The Baffler,  December 5, 2014

Daily Bafflements


Air Guitarby Dave Hickey
Air Guitar by Dave Hickey

• Today we celebrate the birthday of Dave Hickey, art critic, editor, gallery owner, and the author of Air Guitar, a 1997 essay collection that has become a classic in the genre. Minou Rafail wrote about Hickey in depth for Issue 14 of The Baffler back in 2001. Hickey “distances himself from both cultural conservatives and the lefty intelligentsia, fancying himself instead a man of the people,” wrote Rafail. “A product of the Sixties (he even played guitar for Janis Joplin), he is a perennial hipster, outsider, and establishment-basher…. Hickey is his own ideal American.” You can read the whole piece here.

• What kind of punishment should the head of a politically corrupt non-profit get? How about an enormous raise, and then a severance package on her way out the door?

• With the help of this handy index put together by The Marshall Project, you can look up your local police department and find out what kinds of surplus military equipment it’s gotten through the Department of Defense’s controversial 1033 program. Here’s a fun one: “The warden service of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife received a small aircraft, 96 night vision goggles, 67 gun sights and seven M-14 rifles.” We looked up the police department for our office headquarters in Cambridge; apparently, they didn’t see the need for any mine-resistant vehicles or anything, but they did receive twenty-five rifles (5.56 mm), worth a total of $12,475.

• The Intercept reports on AURORAGOLD, the NSA’s grand plan to hack into basically all of the world’s cell phones. Happy Friday!

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Further Reading

 June 22

For the Atlantic, actual political agency, it seems, is a lesser virtue than the civic jolt proffered by a “mediating function.”