The BafflerThe Baffler
The Security State Wags Its Tongue
March 29th, 2017, 03:14 PM
You would think we would have learned by now, after the invasion of Iraq and the election of Donald Trump, that while security clearances may grant their bearers access to many things, they do not, in fact, grant magic powers of wisdom and clairvoyance. On the contrary, they seem to convey a kind of bland devotion to the status quo. Even as the longest wars in American history have hollowed out the nation, turning us into an authoritarian imperium bumbling toward austerity and environmental collapse, while killing hundreds of thousands, our officials remain occupied with bureaucratic questions about how to parcel out surveillance authorities or the relative intensity of the latest clandestine bombing campaign. You will never hear a natsec expert advocating for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Middle East, the closure of one of our seventeen intelligence agencies, or taking a hacksaw to the Pentagon budget. These possibilities remain unthinkable to them—and, if we listen to them long enough, to us.
Take the Knife out of Your Back
March 29th, 2017, 03:14 PM
It goes against the Hallmark/Riot Grrrl/Twitter sisterhood utopian vision, but the truth is most friendships don’t last. And that’s fine. Never make room for people who treat you poorly; everyone has weak moments, but if someone truly hurts you and doesn’t actually give a shit, cut ‘em out.
Brexit, Pursued by Despair
March 29th, 2017, 03:14 PM
The referendum was the flame; Article 50 is the fuse. Today, after months of recrimination and fear, the deed was finally done. Britain’s unelected Prime Minister triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, setting the legal... Read More »
From a Darling of White Supremacists, a Shrug and a “Who, Me?”
March 28th, 2017, 03:14 PM
When Charles Murray took the podium at Columbia University last week, one thing became clear: here was a man used to denying his bedfellows. You would think that the author responsible for The Bell Curve—the... Read More »
Sorry Liberals, Jared Kushner Is Right
March 28th, 2017, 03:14 PM
Simply put, if President Trump wants the government to achieve general excellence, he should run the government like a general-excellence factory. A general-excellence factory manufactures general excellence. If the government follows this model, it must guarantee every decision, program, law, and announcement achieves an overall quality of general excellence. This is nonnegotiable.
Daily Bafflements
March 28th, 2017, 03:14 PM
• Baffler contributing editor Astra Taylor discusses power with Jillian Johnson, LA Kauffman, and Jonathan Matthew Smucker: “The people who were supposed to protect us from this failed,” Taylor says, “and part of it is... Read More »
A New City and a National Movement
March 28th, 2017, 03:14 PM
I was thinking about how I could get involved in Metro Atlanta, in my local area. By the grace of God, it turned out that the area that I lived in, which was unincorporated, decided to become a city. So, here, this place where I was currently living, which is where I was born and raised—I live in the house that I grew up in as a child—was incorporating and becoming a city. That was a natural fit.
Heartbreak, Hope, and Finally, a Parade
March 27th, 2017, 03:14 PM
I found myself in Cleveland late last fall, a mere week after the Tribe lost a heartbreaking Game Seven of the World Series in extra innings, the same way they lost the World Series in 1997 with an exciting team that featured a young Manny Ramirez and a young(ish) Jim Thome. The mood in Cleveland last fall didn’t feel as somber as I expected, and perhaps that makes sense.
Daily Bafflements
March 24th, 2017, 03:14 PM
• Variety reports that actress Brie Larson will play Victoria Woodhull in an upcoming film. Woodhull, dutiful Baffler readers will note, was the first woman candidate for the American presidency (in 1872, forty years before... Read More »
If All You Have Is a Hammer
March 24th, 2017, 03:14 PM
When you sign up, allegedly, to fight for freedom and democracy and you see nothing of that kind being practiced here in the United States, with the mass surveillance and the reach of agencies like the National Security Agency, etc., this is not what you put your life on the line for. When I see someone like Colin Kaepernick refusing to put his hand over his heart and stand for the national anthem, I think people who have actually sacrificed for freedom and democracy really respond well to that in a lot of ways.