The Word Factory

Daily broadsides from The Baffler's just-in-time corps of knowledge workers

Daily Bafflements

The BafflerFebruary 27, 2017
Does the alt-lite owe more to Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters than to conservatism? / Joe Mabel
Does the alt-lite owe more to Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters than to conservatism? / Joe Mabel

Trump is expected to sign a new travel ban on Wednesday. This morning Rafia Zakaria wrote about the routine “de-Muslimization” preparations she makes before traveling: “The burden of trying to ‘pass,’ of trying to erase an aspect of oneself, is not rendered null by the success of evasion.

De-Muslimization

Rafia ZakariaFebruary 27, 2017
Ervins Strauhmanis
Ervins Strauhmanis

In Trump’s America, that “terrorist” label is cast in indelible ink. The previous precautions would not suffice, I realized. It was not just what was visible, but everything that was searchable that was now at play. A reversal had taken place.

Daily Bafflements

The BafflerFebruary 24, 2017
Donald Trump Tweets
Donald Trump Tweets

Perhaps considering how they’ll fill their time if they join the group of outlets excluded from White House press briefings, the Washington Post has compiled a neat little pie chart tracking Trump’s hours since taking office.

Battles We Have Fought Before

Sarah JaffeFebruary 24, 2017
Michael Kink arrested during civil disobedience at the New York State Capitol in Albany June 2013 with a multi-issue activist coalition. / Nathaniel Brooks
Michael Kink arrested during civil disobedience at the New York State Capitol in Albany June 2013 with a multi-issue activist coalition. / Nathaniel Brooks

I see someone like Elizabeth Warren, I see someone like Zephyr Teachout, I see someone like Kshama Sawant, I see candidates that can speak out forcefully and directly and link economic interests and racial interests and class interests and get people to stand together.

The Horror of North America

Niela OrrFebruary 24, 2017
Universal pictures
Universal pictures

Jordan Peele’s Get Out, which premieres nationwide this Friday, is one of the few black horror films not about Africa to feature both possessed black people and the deep wilderness. This cinematic tradition can be traced back to the early twentieth century.

Red and Blue Highways

Joshua LeibnerFebruary 24, 2017
Sasha Lane and Shia LaBeouf in American Honey. /
Trailer
Sasha Lane and Shia LaBeouf in American Honey. /
Trailer

While La La Land is celebrated by the Academy Awards, there’s a different America portrayed in American Honey. It was nominated for zero Oscars, but nonetheless remains 2016’s most interesting film. British filmmaker Andrea Arnold’s unusual story follows a young and profane crew of roving magazine-subscription sellers driving through the middle of America into the rural plains—a million miles from cultured and urbane Los Angeles.

Outcast No More

Hannah GaisFebruary 23, 2017
Dinesh D'Souza on Feb. 23 at Columbia University
Dinesh D'Souza on Feb. 23 at Columbia University

If his speech managed to enrage—or, to quote him quoting campus jargon, “trigger”—a room riddled with skeptics, it didn’t show. On a day when angry constituents were confronting their congresspeople at town halls across the country, the mood in this small lecture hall in Manhattan was subdued.

When the Meek Inherit the Movement

Jessa CrispinFebruary 23, 2017
Who could possibly object to a kitten with milk on its nose? / yoppy
Who could possibly object to a kitten with milk on its nose? / yoppy

Don’t worry—this is not where I insist I am not a feminist because I am afraid of being mistaken for one of those hairy-legged, angry, man-hating feminists who are drawn up like bogeymen by men and women alike. Nor will I now reassure you of my approachability, my reasonable nature, my heteronormativity, my love of men and my sexual availability—despite the fact that this disclaimer appears to be a prerequisite for all feminist writing published in the last fifteen years.

Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes

Sarah JaffeFebruary 22, 2017
Day Without Immigrants march
Day Without Immigrants march

We are unable to make a difference in politicians’ deals but we live here, we make money here, and we spend money here. So we are going to spread the message for the community and be ready in the best way possible.

The Accidental Elitist

Maximillian AlvarezFebruary 22, 2017
Blok 70
Blok 70

The left’s battles often involve conditioning popular discourse to unfamiliar material, while the right has been exceptionally good at “framing” popular discourse so that people will support things that are bad for them.

Not Just Band-Aids

Emily CarrollFebruary 21, 2017
healthcare rally
healthcare rally

As the Trump administration continues its campaign to repeal Obamacare and Republican legislators dodge constituents in fear of losing their coverage, headlines paint the health care debate as a simple tennis match between the two major parties.

The Slow Confiscation of Everything

Laurie PennyFebruary 17, 2017
Lorie Shall
Lorie Shall

There will be no definite moment can say that yes, today we are fucked, and yesterday we were unfucked. Instead the fuckery increases incrementally year on year, until this is the way the world ends: not with a bang, not with a bonfire, but with the slow and savage confiscation of every little thing that made you human, starting with hope.