The Baffler is a Chicago-based political and cultural journal produced by a circle of writers, activists, and musicians in their twenties. But you knew that already: for the last few years, the buzz surrounding the magazine has been difficult to miss. It’s been profiled and praised in dozens of places, including the New Yorker, the Nation, Lingua Franca, and the Toronto Star, which called it “the smartest and most exciting magazine in America.” All this attention has placed a burden of high expectations on the eight-year-old Baffler. As its own promotional material humbly puts it, “The Baffler is turning out to be to the American 1990s what The American Mercury was to the 1920s or The Masses was to the teens.”
Despite all the praise, the Baffler has had distribution problems and isn’t easy to find. When I finally stumbled onto a copy in early 1994, I turned straight to the much-celebrated essay R...
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