It's Spring 2001. The end of
the party. When the best of the web - Feed and
Suck - go into suspended animation, guess what old-economy
publication keeps on going and going and going....
fights fire with fire.
"The God That
Sucked" -- Thomas Frank
The editor of Baffler introduces the
issue with a light piece that ties together the market crash, piety, politics,
and Barbara Ehrenreich's latest book. In case you didn't know: "The market
is a god that sucks".
"The Rod of
Correction" -- Clive Thompson
Clive Thompson, ex- of Shift Magazine, brings some
CanCon to the Baffler with a caustic profile of Conrad
"Tubby" Black. I think his assessment that Conrad uses his
newspaper chain to expound anti-tax, pro-US sentiments that are not
largely held by Canadians, is dead on. But perhaps Clive should have mentioned that
he currently pens articles for Black's rival newspaper chain, The Globe and
Mail. Clive has an article on sustainable energy in its most recent Report
on Business Magazine.
Testament" -- Earl Shorris
It's not often you hear of one of the
Jewish faith report on a Jewish Conspiracy. Earl Shorris wrote a book on neo-Conservative Jews
and believes that there has been conspiracy of silence on the matter.
"The Eyes of Spiro
Are Upon You - The Myth of the Liberal Media" -- Chris Lehmann
I would have found this report on the
historical origins of the "New Class" (otherwise known as the Liberal
Media or Liberal Elite) enlightening had I not read about the same in Barbara
Ehrenreich's Fear of Falling.
"Chicago '72: The
Panthers, The Trib, and the Night My Dad's Yacht Got Hit By a Bus" -- John
The publisher of Harper's Magazine contributes a
a surreal episode from his youth.
"The Banality of Leisure"
-- Karen Olsson
Olsson takes down the
Wall Street Journal's Weekend Journal, which like many other newspapers
(including my beloved Globe and Mail), now use journalists to cover the subject
of "shopping". This is the indulgence police! Open up!
"Fear and Loathing in a Silicon
Boomtown" -- Martha Bridegam
More evidence that the .com bust
produced civilian casualties. Another report on the swift and ruthless
gentrification of San Francisco.
Hand Job" -- Sandy Zipp
WIRED Magazine has always bragged that
it is future forward. This was no more true when WIRED's IPO went bust in 1996;
an event that in hindsight foretold the larger burst of the technology bubble in
2001. A temp who was there tells the tale and ties it with a review of Paulina
A Critical Romp through the Terribly Libertarian Culture of High Tech.
"The Poetry of Commerce"
-- Minou Roufail
A scathing profile of art critic Dave
Hickey. Hickey expounds "a vision of cultural renewal sparked by the forces
of the free market". If you believe that Las Vegas is the epitome of
democracy, then Hickey is your man.
Mirror Myth" -- Jonathan Rosenbaum
The film critic for the Chicago
Reader lays out some very good reasons why audience testing does not result in
better movies. Includes an amazing quotation on the subject... from a 1947
article from Harper's Magazine.
"The Toys are Us"
-- Matt Roth
Matt tries to convince the reader that
the Toy Story series of movies contain eerie parables about New Economy America.
A good idea stretched a little too thin.
"Death Travels West,
Watch Him Go" -- Mike Newirth
A dark report on the gun industry.
"I'd Like to Force the
World to Sing : The Making of a Yes Generation" -- Joshua Glenn
From the editor of Hermenaut, comes a
conspiracy which is essentially this: Generation X + OK Cola = Generation Y. I
prefer conspiracy theories that are more grounded in reality, myself. Did you
know that there are allegations that Coca-Cola acted as front for the CIA?
"Tell it to the Temp:
Behind the scenes of the listening corporation" -- Paul Maliszewski
I am not familiar with the company Penn
Traffic, but according to Paul, neither are its executives.
Or are you one of those who
cry, How dare Baffler snipe from
the sidelines, safe from doing real battle?
These people are ready to
grumble at every boon conferred on them, and yet to enjoy every boon. They
know, too, their privileges and, after a fashion, understand their position.
It is picturesque, and it pleases them. To have always been in the right, and
yet always on the losing side; always being ruined, always under prosecution
from a wild spirit of republic-demagogism - and yet never to loses anything,
not even position or public esteem, is pleasant enough. A huge, living, daily
increasing grievance that does no palpable harm, is the happiest possession
that a man can have.
-Anthony Trollope, 1878That
quote opened this issue of The Baffler. There
is a difference between being self-aware and being ironic. I think The Baffler
is one of the few publications that is aware of this difference.
This is ironic:
Number of times Barbara
Ehrenreich mentioned in this
Number of times Joey Anuff mentioned: 1