The Baffler,  January 26, 2015

Daily Bafflements

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• West Virginia Public Radio has an interview with a former radical Muslim who says he was inspired to rethink his views after reading George Orwell’s Animal Farm. He says it gave him a new understanding of “what happens when somebody tries to create a utopia.”

• America’s middle class has been shrinking for almost half a century. “Until 2000, the reason was primarily because more Americans moved up the income ladder,” explains the New York Times. “But since then, the reason has shifted: There is a greater share of households on the lower rungs of the economic ladder.”

• The National Post on Dan Gilbert, who made his fortune in mortgage-lending and who is now apparently being hailed as a “demigod” for his campaign to buy and fill commercial real estate in Detroit: “With U.S. cities becoming crumblier than ever, they are becoming the perfect palette for the country’s vast collection of eccentric billionaires.”

• Speaking of finding opportunity in disaster, what happens when a “creepy bro writer” grows up to be an “inspirational bro entrepreneur”? The Melville House Books blog on Tucker Max.

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