Daily Bafflements

Happy laundering! And the newspaper of record takes on punk.

The BafflerAugust 15, 2016
The New York Times: Whistling eternal yesterday

The venerable Gray Lady never met an underground movement she didn’t understand. / Corey Doctorow

• Over at In These Times, Baffler contributor Kathleen Geier writes that “the progressive label has become little more than a marketing tool . . . As early as the 1970s, liberalism was in bad odor, and some liberal politicians were adopting ‘progressive’ as their preferred euphemism . . . It’s a happy-talk kind of word that can help launder some really nasty politics.”

• To paraphrase our founding editor, no one can say the New York Times is out of touch with a forty-year-old subculture. Yesterday it tried to put a pin in punk’s elusive meaning: “It’s like a massive piece of denim, and with that denim you can make something really cool.” Hm. Try Eugenia Williamson, instead, on spinoff documentaries about latter-day punks turned fathers: “If these fellows are the last true adherents to punk’s legacy, it seems punk has not only voted for Rand Paul but is raising children in a McMansion funded by festival dates.”

• “Text analysis of Trump’s tweets confirms he writes only the (angrier) Android half.”