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Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Irritable Vowel Syndrome

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a spangle moop in Pasadena . . . wait, wait, let me start again. In a vole in the gerund, there lorved an omelet . . . no, still not right. Call me Fish Mail! Well, if you’ve been mangling lines you were pretty sure you had down pat, you’re in good company. The Captioning Group has released their annual list of the most-mangled names and places, casting shade on tongue-tied presidents, hosts, and newsreaders. The crater where the meteor that probably killed the dinosaurs came to rest is Chicxulub (CHICK-choo-loob, like what horny chickens bring to an orgy in the abandoned train yard). The Serbian tennis star who was deported for refusing vaccination is Novak Djokovic (NO-vak JO-kuh-vich, as in “No, Jo, go fo yo so”). And, for the last time, her name is not pronounced “ad-DELL,” but “uh-DALE,” like Chip is working up the courage to confront his fellow Rescue Ranger about his drinking problem. This has been your daily reminder that “Domhnall Gleeson” is not “damn near” anywhere, and if you can’t pronounce Negroni sbagliato, well, you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.


Eye of the Be-smolder

This week, America had a brief love affair with Viktor Bout, the swole, dead-eyed “Merchant of Death” swapped out of U.S. custody in exchange for the return of imprisoned basketball star Brittney Griner because Russia called and they want their arms dealer back. Proving that his sensitivity does not end with his mustache—worn in a style that can only be called henchman chicBout has called for his painting portfolio to be returned to him as he awaits internment in a prison referred to as, no joke, a “friendly concentration camp.” Mr. Bout’s absent artworks include pictures of a malicious, vaguely Hot Topic-looking cat in chains and two monkeys kissing. In Russia, the trees, they are not so happy.


Magic 8 Bollocks

It’s not like nothing happened this week—Senator Raphael Warnock defeated Herschel Walker in the Georgia Senate runoff, The Trump Organization was found guilty of tax fraud, and the president of Peru was arrested after trying to dissolve Congress and flee the country—but the most shocking developments of 2022 are yet to come. At least they are if you put your faith in boring TikTok soothsayer Hannah Carroll whose painfully predictable, frankly ho-hum predictions this year included that Pete Davidson and Kim Kardashian would break up, Queen Elizabeth would die, and Ye would do something loathsome. Still to come, One Direction will get back together, and Billie Eilish will come out as bisexual—but St. John of Patmos this is not. Call us when a great star, blazing like a torch, falls from the sky on a third of the waters and the name of the star is Wormwood.


Now You’re Playing With Continental Post-Structualism

A specter is haunting Europe, and also the high-score boards of the political simulation game Victoria 3, whose players are complaining that communism always wins. The overpowered economic philosophy and beacon of hope to the laboring classes apparently so boosts players chances of owning at the game that disgruntled programmers have taken to Steam with mods that improve the yield of ethnostates and subsistence farming. But for the residents of the digital simulacrum, these adjustments may have come to late, as Mario has already disbanded the Mushroom Kingdom and returned sovereignty to the Koopa Troopas, the instruction booklet for Crash Bandicoot now consists of the entirety of Theodor Adorno’s Negative Dialectics, and Star Fox has made reeducation mandatory under the new Marxist edicts of lush, 8-bit paradise Corneria. 


Blind Profit

No good deed lazily doled out in the aftermath of your credit card transaction goes unpunished, according to a class-action suit brought against CVS by consumers that allege the drug store chain did not actually send your spare change contributions to the American Diabetes Association as promised, but rather reimbursed itself for a previously-made charitable donation to the ADA. This is standard fare when it comes to charity, where your peace of mind often means turning a blind eye to corruption, abuse, and extremist right-wing politicking, as the Salvation Army regularly backs anti-LGBTQ causes, the Boy Scouts of America has been called “a haven for pedophiles,” and the American Breast Cancer Coalition is a political group widely seen as a scam and donates no money to cancer research or patients. They don’t even care about breasts; they like big butts, but at least they’re honest about that.