Jason Arias
The Baffler,  May 31

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias
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Rush Rush, Get the Zolgensma

Three cheers for the pharmaceutical giant Novartis, which now holds the enviable title of manufacturing the world’s single most expensive drug: Zolgensma, a one-time gene therapy treatment for the rare disease spinal muscular atrophy, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration late last week with a price of $2.1 million—considerably below the high-end estimate of $5 million the company originally pegged and a downright bargain compared to a competing drug that must be injected into patients their entire life at a cost of $4 million for ten years. Think of what could be done with all those savings!

 

Jeff Bezos and the Amazon Factory

Looking for a fun and family-friendly summer excursion, something for the kids that might teach them a little something about the joys of capitalism? Consider taking them on a tour of the eighth circle of hell: an Amazon fulfillment center, many of which are now offering free daily tours so that you, too, can “see the magic that happens after you click ‘buy’ on Amazon.com.”

 

Let Freedom Burn

The United States Department of Energy, perhaps anxious about the bad rap fossil fuels get in our age of ecological hijinks, has rebranded the fuel that will inevitably spell our ruin as “freedom gas,” celebrating the spread of “molecules of U.S. freedom” throughout the world as a surefire sign of democratic advancement the likes of which the world has never seen and will not be around to enjoy much longer.

 

Coal: It’s a Vegetable

Likewise, we might move to reclassify coal a “special luxury vegetable,” the “holy chicken nugget of the Earth.”

 

Attack of the UWO

Hoping to slough off their reputation as the world’s foremost laundromat for ill-gotten piles of cash, Britain has unveiled a new tactic: the Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO), which compels individuals to account for their wealth and their batshit lavish spending sprees to prove that their gobs of capital were expropriated from the huddled, toiling masses legally. (Foregrounded as an example of legally dubious conspicuous consumption ensnared in the UWO trap is, of course, a woman, the wife of an imprisoned Azerbaijani banker. She spent some $37,000 on chocolates at Harrods in London while her husband may have been illegally expropriating some $3 billion, which they, together, blew on Cartier diamonds, golf courses, and various manses.)

 

Hillary Goes Hollywood

Hillary Clinton, having failed to rise to the White House on the laurels of her policy proposals , is pivoting to focus on the true seat of power in the United States, following the example of our current chief executive: Tinseltown.

 

2 Fast 2 Gendered

Joining the surprisingly crowded annals of gender reveal celebrations gone awry, some parents-to-be in Australia threw a grand old party, the focal point of which was a mammoth, ear-piercing burnout with tires rigged to generate hyper-masculine blue smoke (you can buy your very own here!). After finding a video of the predictive gendering online, police confiscated the car and charged the driver, two friends, and even the unborn child’s grandma for “aggravated burnout.”

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