Art for Fresh Hell.
Jason Arias
The Baffler,  October 9

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias
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Fetch the Bolt Cutters!

Last year, chaste tech-fetishists rejoiced at the unveiling of the Qiui Cellmate, the “world’s first” Bluetooth-enabled chastity device, which allows a trusted partner to remotely lock and unlock the polycarbonate cock cage for the low price of $189. A recently discovered security flaw in the sensuous software, however, left the device vulnerable to amateur hackers, who could, with only the slightest effort, permanently imprison the user’s penis absent an intervention from, say, a heavy-duty angle grinder or bolt cutter. While many men were justifiably aghast that total strangers could, suddenly, dictate the terms of their sexual activity, this “flaw” appears to be entirely in line with the company’s belief that “a true chastity experience is one that does not allow the wearer to have any control over.”

 

Slackers Unite

Whether millennial or Gen Z, today’s immiserated youth—who will almost certainly work harder, earn less, and die earlier than their forebears on a firebombed planet—must reach across the arbitrary generational divide concocted by advertisers and come together under a new banner, one that speaks, in a deep and meaningful way, to the experience of economic precarity and environmental degradation that we all, to varying degrees, share. Thankfully, the shoe company Cole Haan, a subsidiary of private equity firm Apax Partners Worldwide LLP, has an idea that’s sure to unite us: the Slack Generation ZERØGRAND unisex sneaker, an “effortessly versatile” pair of shoes in Stitchlite™ that provides “luxurious comfort for your daily hustle.” Retailing for $120 (or starting at $40 a month with Affirm), these shoes eschew partisan and generational divides, speaking, instead, to how we can all come together on the chat app to make “great things possible.”

 

Like Father, Like Son

Here’s another heartwarming moment of intergenerational camaraderie: soldiers who deployed to Afghanistan nineteen years ago to sacrifice their lives for an ill-advised imperial misadventure are now watching their children deploy to fight the very same war! A joyous moment, this passing of the baton from one doomed generation to the next. 

 

First in Class

Whether poor or wealthy, parents and children alike are struggling with “remote learning” during the pandemic. The similarities end there: while impoverished children continue flailing, perhaps permanently hindering their socioeconomic prospects, the extremely rich can capitalize on the new trend of the “school-cation,” only the latest advantage they, purely as a consequence of their ungodly wealth, are granted access to. The “school-cation,” as detailed by the Wall Street Journal (paywalled), helps mom, dad, and nanny ease the burden of distance-learning. At the five-star Eden Cap Cana resort in the Dominican Republic, for instance, families staying a minimum of fifteen nights now get their own in-suite classroom and access to three bilingual “children concierges” who can help with homework and oversee run-of-the-mill extracurricular activities “like Merengue dance lessons”—all for a mere $27,000. 

 

Ten Million Jimmy Choos and You Can Too

After a long and arduous struggle lasting some six years, Texas’s Teresa Roemer has at long last managed to sell her home, what would be just another unremarkable, tasteless seventeen-thousand-square-foot manse choked with chintz and “Egyptian crystal” chandeliers—were it not for the erstwhile owner’s self-described “she-cave.” The “she-cave,” in this instance, is the largest closet in the continental United States. Taking up three floors connected by spiral staircases and sprawling over three-thousand square feet, this “closet” could comfortably fit three average American apartments. The final sale price for the “home” has not been made public.

 

We’re Doomed, etc., etc.

In other news in absolutely no way connected to the availability of $27,000 “school-cations” at five-star resorts during a mass death event or Costco-sized closets chock full of designer clothes manufactured by wage slaves in the Global South, new research makes it overwhelmingly clear that massive swaths of Amazon rainforest—due to logging, corporate agriculture, drought, and fires—are at a tipping point and may soon permanently turn into grassland. This, we are confident, will have little to no impact on the rest of the planet, will in no way make things even worse than they already are. 

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