• Baffler contributor A.S. Hamrah has reviewed some of the year’s top films over at n+1, highlighting the delusional cheeriness of which American entertainment is made, from The Martian—“a children’s movie about how great science is”—to Joy—“a fairy tale of lean-in capitalism about a Cinderella without a prince.”
• The Atlantic asks whether Ben Carson’s presidential bid is a scam:
First, many of the companies being paid millions and millions of dollars [by the Carson campaign] are run by top campaign officials or their friends and relations, meaning those people are making a mint. Second, many of the contributions are coming from small-dollar donors. If that money is being given by well-meaning grassroots conservatives for a campaign that’s designed not to win but to produce revenue for venders, isn’t it just a grift?
More important, perhaps, is the question of whether or not the candidate was in on the action. As David Graham writes, “the most sympathetic interpretation is that Carson, like his donors, was being taken for a ride by his aides. . . . That doesn’t necessarily reflect well on him, though. If Carson couldn’t see what was going on in his own campaign, is he ready to run the country?”
• In the midst of violent attacks, budget cuts, and strict regulations, abortion clinic closures are becoming widespread in blue states, too.