Art for Fresh Hell.
Jason Arias
The Baffler,  March 5, 2021

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias
w
o
r
d

f
a
c
t
o
r
y

Recovering Cuomosexuals

As the acid rain of sexual misconduct allegations continue eroding the reputation of New York governor Andrew Cuomo—whose Emmy-winning but entirely botched response to the pandemic, it should be recalled, led to untold thousands of preventable deaths, the scale of which his administration then covered up while he played patty-cake with the ghostwriter penning what would become a bestselling memoir detailing his vanquishing of a health crisis that is still ongoing—many of his diehard fans are reconsidering their ill-considered veneration of the cold-blooded braggart. Take, for instance, Lingua Franca, which has removed its $400 hand-embroided “cuomosexual” cashmere sweater from its online store and is now reportedly offering to re-embroider already purchased sweaters with something else at a 50 percent discount, perhaps with another one of its stupid slogans.

 

See Spot Run!

Last summer, the New York City Council took under advisement the public’s rather straightforward demand that the city spend substantially less than $6 billion on a police force that routinely and gleefully tramples the human rights of residents—and the council decided the prudent thing would be to preserve the NYPD’s budget while touting a $1 billion reduction that consisted of little more than hand tricks and shifty arithmetic. Months later, as the city’s schools enjoy the effects of a $707 million reduction in spending, we now know one of the cool yet practical things the NYPD has acquired with its mountain of moola: a robotic surveillance “dog.” Its name is Spot. Armed with its trusty night vision and looking in no way like man’s best friend, Spot the Digidog patrols “dangerous” neighborhoods and ventures into “unsafe” situations. Spot cost at least $74,000. Spot has “tremendous potential” to limit injuries and fatalities because Spot can help police get the “information” they need without immediately resorting to gunning down “suspicious” civilians, as they are wont to do. Spot is super helpful. Just recently, as the New York Times reports, Spot helped police not capture two armed men that had taken two other men hostage and tortured them for hours in a Bronx apartment. Those two men are still on the loose. Good job, Spot!

 

The Thousand Eyes of Skydio

The mechanical canine is not the only advancement in unchecked and unwarranted surveillance tech that has city, state, and federal law enforcement agencies cheering. Skydio, a unicorn startup founded by Google veterans, is now shipping what it claims to be the most advanced AI-powered surveillance drone ever manufactured! Costing as little as $1,000, Skydio’s autonomous “quadcopter” can latch onto targets, follow them, and even predict their next moves! Cool! But what about regulations designed to protect “civil liberties,” you might be wondering? Worry not, Skydio is lobbying hard to shred those final few statutes and ordinances holding us back from a bright future of total surveillance. In fact, just this year, Skydio’s CEO, Adam Bry, landed a coveted spot on the Drone Advisory Committee, where he’ll help craft new rules for improving his company’s bottom line.

 

The Taste of Fun

Meanwhile, one prestigious yacht club in St. Maarten is still reeling from the untold damage wrought by the seventy-year-old Hans Peter Wild late last month. More specifically, the damage done by Mr. Wild’s 235-foot-long turquoise superyacht GO—paid for by a fortune amassed by corrupting the children of the world with the sugar water of Capri Sun—which ploughed through a jetty and concrete wall before crashing into the dock

 

Bande à part

Down but not out, our public schools haven’t yet lost the innovative spark that has enabled them to persist, against the odds, through decades of malign fiscal neglect. Wenatchee High School in Washington, heeding the CDC’s call to reopen, brought students back to campus on a hybrid model in late January (a full two months before teachers were eligible to receive the vaccine)—but only recently did the band at Wenatchee High School resume practicing so that it might inspire a socially distanced student body with a rousing and muffled rendition of the school’s fight song . . . as performed from individual apple green “music pods.”

 

Working From Home, For Kids!

As for parents burdened with children who are not yet old enough to be receiving a subpar education over a piss-poor internet connection, perhaps you might consider gifting your offspring a toy set that will prepare them for a life of under-compensated, all-consuming labor that will leech the color from their cheeks and the sparkle from their souls: My Home Office, the eight-piece workstation from Fisher-Price. With My Home Office, children three and up can “be their own boss”! Uh-oh, you better take that dark roast to go: you’ve got a report due in an hour, and there’s a conference call scheduled with the Series A funders after nap time! With Fisher-Price’s My Home Office, your precocious kiddo will have fun while getting it drilled into their soft little skull that there is no alternative to a life of constant drudgery. None!

You Might Also Enjoy

The Scream

Mohammad Ali

Lying on the therapist’s brown leather couch, next to a tissue box, I find myself returning to a dark memory.

salvos

Further Reading

Heads Up: We recently updated our privacy policy to clarify how and why we collect personal data. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand this policy.