Jason Arias
The Baffler,  November 22

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias
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Pretty (White) Woman 

Harriet Tubman, the renowned nineteenth century abolitionist and subject of the new film Harriet, was, as you may very well know, a black woman—but that doesn’t mean Hollywood was always committed to the idea of having a black woman play her in a biopic. Back in 1994, when the film’s screenwriter and producer began work on the project commemorating the life of the woman who personally brought some seventy slaves to freedom in the north, one executive floated the idea of casting Julia Roberts in the titular role. When raised the obvious objection that that Roberts is, as it turns out, a white woman, the executive fired back, “It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.”

 

It’s My Party, And I’ll Cry If I Want To 

As Congress bumbled through another week, embroiled in the hyper-partisan battle to whip up some pizzazz in the impeachment proceedings, Republicans and Democrats briefly abandoned their separate manufactured realities to come together in a rare act of bipartisanship that will no doubt improve the lives of everyday Americans and begin to heal the divisions in our national spirit: Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi came together on Tuesday afternoon to unveil the official portrait of former House Speaker-cum-tobacco executive John Boehner. Boehner, clearly touched by this display of national unity over his face rendered in paint, cried—as he has historically been wont to do

 

Food for Thought

Just in time for the piggish bacchanal of Thanksgiving, Boston University has unveiled an exciting new program to combat food insecurity—which 41 percent of students at four-year colleges report they’ve experienced in the last month: instead of carving out a meager slice of its $2 billion endowment to tackle the problem, the university is asking students to donate their unused guest dining hall meals to fellow students in need

 

The Air That I Breathe 

As air pollution continues to choke the city of Delhi—pollution so bad it may cut seventeen years from a resident’s life and is equivalent to smoking approximately ten cigarettes a day—the market place has stepped in with a solution: oxygen bars. At one such bar, Oxy Pure, customers strap tubes to their noses and select from oxygen scented with lavender, lemon grass, or spearmint.“I don’t know if it’s psychological, but it makes me feel good to know I am inhaling pure oxygen, if only for fifteen minutes,” one happy customer said. 

 

To Live and Die in An L.A. Target 

The pre-Thanksgiving Christmas shopping rush stops for no one, not even the dead. At one Target in sunny Los Angeles last weekend, an employee on the clock—no doubt busily perfecting displays of expendable shit-gifts and decorations that will be in a landfill by New Year’s—collapsed and died. But worry not, the store remained open through the entire ordeal of removing the minor inconvenience. 

 

Here in My Car, Safest of All 

Tesla unveiled an electric armored vehicle on Thursday—presumably intended for the monied and uneasy to keep on hand in the event class warfare breaks out—but, and we can get behind this, the “transparent metal glass” meant to withstand the various weapons and projectiles of the rioting dispossessed totally doesn’t work

 

The Fast and Furry

First the rats, now man’s best friend: a Florida dog took his owner’s car for a spin around his cul-de-sac earlier this week, driving in circles for approximately an hour and smashing into a mailbox before police were able to stop the car. “They should give that thing a license,” one witness reported. 

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 December 12

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