A manufacturer of virtual reality headsets is slurping up venture capital from investors who bet you'd rather not see things quite as they really are. / Nan Palermo
The Baffler,  August 21, 2015

Daily Bafflements

A manufacturer of virtual reality headsets is slurping up venture capital from investors who bet you'd rather not see things quite as they really are. / Nan Palermo
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• Today in billionaires: over $1.6 billion has been promised for unbuilt apartments at 220 Central Park South, a building that’s been nicknamed the “Billionaire’s Bunker.” One of these apartments might set you back anywhere from $30 million to $160 million. We suppose it’s better if they congregate, rather than reaching their tentacles into many disparate neighborhoods at once, or—as we learned yesterday—renovating their own places with children’s gravestones.

• Glyph, the maker of a virtual reality headset, has secured $24 million in venture capital to start manufacturing and shipping the product before the end of the year. Why invest money in improving the world, when you can just replace it instead? We can’t wait to learn how many of these puppies are shipped to 220 Central Park South.

Fast Company brings us news of carefully planned “innovation districts” springing up across America. Will they save our poor cities? Not if they look much like the one that’s already sprung up in The Baffler’s backyard, explored by editor in chief John Summers.

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The Betrayal of Democracy

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The globalized power elite that may feel more at home in Taiwan or Singapore isn’t objectionable because its members may be in thrall to some sinister, unpatriotic economic loyalties, as Bannon and his retinue of Trump enablers tirelessly insist. No, the members of the placeless, merit-obsessed global ruling class deserve our scorn because they’ve turned their backs on the larger project of sharing democratic civilization on an equitable basis with their fellow citizens. Instead, they’ve arrogated knowledge—an artificially scarce social good—as their own monopoly franchise and, in the process, systematically hollowed out the local institutions and impersonal forums for public debate that helped diffuse a democratic civilization.

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