017
Lorie Shall
Lorie Shall

There will be no definite moment can say that yes, today we are fucked, and yesterday we were unfucked. Instead the fuckery increases incrementally year on year, until this is the way the world ends: not with a bang, not with a bonfire, but with the slow and savage confiscation of every little thing that made you human, starting with hope.

Daily Bafflements

The BafflerFebruary 17, 2017
Happy Day of Facts! / Twitter
Happy Day of Facts! / Twitter

Did you know that today is the Day of Facts? Museums and libraries around the country are tweeting furiously in support of their favorite commodity, knowledge.

Today in plutocrats: It’s not their fault, says science.

New Praetorianism

Patrick BlanchfieldFebruary 17, 2017
Cyril Fluck
Cyril Fluck

There is a fundamental synergy between Democratic chauvinist exceptionalism, GOP clash-of-civilizations dogma, and Trump’s grotesque strongman antics. The Democrats may prefer a reboot of Cold War apocalypticism; Trump, for his part, looks eager to tear up global treaties, toss international law aside, and throw American weight around in building a new twenty-first century order of Great Powers.

A Moment of Urgency

Sarah JaffeFebruary 16, 2017
Desai at a charter signing event
Desai at a charter signing event

On January 28, as protesters rushed to airports around the country seeking to defend refugees and migrants against Trump’s travel ban, taxi drivers with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance took the protest a step further and refused to pick up fares at JFK Airport.

Follow the Mendacity

Chris LehmannFebruary 16, 2017
Gage Skidmore
Gage Skidmore

The key directive for the media, now that the Post’s reporting has claimed its first White House casualty, is not to let up on its side of its battle with the Trump White House for a moment. After all, the Flynn saga shows in stark relief that the preferred operating procedure in the sanctums of Trumpian power is complete executive impunity.

Borderline Delusion

Siddhartha DebFebruary 16, 2017
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
U.S. Department of Agriculture.

No room in this history for settler colonialism and slavery, none for the importation of cheap, easily exploited labor in the “on” periods, for the racial exclusions of the “off” periods expressed in a preference for white European populations.

Pax Trumplandia

Hannah GaisFebruary 15, 2017
Conference photos are tremendously exciting! / European External Action Service
Conference photos are tremendously exciting! / European External Action Service

Welcome to This American Carnage, your weekly slice of life from the country of Trump.

Another February, another Munich Security Conference, a.k.a. the “world’s most prestigious geopolitical gathering.” This time, though, the conference will take place as a resurgent, anti-globalist far right threatens to throw a wrench in the usual workings of international affairs.