Art for Fresh Hell.
Jason Arias
The Baffler,  May 21

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias
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We Love the Gays! But Only When the Gays Are Nice!

Over the years, the New York Times has worked hard to build up a rapport with a certain subset of the homosexual community: those cash-flush and coddled specimens bred to flash their immaculate dental work in wedding announcements before installing themselves in tasteful West Village townhouses, on the stoop of which the Times arrives every morning, a sober affirmation of their enlightenment. They’re fine to let bygones be bygones. So what if, under the bigoted editorship of Abe Rosenthal from 1977 to 1988, the Times long refused to even print stories about homosexuals unless they took the form of, for instance, William F. Buckley’s 1986 opinion column demanding all AIDS “carriers” be tattooed and women barred from marrying men with AIDS unless they agreed to sterilization? So what if the Times only began, slowly, to confront its homophobia four years later when their deputy editor suffered a seizure on the newsroom floor and his AIDS diagnosis became public? And so what if, on Tuesday of this month in this year, the editorial board decided it was time to chastise queer people who’ve really just gone too far in demanding police be barred from Pride, an annual commemoration of a riot against police violence? Yes, the New York Times, which in covering those very riots in 1969 exclusively interviewed police and offered scant context, is worried that banning cops might hurt their feelings. “It wasn’t so long ago that L.G.B.T.Q. people were thrilled to cheer for every out person and ally who would march in the parade, including L.G.B.T.Q. police officers,” the editorial board writes, but now, one year after a wave of anti-police violence protests swept the globe, too many queers have poisoned Pride with political demands. But did you see how chic that young model draped in a $2,200 Prada sweater looked on page fifty-three of T: The New York Times Style Magazine last Sunday? He was wearing a full face of makeup! “Makeup Is for Everyone,” says the Times! Look how far we’ve come!

 

Getting Sauced

Meanwhile, hot-blooded and God-fearing Republicans out West are fighting for something real. Campaigning for reelection, Governor Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma has vowed he’ll stand up against Joe Biden’s “radical liberal policies” and the “vegan agenda” to ensure that Oklahoma never experiences a crippling shortage of Chick-fil-A sauce again!

 

Apps for Apps

While the wells of honey mustard may be running dry at the nation’s leading purveyor of Christly chicken, other venerable institutions of American cuisine are experiencing a shortage of something even more essential than Zesty Buffalo Sauce: labor to exploit. Applebee’s—home of the quesadilla burger and other debauched culinary concoctions—is so desperate for hosts, servers, bartenders, cooks, and dishwashers that they’ve taken the bold, bold step of offering a voucher for one free appetizer to everyone who applies for a job and completes an interview. Why demand a higher wage when you can partake in the pleasures of a grilled chicken wonton taco?

 

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Nuclear Vodka

To go with that complimentary plate of deep-fried mozzarella mucus, might we recommend a nice glass of possibly irradiated vodka made with apples grown near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant? Distilled by scientists trying to determine if it’s safe to resume growing crops in an area contaminated during the 1986 nuclear disaster—and possibly still at risk as nuclear reactions begin to smolder again in the uranium fuel masses buried below ground—this “Atomik” vodka is sure to pack a punch, though tasting notes are currently unavailable. Ukrainian officials have seized the nuclear hooch due to “problems with the bottles’ customs documents.”

 

Everybody Gets Bees!

From time to time, celebrities find it in their hearts to be of modest use to the betterment of society (hello, Bella). But most of the time, they do things like cover themselves in bees for a photoshoot to raise awareness of how, having spent ungodly sums of money on bleeding edge maintenance regimes, they manage, against all odds, to look extremely hot at age forty-five. Or wait, Angelina Jolie did this to raise awareness of bees on World Bee Day? Bees are an integral part of life cycles on this planet, you see, but it’s also important, at the same time, to raise awareness about Angelina Jolie, extremely rich movie star and single mother of six.

 

Keeper of the Flame

To the great state of Texas now, where one brave man has filed a class action lawsuit against Goop, alleging that the company’s renowned $75 “This Smells Like My Vagina” candle is actually an explosive device. After lighting the vaginal candle in hopes of filling his home with notes of geranium and Damask rose, the man alleges it became a raging ball of fire not unlike a comet passing through the night sky. And he’d like $5 million for his troubles—but not just for himself, of course! He’d also like to see the money go to numb the pain of those who’ve also suffered the wrath of the flaming vagina candle, like Jody Thompson, of London. “The candle exploded and emitted huge flames, with bits flying everywhere,” Thompson gushed to a tabloid. “I’ve never seen anything like it. The whole thing was ablaze and it was too hot to touch. There was an inferno in the room.”

 

Ah, Me So Horny

While we’re on the subject of incendiary genitals, a strange and sexually transmissible fungus has been found in a small number of the cicadas now emerging across the Midwest and East Coast after seventeen years underground—a fungus that causes their genitals to fall off while making them hornier than ever. Infected males, though castrated through no fault of their own, are still fornicating with the ladies, but when push comes to shove, they’ll happily pretend to be females if it means having more sex—whatever it takes to have as much sex as possible, as soon as possible. Within a few weeks, they’ll all be dead anyway. As one scientist observes, “everybody’s having a good time,” and they’re likely not in any pain—“maybe a desire to listen to the Grateful Dead or something like that, but no pain.”

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