Jason Arias
The Baffler,  March 13

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias
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Tommy Goes to Hollywood

As a reminder that regular bad and stupid things continue to happen while the framework of civic society dissolves in the acid of avarice and ineptitude, millionaire quarterback Tom Brady, taking a cue from the Obamas, will launch his own content-trash factory, 199 Productions, so as to inundate the housebound populace of our great nation with Brady-centric spectacles—including Unseen Football, “a fast-paced, incandescent big-screen 3D adventure documentary designed to take viewers into the invisible realms of football.” 

 

Mr. Bean Goes to China

China, no doubt hoping to bolster its ailing reputation, has weaponized a Mr. Bean impersonator trapped in Wuhan to generate some slapstick agitprop heaping lavish praise on the government’s “amazing” and “incredible” response to the outbreak. 

 

Papa Smurf Goes to France 

Meanwhile in France, the mayor of one small town is deflecting a barrage of criticism for allowing over thirty-five hundred human-being-cum-disease-receptacles dressed as Smurfs to gather in an attempt to break the world record for largest gathering of human beings dressed as Smurfs. While ill-advised and stupid under normal circumstances, this potentially “very dangerous viral bomb” was at the very least successful in one regard, beating out a group of blue-tinted Germans who assembled last year to claim the title of the world’s largest gathering of human beings dressed as Smurfs, an achievement that will certainly be preserved in the annals of history to befuddle future visitors to our doomed little planet.  

 

Mr. Coronavirus Goes to Egypt 

In an attempt to cut through the disinformation, one Egyptian television program has gone straight to the source, interviewing the coronavirus itself—which bears a striking resemblance not to our very own big wet president, but to the hell-creature Pinhead. When asked of the planet’s response, the coronavirus dismissed the panic as mere “social media talk.” 

 

Neoliberal Hack Live!

As Joey Nolfi rightly observed, this video of Whoopi Goldberg “repeating ‘welcome to The View’ to empty audience chairs is both peak apocalypse horror and high camp.” In a different but similar vein under our new regime of social distancing, failed presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg hurled middling one-liners as the guest host of Jimmy Kimmel Live! to an all but empty studio audience—the solitary instance of cosmic justice in these dispiriting times. 

 

Mr. Dispenser 

Coronavirus has proven remarkably adept at bringing out the best in our otherwise base and cruel species. Take, for instance, this lovely tableau of mutual aid and benevolence in the marbled halls of the world’s most “valuable” company: a man, taking every precaution against spreading the virus, reaches out to receive a dollop of hand sanitizer from a human being with a dispenser of the eminently hot commodity strapped to his chest. Worry not, this wildly racist exploitative shenanigan was entirely sanitary: the worker was wearing a face mask!

 

Sodom and Corona 

Horny hetereosexuals, forced to confront their government’s bumbling and borderline malignant lack of response to a public health crisis of world historical import—which homosexuals know a thing or two about—may be forced to evaluate their sexual practices in light of the virus—which homosexuals know a thing or two about. That said, many orgies in the United States will, for now, go on as planned

 

Tips for the Depressed 

For an uplifting weekend read, consider this excerpt from Baffler contributing editor George Scialabba’s forthcoming—and rather timely—book, How to Be Depressed.

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