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The Baffler’s Week That Was

graduation caps

• We started the week off with two celebrations of the Class of 2014, with a commencement speech by Siddhartha Deb to graduates at the New School, and some news about Sheryl Sandberg’s visit to Harvard. Her commencement speech this week was accompanied by a visit from local hotel workers, who had requested Sandberg’s help in their fight to unionize, and whose requests were denied.

• We also remembered Christopher Lasch, on the occasion of what would have been his eighty-second birthday this weekend, by putting up online an excerpt of his never-before-published satirical novel, Life and Times of a Libertine, and we re-posted Anne Elizabeth Moore’s piece from Issue 22 that explained why anti-sex trafficking activist Somaly Mam’s fabrications matter, which Moore wrote two years before those same fabrications led to Mam’s resignation just this week.

• On the blog, Kathleen Geier enumerated three vital methods of closing the gender pay gap for good: unions, pay equity, and workplace flexibility. As she summed up on Twitter, “Leaning In? Not so much.”

• Willie Osterweil’s sharp piece “Scab Cinema and Pseudo-Reality TV” revealed the impact of labor practices on “green screen creep” (the ever-increasing use of special effects in film) and on the rise of “unscripted” reality TV, and, in turn, the effects of both of those on labor.

• In “Philanthro-Capitalists Can’t Buy a Clue,” Amy Schiller riffed on ex-mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg’s first major interview after leaving office, and made some predictions about his philanthropic future. Clearly, she writes, “this era’s plutocracy has serious tunnel vision when it comes to the power of the market.”

• This week Zappos announced a new hiring system that tries to make recruiting a fun “social game,” where potential hirees join a company-specific social network and become virtual “friends” with existing Zappos employees. It’s not enough that applicants are qualified and available; they now must “publicly” demonstrate their “passion” for their would-be employer. Noah McCormack explained why this nightmare scenario must be stopped before it spreads, in his piece “Friends without Benefits.”

It may not get you a damn thing in life, but you can be friends with The Baffler if you like, on Facebook or Twitter, or by subscribing to our print issue (Issue 25 will be arriving in mailboxes within days).

Whether you are a friend or “friend,” a frenemy or a foe, we hope you have a wonderful weekend.