The Baffler,  November 23, 2015

Daily Bafflements

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• “Burn Down the House of Commons in Your Brand New Shoes” was Keith White’s ode to Details, which shuttered last week. And it started:

I wanted to be a Details man. I had recognized my need for bee-stung lips, carefully unkempt hair, the washboard stomach, the baggy Versace suits, the attendant awed babes, the tattoos—you get the picture. I wanted to pal around with other young sophisticates dressed just as rakishly as me, chatting about the latest trends in “alternative” music and last week’s party with Drew, Iggy, Uma, and Keanu.

May there be a place for it in paradise, where it will be ministered to by winged and be-haloed Orlando Blooms for all eternity.

• On Donald Trump’s merger of positive thinking and exploitative cynicism, Christian Lorentzen writes: “It’s near impossible to fashion a coherent theory of an amateur politician whose campaign sails on its—his—own incoherence.” (Thanks, Bookforum!) Well, here’s one theory about what lies behind Trump’s popularity: “Unlike the proto-fascist masses they’re often compared with–the Trump crowd seemed to derive the most erotic satisfaction from being in on the joke,” writes Pat Tomaino, after going to Donald Trump’s Worcester, Massachusetts, rally, as a Mexican American.

• Today in Smog: Smog is Coming, The Pains of Smog, and Smog Confusion are the three titles of a great smog trilogy by Chinese official Li Yuanchuan, the second of which will soon be published.

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