Life is suffering. / Wil C. Fry
The Baffler,  January 13, 2016

Daily Bafflements

Life is suffering. / Wil C. Fry
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• Your chances of winning the Powerball may be 1 in 292 million, but that hasn’t stopped the media’s bullshit spinners from coming up with terrible advice of their own. One “expert” on Fox News suggests you “buy as many tickets as you can afford.” For those of you with a lot of cash on hand, you could spend over $500 million dollars to purchase all possible numerical combinations for a guaranteed win. Or, throw up your hands—and hand over a few dollars—for a chance to indulge in the fantasy of a lifetime. Kim Phillips-Fein’s words from over two decades ago still ring true:

Rather than simply manipulating ignorance, the lottery teaches a sly lesson: for people in desperate situations, fantasy is the answer. Reinforcing the message of personal mobility, lottery playing teaches that you’re on your own, that organization and politics are loser’s games. Unlike the liquor salesmen or absentee landlords, the lottery sells a vision of the future—a future imagined in terms of an unchangeable class system.

• (Red) has found a new and uniquely insufferable way to raise money to eradicate AIDS in the next generation. “Concert tickets. Merchandise. The Edge’s rice cooker. That’s all been done before,” U2 frontman Bono—who’s no stranger to shameless marketing ploys—tells us in one of their latest videos. No, this time they’re giving away a free bike ride through Central Park so you can hear all the squeamish details of the singer’s 2014 bicycle accident. Maybe take it slow. . . 

• It’s Big Block of Cheese Day, which means it’s time for more bad puns! So, for those who thought they’d be free from empty rhetoric from D.C. the day after Obama’s final State of the Union, we have some bad news for you, from the White House Twitter account:

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Further Reading

 April 17

Or, put it this way: Paul Ryan went out onto the tightrope. The crowd, so long adoring their golden child, cheered. But a jester got the best of Ryan.