Art for Fresh Hell.
Jason Arias
The Baffler,  September 25

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias
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The AIRTM That I Breathe

As diseased droplets and toxic smoke from mega-wildfires, along with more humdrum pollution like carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide, continue to poison the air we must inhale in order to continue, perhaps against our better judgement, living, now may be the time to invest in your own personal microclimate. Thankfully, the ascendant luxury oxygen business is here to provide you with an array of sleek options for whenever you must venture from the confines of your hermetically sealed penthouse out into the moribund biosphere. Consider, for instance, the AIR, an attractive, battery-powered helmet with a patent-pending, fan-powered ventilation system that continuously draws in air through a HEPA-filtration system while channeling dirty air out the back. For a mere $200, you can watch noxious smoke blot out the sun through a panoramic acrylic shield knowing the air you’re inhaling is as clean as the air inhaled by those lucky souls who lived and died before the Industrial Revolution! 

 

Unhoused in Style

Loathe to let a good humanitarian crisis go to waste, tech-addled profiteers continue scouring every last nook and cranny of our hulking bureaucratic police state in the hope of locating a process that can be optimized, monetized, and made outwardly agreeable through friendly graphic design. Hence, Civvil, which aims, in this time of mass evictions, to make it easier for parasitic landlords to hire process servers and eviction agents on the gig economy model. As their site handily points out, evictions are the “FASTEST GROWING MONEY MAKING GIG DUE TO COVID-19,” and they need “self-motivated individuals with positive attitudes” looking to “be [their] own boss” stat! Think of it as Uber—but for unhousing families in the midst of a mass death event. 

 

My Own Private Drone

Elsewhere in the perpetual tempest of innovation, Amazon’s Ring has unveiled an undeniably chic but restrained surveillance drone for your home! The new Always Home Cam, inspired by the drones the United States government uses to regularly kill or maim unarmed women and children in foreign lands, will enable you, paranoid misanthrope, to access a 360-degree view of any room in your house at any time. But that’s not all, no, not by a long shot! The Always Home Cam can also be programmed to seek out and record any “disturbance” detected by the Ring Alarm system whilst making a pleasant clanging sound to alert intruders, pets, etc. of its ungodly presence. The device is expected to retail for $249.99 when it goes on sale sometime next year, after the United States fails to conduct a free and fair election and descends, finally, into unchecked authoritarianism. 

 

Anarchy, Loosed Upon the Land!

Earlier this week, the Department of Justice officially designated New York City an “anarchist jurisdiction,” and there may, unfortunately, be a degree of truth to this. Yes, the social contract has indeed been shredded, depraved indifference runs rampant in the blood, and the wickedness of greed has been loosed upon us all: extremely rich people gleefully trample over the poor and homeless without any regard for human decency while bitching about the horrible state of the metropole in which they refuse to pay any taxes even as they plop down tens of millions of dollars on vast apartments that they have no intention of ever actually living in. They must be stopped!

 

Candied Out

But even those on the lower end of the socioeconomic pyramid struggle to file the gaping maw of their appetite in a land that encourages only endless consumption: a man in Massachusetts died this week from his devotion to licorice, having eaten one-and-a-half bags of it a day for years, recently switching from red to black. 

 

The Buffalo Chicken Sandwich That Changed American History

Rare, indeed, are the truly disciplined. We should look to Steve Jenne, of Sullivan, Illinois, for inspiration: sixty years ago, Mr. Jenne was on hand at a cookout attended by Richard Nixon, who, successfully mimicking human behavior, took a bite of barbecue buffalo sandwich. Like any good hot-blooded American male, Mr. Jenne saw this sandwich and thought, “If no one else was going to take it, I am going to take it.” That very sandwich—an American artifact of great value—has been kept in Mr. Jenne’s freezer, untouched, ever since and has even become the subject of Mr. Jenne’s memoir, The Sandwich That Changed My Life!  

 

The Birds

New research reveals that crows possess the ability to ponder their own minds, a degree of complex thought long-thought graciously restricted to our sorry species. Welcome, corvids, to hell. 

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