No Future for You: Salvos from The Baffler (MIT Press)
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There's never been a better time to be outside the consensus -- and if you don't believe it, then peer into these genre-defining essays from The Baffler, the magazine that's been blunting the cutting edge of American culture and politics for a quarter of a century. Here's Thomas Frank on the upward-falling cult of expertise in Washington, D.C., where belonging means getting the major events of our era wrong. Here's Rick Perlstein on direct mail scams, multilevel marketing, and the roots of right-wing lying. Here's John Summers on the illiberal uses of innovation in liberal Cambridge, Massachusetts. And here's David Graeber sensing our disappointment in new technology. (We expected teleportation pods, antigravity sleds, and immortality drugs. We got LinkedIn, which, as Ann Friedman writes here, is an Escher staircase masquerading as a career ladder.)
Packed with hilarious, scabrous, up to-the-minute criticism of the American comedy, No Future for You debunks "positive thinking" bromides and business idols. Susan Faludi debunks Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg's phony feminist handbook, Lean In. Evgeny Morozov wrestles "open source" and "Web 2.0" and other pseudorevolutionary meme-making down to the ground. Chris Lehmann writes the obituary of the Washington Post, Barbara Ehrenreich goes searching for the ungood God in Ridley Scott's film Prometheus, Heather Havrilesky reads Fifty Shades of Grey, and Jim Newell investigates the strange and typical case of Adam Wheeler, the student fraud who fooled Harvard and, unlike the real culprits, went to jail.
No Future for You offers the counternarrative you've been missing, proof that dissent is alive and well in America. Please be warned, however. The writing that follows is polemical in nature. It may seek to persuade you of something.
Copublished with The Baffler.
ContributorsChris Bray, Mark Dancey, Barbara Ehrenreich, Susan Faludi, Thomas Frank, Ann Friedman, James Griffioen, David Graeber, A. S. Hamrah, Heather Havrilesky, Chris Lehmann, Rhonda Lieberman, Anne Elizabeth Moore, Evgeny Morozov, Jim Newell, Rick Perlstein, John Summers, Maureen Tkacik
of startups, a movable brainstorm that smartly takes a piece of the action, a percentage of the New America. Or as Gov. Patrick put it during a visit to CIC’s offices, it is a real incubator of wonderful ideas and economic growth for not just this neighborhood but frankly the whole of the Commonwealth and much of the country. We have been taking counsel . . . about ways that we can support this kind of economic growth, because we believe that innovation is our edge, it’s where our future lies.
York.” Never mind that that isn’t true—on the DVD commentary track Kinkade says he doesn’t know the whereabouts of the painting that saved his childhood home. What’s important is that in Thomas Kinkade’s originating myth, two things happen. First, he substitutes a picture he’s drawn of a house for the thing itself, giving the representation to his mother to replace the real thing; second, it is not community that saves the house, but the sale of a painting, The Arts of Regression 2 143 which
unmatched thrills of leather riding crops and hard spankings), the story of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey isn’t really about dominance or bondage or even sex or love, despite all the Harlequin Romance–worthy character names. No, what Fifty Shades of Grey offers is an extreme vision of late-capitalist deliverance, the American (wet) dream on performance-enhancing drugs. Just as magazines such From The Baffler, no. 22 162 @ No Future for You as Penthouse, Playboy, Chic, and Oui (speaking
around the clock. Maybe this is why hundreds of pages in the Fifty Shades trilogy are dedicated to outlining even the most minor exchanges between this privileged couple and their army of handservants: “This is a Bolognese sauce. It can be eaten anytime. I’ll freeze it.” She [the cook Mrs. Jones] smiles warmly and turns the heat right down. Once we’re airborne, Natalia serves us yet more champagne and prepares our wedding feast. And what a feast it is—smoked salmon, followed by roast partridge
maybe his real problem was bad timing. Maybe he saw what he needed, far in the distance, and jumped too soon. Maybe in another generation or two, Harvard admissions officials will have caught up with the vanguard trends and grace a future Adam Wheeler with a full scholarship for the ingenious fabrications he will lay at their feet, instead of dispatching him to the correctional facility. And by then, future Adam Wheelers will be bedding down in dorms named after Larry Summers, that greatest