Jason Arias
The Baffler,  March 9

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias


Barring Weiss

If, for some reason, you found yourself on the internet this week, we’re sure you read Bari Weiss’s logic-destroying piece about the uses and abuses of the word “fascism” at the New York Times. Much of the resulting drama was boring and predictable, but the affair did remind us of Weiss’s undergraduate studies at Columbia, where she majored in attacking Arab professors. Weiss Week also gave us this short piece from Alex Pareene, which cleverly appropriates the rationale of the self-consuming New York Times opinion section.


Congratulations to Television

We have to applaud Samantha Bee and Ashley Nicole Black for this video (at Full Frontal) about black anti-fascist John Robinson. It’s rare enough to find “content” this smart, funny, and engagingly written on television anywhere and on any subject—to see a historical survey about an oft-forgotten moment in black politics is stunning. We’re proud as hell, too, that the video was based in part on Molly Crabapple’s excellent Baffler #35 piece, “Hidden Fighters,” which you can read here.


Gauntlet of Doubt

One useful thing you could still do this week on the internet: read this essay by Deborah Epstein and Lisa Goodman at Georgetown Law. It considers the “Gaslight-style gauntlet of doubt, disbelief, and outright dismissal” experienced by victims of domestic violence, harassment, and sexual abuse. This dismissal, Epstein and Goodman write, features “in a range of legal and social service system settings” and often results in another layer of “psychic injury” for women seeking justice.


Hillbilly Elegy Does Not Exist

We’re thrilled to find our blanket hatred of J.D. Vance echoed at Guernica, where Elizabeth Catte, in an interview about her new book, subjects the carpetbagger to a number of flagitious burns. A favorite: “To understand Hillbilly Elegy, I think you have to first go to the subtitle of the book, which is ‘A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.’ I have nothing good or bad to say about the way that the story of this family is presented within the book. But what the hell is a memoir of a culture? This is not a thing that exists, and it’s not a thing that people write.”


Metal Gear Trump

The White House yesterday convened a historic meeting about video games. (Let that sink in.) Although it wouldn’t surprise us if they spent an hour or two testing them out, playing the games—in other words, eating McDonald’s and playing the games—the meeting itself was more of a smoke-and-mirrors ploy meant to distract us from pursuing gun control. Over at Motherboard, Matthew Gault has done us the honor of profiling one of the meeting’s attendees, the estimable David Grossman, author of Assassination Generation: Video Games, Aggression, and the Psychology of Killing, who very much believes in the idea conveyed by his book’s title: Gen-Ass(assination), enamored with violent video games, will likely kill us all. Also, Grossman unscientifically celebrates the “intense” sex had by police officers after deadly encounters.

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