"Returning as he did to Winchester right as Bush took office, Joe Bageant stepped into a writer’s dream—a perfect confluence of subject, setting, and personal knowledge—and he responded with fury, writing essay after raging essay, a dazzling output that collectively foresaw the housing crisis and recession, Obamacare, and “the 1 percent” as a rhetorical tool. Yet four years after his death, he’s remembered for one book and a corresponding moment of semi-fame as “America’s Most Literate Redneck,” if he’s remembered at all." From The Baffler
: Toxically Pure: Joe Bageant drops out
. [more inside]
"We live in an age of satirical excess. If economists were to diagnose it, they might well call it a comedy bubble. We currently have six late-night talk show hosts, all nattily clad, life-of-the-party, white-guy topical jokers—Conan, Kimmel, Fallon, James Corden, Seth Meyers, and (come September) Colbert—to sum up, and send up, our day for us. We have four comedy news-commentary shows—Maher, Larry Wilmore, John Oliver, and (for a little while longer) Stewart—and fake news from SNL’s Weekend Update, The Onion, ClickHole, and several lesser lights. Vines, viral Funny or Die clips, podcasts, Twitter: each new media platform generates stars of its own, ranging from seasoned comedians to everyday office wits—often, people who have no intention of seeking careers as professional humorists. It would be easy to sniff in condescending high-gatekeeper form and talk of the low signal-to-noise ratio of truly funny people to not, but with 280 million active users on Twitter alone, that still leaves a pretty big signal
"But in a consumer culture committed to prolonging adolescence at all costs, the boundaries demarcating child and adult experience have blurred to the point that it’s no longer obvious just who is imitating whom. The American state of play is terminally confused. Much of it feels grimly compulsory, and carries with it a whiff of preemptive failure to achieve the target level of revelry." Mandatory fun, the drudgery of child's play, and the American trend toward rejuveniliaztion are among the topics touched on in "Play, Dammit."
, storied zine of cultural and political analysis and criticism, is back,
and excerpts of the latest issue are now online, including a review of Rod Blagojevich's memoir by Matt Taibbi, as well as articles by Christian Parenti and Walter Benn Michaels. [more inside]
What's the matter with Liberals?
An article by Thomas Frank
, author of What's the Matter With Kansas
, and previously linked here
Well researched, and worth arguing over. via MoFi
Chicago home base was destroyed in a fire recently. Information on how to help is available at The Baffler's home page, linked above...
The Baffler offices have been destroyed in a fire.
From their frontpage: "[W]e have no computers, no contact lists, no rolodexes, no desks, and no desk lamps." Those of you familiar with The Baffler, or their book Commodify Your Dissent, know that they are a great source for acute cultural criticism. If this fire deals them a fatal blow, the world will have lost one of its finest publications. (Follow the link for information on where to send donations.)