About this project
ONLY 3 MORE DAYS! We're so close! Watch our new video, complete with lens flare and endearing sincerity. (Thanks to Amanda Palmer and Bob Dylan)
Over our 24-year history, The Baffler has consistently published longform essays that have delighted the right people and rankled the rest. Last October, we received a contract from MIT Press, good enough to ensure that we'll be able to publish the magazine three times a year for the next five years.
But we still need your help. We have just enough money to cover production expenses, and we don't believe in unpaid labor. Your contribution will go towards things like administrative costs, website maintenance, and contributors' fees, as well as loftier aims like making our little magazine the best it can be. Please consider chipping in.
The original video:
The epigraph stamped on Baffler 1, from Arthur Rimbaud’s “Morning of Drunkenness,” introduced it as a punk literary magazine. It was 1988, and founders Thomas Frank and Keith White were students at the University of Virginia. Three years later, The Baffler moved to Chicago. Thomas Frank moved into the role of editor in chief and oversaw 17 more issues, plus two anthologies, Commodify Your Dissent: The Business of Culture in the New Gilded Age (1997) and Boob Jubilee: The Cultural Politics of the New Economy (2003).
The subject was big business--the way it talked to itself, the dogmas it generated in culture, the pathologies it produced in politics--but it was The Baffler's high-toned satire that made it the most influential little magazine of the nineties. Most left-wing journals, then and now, offer wonkery, moralism, dialectical obfuscation, and other forms of boredom. The Baffler offered comic juxtapositions that suggested criticism could be a literary art, and drew in readers who did not typically read cultural magazines.
In May 2011, John Summers purchased The Baffler on behalf of The Baffler Foundation, moved headquarters to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and took over as editor in chief. Summers then signed a contract with MIT Press that ended the magazine's irregular publishing history. The contract ensures publication through 2016 while also guaranteeing the independence of its editors, writers, and artists. Thomas Frank moved into the role of Founding Editor. Chris Lehmann, a veteran Baffler, took on the role of Senior Editor.
Baffler 19, the first new issue in more than two years, has just appeared, with scathing, antibusiness salvos from Thomas Frank, Barbara Ehrenreich, David Graeber, Rick Perlstein, and Moe Tkacik, plus a dazzling menu of poetry, fiction, and graphic art. "Fear not," says the Brooklyn Rail, "while the guard may have changed, the mission—to undress the Emperor and perform a full and unflinching diagnostic—has not."
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