Jason Arias
The Baffler,  July 17

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias
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Have It Your Way

After continuing to work for a week with severe coronavirus symptoms at the Burger King outpost to which she’d dedicated fifteen years of her life, Angela Martinez Gomez died earlier this month at the age of forty-one. Management, loath to admit the base cruelty on which their business model is built, blamed her death on the fact that Gomez, a trans woman, was “injecting hormones.” Also reluctant to postpone for one solitary moment the extraction of profit from human suffering, management declined to close the store, not even for deep cleaning, and allowed workers, even those showing symptoms, to continue producing meat-like burgers for customers to consume. Workers, perhaps troubled by this string of events, are now on strike to assert that they, human beings, are not expendable. But, it’s fine, it’s all fine, Burger King is a great company: look at this charming commercial in which viral yodeling bambino Mason Ramsey croons about the company’s new initiative to feed cows lemongrass so they fart less, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions before said cows are dispassionately slaughtered and ground up. 

 

You’ve Got Mail!

In a not at all unsettling sign of how ill-equipped our neglected public infrastructure is to handle the general election this November, at least sixty-five thousand mail-in ballots have been rejected this year in primary elections for arriving late, usually through no fault of the voters. While of relative statistical insignificance in most places, 5.63 percent of mail-in ballots—a slightly higher percentage than what Trump lost by there in 2016—were nixed in Virginia because the beleaguered United States Postal Service was unable to deliver them on time. Thankfully, under the leadership of newly installed Trump loyalist Louis DeJoy, the USPS is working to make things worse by deploying a new fangled “business plan” that will further cut costs by eliminating all overtime and curtailing the ability of local postmasters to alleviate staffing shortages, among other delightful innovations that will further slow down mail delivery

 

The Face Behind the Mask

The Department of Homeland Security is extraordinarily worried that this whole “wear a mask to avoid spreading the coronavirus and possibly killing people, perhaps even someone you know” thing is fucking up police facial recognition technology

 

Get in the Van

Over in Portland, Oregon—which wrote into its constitution language banning Black individuals from settling in state that was only formally repealed in 1926—mass peaceful protests against racist police violence continue to receive negligible attention from the media, but that hasn’t stopped armed and armored federal law enforcement officials from deploying exciting new tactics in their ongoing campaign to protect private property: aggressively apprehending protesters and throwing them in unmarked vans

 

Fun Times on the Ellen Show

Embattled multi-millionaire dancing talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, pal to war criminals and credit card companies, oversees, as it turns out, an extraordinarily toxic, super racist, and not at all fun workplace, as revealed in excruciating detail by BuzzFeed News. “That ‘be kind’ bullshit only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show,” reports one former employee. Other erstwhile employees claim to have been fired for taking days off to attend funerals or for taking medical leave. One Black employee describes a work party where a main writer for the talk show told her, “I’m sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here.” Perhaps Ellen will take this latest batch of evidence that she’s an unpleasant and cruel rich person as an opportunity to tearfully apologize in an insubstantial way while simultaneously skirting any responsibility for her actions.  

 

If It’s Goya, It Has to Be Good!

This week the Trump administration, violating ethics rules which it’s never really cared all that much for, turned itself into a commercial for canned beans in hopes of distracting the American public from the irksome fact that nearly one hundred forty thousand people are dead from the coronavirus. Lest that method prove ineffective, they are also probably just going to start fiddling with those very high numbers of new cases, deaths, etc. everyone keeps complaining about: Trump has ordered hospitals to report all patient information directly to the Department of Health and Human Services, led by big-time Trump fan Alex Azar, bypassing the fact-loyal yahoos at the CDC. But even if science continues to haunt everyone, it should “not stand in the way” of a single goddamn thing, particularly reopening every last school in the country this fall.  

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