How our economy and our cultural foibles intersect
From the pages of The Baffler, the most vital and perceptive new magazine of the nineties, sharp, satirical broadsides against the Culture Trust. In the "old" Gilded Age, the barons of business accumulated vast wealth and influence from their railroads, steel mills, and banks. But today it is culture that stands at the heart of the American enterprise, mass entertainment the economic dynamo that brings the public into the consuming fold and consolidates the power of business over the American mind. For a decade The Baffler has been the invigorating voice of dissent against these developments, in the grand tradition of the muckrakers and The American Mercury. This collection gathers the best of its writing to explore such peculiar developments as the birth of the rebel hero as consumer in the pages of Wired and Details; the ever-accelerating race to market youth culture; the rise of new business gurus like Tom Peters and the fad for Hobbesian corporate "reengineering"; and the encroachment of advertising and commercial enterprise into every last nook and cranny of American life. With its liberating attitude and cant-free intelligence, this book is a powerful polemic against the designs of the culture business on us all.
An evocative symbol of the 1960s was its youth counterculture. This study reveals that the youthful revolutionaries were augmented by such unlikely allies as the advertising industry and the men's clothing business. The ad industry celebrated irrepressible youth and promoted defiance and revolt.
While the youth counterculture remains the most evocative and best-remembered symbol of the cultural ferment of the 1960s, the revolution that shook American business during those boom years has gone largely unremarked. In this revealing book, Thomas Frank shows how the youthful revolutionaries were joined--and even anticipated --by such unlikely allies as the advertising industry and the men's clothing business.
From the bestselling author of What's the Matter With Kansas, a scathing look at the standard-bearers of liberal politics -- a book that asks: what's the matter with Democrats?It is a widespread belief among liberals that if only Democrats can continue to dominate national elections, if only those awful Republicans are beaten into submission, the country will be on the right course. But this is to fundamentally misunderstand the modern Democratic Party. Drawing on years of research and first-hand reporting, Frank points out that the Democrats have done little to advance traditional liberal goals: expanding opportunity, fighting for social justice, and ensuring that workers get a fair deal. Indeed, they have scarcely dented the free-market consensus at all. This is not for lack of opportunity: Democrats have occupied the White House for sixteen of the last twenty-four years, and yet the decline of the middle class has only accelerated. Wall Street gets its bailouts, wages keep falling, and the free-trade deals keep coming. With his trademark sardonic wit and lacerating logic, Frank's Listen, Liberal lays bare the essence of the Democratic Party's philosophy and how it has changed over the years. A form of corporate and cultural elitism has largely eclipsed the party's old working-class commitment, he finds. For certain favored groups, this has meant prosperity. But for the nation as a whole, it is a one-way ticket into the abyss of inequality. In this critical election year, Frank recalls the Democrats to their historic goals-the only way to reverse the ever-deepening rift between the rich and the poor in America.
At no other moment in history have the values of business and the corporation been more nakedly and arrogantly in the ascendant. Combining popular intellectual history with a survey of recent business culture, Thomas Frank traces an idea he calls 'market populism' - the notion that markets are, in some transcendent way, identifiable with democracy and the will of the people. The idea that any criticism of things as they are is elitist can be seen in management literature, where downsizing and ceaseless, chaotic change are celebrated as victories for democracy; in advertising, where an endless array of brands seek to position themselves as symbols of authenticity and rebellion; on Wall street, where the stock market is identified as the domain of the small investor and common man; and in the right-wing politics of the 1990s and the popular theories of Tom Peters, Charles Handy and Thomas Friedman. One Market Under God is Frank's counterattack against the onslaught of market propaganda. Mounted with the weapons of common sense it is lucid and tinged with anger, betrayal and a certain hope for the future.
From the bestselling author of What's the Matter with Kansas?, this witty and highly provocative book asks a simple question: How is it possible that the disastrous collapse of the free market economy in 2008 could have heralded a popular revival--of the right? In Pity the Billionaire, a brilliant, funny, and disturbing tour de force, Thomas Frank analyzes the sleight of hand involved in the right's resurgence--all the upside-down grievances that have transformed economic suffering into valentines for the rich and powerful. This great chronicler of American paradox dissects the contradictions at the heart of the country's politics, and in this "dazzling" book once again shows himself as "one of the best left-wing writers America has produced" (The Guardian).
Why even the poor in Kansas vote for Republicans.
[From the Book jacket[ FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS?, A JAW-DROPPING INVESTIGATION OF THE DECADES OF DELIBERATE-AND LUCRATIVE CONSERVATIVE MISRULE In his previous book, Thomas Frank explained why working America votes for politicians who reserve their favors for the rich. Now, in The Wrecking Crew, Frank examines the blundering and corrupt Washington those politicians have given us. Casting his eye back to the early days of the conservative revolution, Frank describes the rise of a ruling coalition dedicated to dismantling government. But rather than cutting down the big government they claim to hate, conservatives have simply sold it off, turning public policy into a private-sector bidding war. Washington itself has been remade into a golden landscape of super-wealthy suburbs and gleaming lobbyist headquarters-the wages of government-by entrepreneurship that has been practiced so outrageously by figures such as Jack Abramoff. It is no coincidence, Frank argues, that the same politicians who guffaw at the idea of effective government have installed a regime in which incompetence is the rule. Nor will the country easily shake off the consequences of deliberate misgovernment through the usual election remedies. Obsessed with achieving a lasting victory, conservatives have taken pains to enshrine the free market as the permanent creed of state.
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