Henry Adams defined politics as “the systematic organization of hatreds.” Behold Baffler no. 39, wherein our contributors plumb the depths of the ever-destabilizing, digitally deranged neoliberal order. Jonathon Sturgeon examines how civil wars have spread across the globe in an era many of our cultural arbiters are determined to call an unprecedented long peace. Scott Beauchamp explores how the development of video games has mirrored the imperatives—and drawn directly on the funding and expertise—of the Pentagon.
Meanwhile, in the sphere of cultural confrontation, Andrew Hartman surveys the changing face of the culture wars in the political moment of #MeToo and the Parkland student protests, while Maximillian Alvarez ponders the future of generational conflict in an era of seemingly permanent austerity. Barbara Ehrenreich asks whether we’ve been misapprehending the motives of patriarchal predators, and Robin West looks at how harassment law has perversely codified certain kinds of unwelcome sexual attention as a cultural norm.
Lauren Oyler examines the barren landscape of contemporary fiction and the strange career of Helen DeWitt, one of America’s great living novelists. And Jason Linkins revisits the truth-averse efforts of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as the origin of many of the worst features of the Trumpian propaganda machine. The unilateral disarmament of the liberal mind before such challenges functions as the great enabler of our new millennial age of hatred.