The Word Factory

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

Meet the New Drone, Same as the Old Drone

Scott BeauchampMarch 31, 2017

The horror of Trump’s foreign policy won’t be as immediately obvious to Americans as his domestic failures. And yet any successful resistance to his administration will necessarily have to address it alongside all the other more proximate grievances. The only viable defense against his overreach is a dramatic rebalancing of governmental power.

Spring Cleaning with Hemingway

Barry YourgrauMarch 30, 2017

More and more I’ve become fascinated with collectors and collections . . . and the shadowy, idiosyncratic zones between collecting and clutter, even hoarding, where the fondness for objects becomes (so often) unruly.

Donald Trump Is Trying to Destroy the Planet

Sarah JaffeMarch 30, 2017
Protestors carry a giant globe and a banner that reads "Put People and Planet First"
Protestors carry a giant globe and a banner that reads "Put People and Planet First"

The way to the push the administration is from the bottom up. In other words, to build a bulwark of political will in cities and states, a bulwark of resistance so that regardless of what the federal government does, states are invested in building a clean energy future.

Salt Lake Snake Oil

Chris LehmannMarch 30, 2017

Bloomberg View columnist Megan McArdle, though, is certain that she’s stalked the true home of American ingenuity, perseverance, and upward mobility in the present-day Mormon frontier. In a stem-winding, deeply impressionable survey of Salt Lake City’s church-administered social welfare system, McArdle announces that she’s found a pristine habitat for the American Dream.

The Great Data Sale

Kade CrockfordMarch 30, 2017

You can tell Representative Mike Capuano represents Boston, my hometown, because he talks like someone who carries around with him a deep and abiding hatred of Comcast. “I have a simple question,” my congressman began, in Wednesday’s floor debate in the House over digital privacy.

The Security State Wags Its Tongue

Jacob SilvermanMarch 29, 2017
central intelligence agency building
central intelligence agency building

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.

Take the Knife out of Your Back

Amber A’Lee FrostMarch 29, 2017

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

Laurie PennyMarch 29, 2017

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 machine of international relations on an unstoppable course towards Brexit.

From a Darling of White Supremacists, a Shrug and a “Who, Me?”

Hannah GaisMarch 28, 2017
charles murray
charles murray

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 shoddiest piece of pseudoscience to appear in the 1990s—would have learned something from that book’s long and noxious afterlife.

Sorry Liberals, Jared Kushner Is Right

David ReesMarch 28, 2017

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.

Daily Bafflements

The BafflerMarch 28, 2017

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 because they had offered mealy-mouthed neoliberal policies as opposed to bold moral visions.

A New City and a National Movement

Sarah JaffeMarch 28, 2017

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.