No. 2 - Suburbia
The Baffler is America’s leading voice of interesting and unexpected left-wing political criticism, cultural analysis, short stories, poems, and art. Through its six annual print issues (and daily online content) it skewers every facet of our debauched social order.
Founded in 1988 by Thomas Frank as “the journal that blunts the cutting edge,” the magazine is currently edited by Jonathon Sturgeon and headquartered in New York City. It spotlights both new and established writers, and our regular contributors include Barbara Ehrenreich, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, George Scialabba, Rafia Zakaria, and Kim Kelly, among others.
Regular targets include Silicon Valley snake-oil, the deadening weight of consumer capitalism, our faithless media, the authoritarian overlords of our decaying body politic, and their undead neoliberal consensus.
Read The Baffler for essential dispatches from the front lines of the dystopia we all call home.
The epistemic weather is inclement, so in Baffler no. 58, we sent our contributors out looking for what David Hume called “the secret connexion” that explains why one event follows another. The result is a global pressure map of rumors, conspiracy theories, and obfuscating schemes carried out by the powerful.
Possibly the most storm-damaged truth claim of all is the one that promises market exchange can provide a stable foundation for democratic life. It’s this dying rumor of liberalism that Tope Folarin considers in “Masters of Reality,” where the childhood memory of a transaction gone wrong hints at the white arrangement of truth.
In very much the same spirit, Tarence Ray’s “United in Rage” has in its sights the web of myths that’s pushed the opioid crisis in eastern Kentucky, a region plagued by the kind of transactional logic that has offered the poor not the truth but rather another means to die.
Their mortal remains are often subject to yet more bureaucratic dealing, as we hear in Wendy Selene Pérez’s “Letter From Texas,” a story of migration, debt, and a family’s struggle to repatriate a loved one’s ashes to Mexico at the pandemic’s height.
I don’t know how to cut through this electrofog myself. But I suspect whatever works will keep to the light of Jess McAllen’s “The Anti-Antidepressant Syndicate,” which uncovers Marxists and Scientologists alike in its effort to get to the bottom (or the top) of the anti-psychiatry debate.
Or Evan Malmgren’s strange trip into the Quiet Zone of those living in fear of 5G, where he finds the origin of the tinfoil hat and, unexpectedly, some solidarity “against the corporate sociopaths engineering our technology against us.”