Francois Fillon. / European People's Party
The Baffler,  November 28, 2016

Daily Bafflements

The pros and cons of getting irony; the cons of Tom Friedman

Francois Fillon. / European People's Party


• Angela Nagle podcast alert: “Because all of this stuff is so steeped in irony,” she comments, drawing on her Baffler essay on 4chan, “it’s very hard to know what anyone actually means . . . So for example if you see a swastika being used by the alt-right, if you take that literally—this person’s a fascist—they’ll laugh at you, because you don’t get it, you don’t get internet subcultures. But in actual fact you’ll see there is a big overlap between those who actually really do mean it and the people who are being ironic.” Listen on for a labor-related reason for such online irony, and a balanced appraisal of Gavin McInnes!

• Yesterday the French electorate chose hardliner François “eyebrows” Fillon as the candidate for the center-right, to compete against Marine Le Pen in the general election. “Fillon’s France, if he wins, will be reimagined as a theme park of heterosexual orthodoxy dominated by a prospering bourgeosie with tax relief and thriving nurseries,” summarizes Jeremy Harding. “It will be a staunch Putin ally with a budget deficit within 3 percent of its GDP and a ‘national narrative’ to be taught in history classes. Though with promised cuts of half a million public sector jobs, the teachers may be thin on the ground.”

• In the spirit of charity, Chris Lehmann, Baffler EIC, condensed Tom Friedman’s 500-page latest book (titled Thank You for Being Late) into a 650-word review.

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The NYPD’s secret M.A.R.C.H. operation has been closing the city’s venues for years—should it be abolished?

 February 7

If Jordan Peterson really is the “most influential public intellectual in the Western world right now,” as David Brooks writes, we have reason to worry.