Bored by the predictable patterns of contemporary irony, as in the Onion and The Daily Show? Hungry for more intellectual and political meat in the gravy of Colbert-era topical humor? Then you may be ready for No Future for You: Salvos from the Baffler. This is the magazine’s latest anthology of “salvos” (“Don’t call them essays,” said editor John Summers) and contains some of the most thorough and devastating takedowns in recent American public discourse, aimed at a range of targets broad enough to include right- and left-wing politics, the Atlantic, the “painter of light” Thomas Kinkade, the software handbook author Tim O’Reilly, and the bogus networking pyramid scheme that is LinkedIn.
The man who holds this empire of consensus deconstruction together is Baffler Editor in Chief Summers, and he will be speaking at UCSB on Friday, October 24, as a guest of the university’s Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy. Although Summers is billed as an expert on the work of seminal sociologist C. Wright Mills, author of The Power Elite, he’s really in town on a stealth mission to convert more skeptical intellectuals to his particular brand of gloves-off engagement with contemporary culture. If you have a critical bone left in your aching post-millennial body, you owe it to yourself to seek out this avatar of a new level of intelligent polemic.
John Summers will give a talk titled C. Wright Mills, Then and Now Friday, October 24, at 1 p.m., in UCSB’s 4041 HSSB. No Future for You: Salvos from the Baffler (MIT Press, 2014) is available at amazon.com.