Talk:The Baffler

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BetacommandBot (talk) 17:52, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

"indie rock heyday"[edit]

This phrase is rather vague; it should somehow be expanded to mean "The period in the early 1990's when major labels went on a signing spree after the success of Nirvana," a phenomenon that might warrant a page in itself. swain (talk) 15:41, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Improvements to The Baffler Article[edit]

The Baffler is a quarterly magazine of art, poetry, and cultural and political criticism that was established in 1988 in Charlottsville, VA. Founder Thomas Frank has said The Baffler’s name began as “a joke spawned by ‘undecidability,’ a fad idea of the ’80s . . . in which a baffling sort of jargonese was much celebrated. Our idea was to go in the opposite direction, toward complete lucidity.’’1 In 1991, the magazine was incorporated and headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and sold in bookstores and by subscription across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In 2011, the Chicago management dissolved, and a nonprofit The Baffler Foundation was created in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to publish the title, whose motto remains “the journal that blunts the cutting edge.”2


Influenced by the cultural journalism of Randolph Bourne and H.L. Mencken, The Baffler set out to critique "business culture and the culture business"[5] in post-Cold War America, and first became widely known for exposing the grunge speak hoax perpetrated on the New York Times.[6] One famous and much-republished article, "The Problem with Music" by Steve Albini, exposed the inner-workings of the music business during the indie rock heyday.[7] The magazine is credited with having helped launch the careers of several writers, including Thomas Frank (What's the Matter with Kansas?), Ana Marie Cox of Wonkette, and Rick Perlstein (Nixonland).[4]


On June 23, 2009 the New York Observer reported that founding editor Thomas Frank decided to revive the magazine.[2] Under a new publisher, and with a new design, the effort sputtered after one issue, number 18. In 2011, writer and historian John Summers moved The Baffler to Cambridge, Massachusetts, created a nonprofit foundation, and resumed publication in March 2012, with number 19. Summers appointed Chris Lehmann senior editor and recruited a new slate of contributing editors that included well-known critics Barbara Ehrenreich, Susan Faludi, David Graeber, Evgeny Morozov, Rick Perlstein, and Aaron Swartz. Thomas Frank told Bookforum: “We chose John Summers because he has a Baffleresque attitude, by which I mean he writes with impressive ferocity about the cultural issues that have always interested us.”

Since 2012, print and digital publishing operations have both stabilized and expanded, while the magazine has retained its independence. In October 2011,Summers signed a 5-year publishing contract with the MIT Press.[10] In October 2014, he announced The Baffler was breaking off early from MIT Press, and would be bringing publishing operations in-house.[11] In March 2015, the magazine named Noah McCormack as its publisher. In January 2016, the magazine moved to a quarterly schedule and opened a publishing office in New York.[12]


Every issue is 184 pages, bears a special theme, and contains a mix of nonfiction essays, short stories, poems, conversations, documents, reviews, jokes, and art and illustrations. Themes since the relaunch have included the technology industry (no. 19), pop culture (no. 20), presidential politics (no. 21), sex (no. 22) higher education (no. 23), play (no. 24), friendship (no. 25), health (no. 26), fashion (no. 27), war (no. 28), family (no. 29), and liberty and security (no. 30).

Web-only content appears every day at on a range of topical subjects, including an advice column, “Your Sorry Ass.” Regular web-only columnists include Amber Frost, Chris Lehmann, Corey Pein, David Rees, Jacob Silverman, and Natasha Vargas-Cooper.

In 2012, the magazine became the first to publish excerpts from a lost manuscript on Alabama tenant farmers by the writer James Agee. The next year it formed a copublishing partnership with Melville House to bring out the manuscript as an acclaimed book, edited by Summers, Cotton Tenants: Three Families.

A second book, No Future For You, appeared in 2014 with MIT Press as co-publisher and was dedicated to Baffler contributing editor and deceased democracy activist Aaron Swartz.

The Baffler organizes events around the country in a variety of formats. In November 2012, the magazine produced the “Ayn Rand Game Show” in New York with comedian Julie Klausner. In 2013, the magazine organized a political conference, “Feminism for What?” with contributing editor Susan Faludi. In 2014, the New York Times reported on the magazine’s public debate between the Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel and Baffler contributing editor David Graeber. The New Yorker covered “Three Cheers for George Scialabba,” a 2015 retirement party in Cambridge that The Baffler convened with Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, and others.


Well-known contributors currently include: Andrew Bacevich Nicholson Baker Noam Chomsky Ana Marie Cox Barbara Ehrenreich Susan Faludi Thomas Frank David Graeber Jaron Lanier Evgeny Morozov Alex Pareene Rick Perlstein Thomas Piketty Kim Stanley Robinson George Scialabba Astra Taylor William T. Vollmann

Collections • Commodify Your Dissent: Salvos from The Baffler. Edited by Thomas Frank and Matt Weiland. Norton, 1997. ISBN 0-393-31673-4. • Boob Jubilee: The Cultural Politics of the New Economy (Salvos from The Baffler). Edited by Thomas Frank and David Mulcahey. Norton, 2003. ISBN 0-393-32430-3 • No Future For You: Salvos from The Baffler. Edited by John Summers, Chris Lehmann and Thomas Frank. MIT Press, 2014. ISBN 978-0-262-02833-2. A French translation was published as Le Pire des Mondes Possibles by Editions Agone in 2015.


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— Preceding unsigned comment added by Zacharysdavis (talkcontribs) 07:47, 1 March 2016 (UTC)

More info on the early history would be good. Are there cites for any of the events? I added bits & a better timeline. Ttonath (talk) 03:04, 6 March 2016 (UTC)