Jason Arias
The Baffler,  June 26

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias
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Ionize This!

Visiting a cavernous megachurch in Arizona on Tuesday to wax ineloquent for an hour and a half on “super duper” missiles, cable television ratings, the definitely-almost-over mass death event, Mars, cable television ratings, etc., President Trump declined to mention the new and exciting technology the church had installed just prior to his visit: “CleanAir EXP,” which, according to two grinning air-quality hobbyists, kills 99.99 percent of Covid within ten minutes” through “ioni-ni-zashion,” no “eon-knee-shuni-nation,” wait, it’s “ion-i-say-son-ized,” or, no, definitely “ionization.” This almost certainly effective and not at all dubious technology comes at a crucial juncture for the state of Arizona as it runs perilously low on Covid-19 tests while continuing to post record numbers of confirmed new cases, much to the indifference of state leadership, which seems altogether quite content to let great swaths of the populace meet their maker.  

 

Extremely Hot and Incredibly Stuffy

The following day in that great and wonderful state, Scottsdale city councilman Guy Phillips addressed a crowd of constituents flaming mad over the city’s imposition of a mandatory mask policy with the following turn of phrase: “I can’t breathe.” He then said it again, but louder, “I can’t breathe,” before ripping his face mask. The crowd, moved by this patriotic display, broke into sustained applause. When asked whether the white Republican intended to openly mock the dying words of George Floyd by equating the struggles of wearing a mask with being murdered by police, Phillips noted that he “meant no disrespect” and was “by no means” trying to “make light of” Floyd’s death; he was merely “hot and stuffy.” The thumb-faced governor, happy to deflect attention from his aforementioned indifference to mass, preventable death, denounced the councilman’s callousness: “Anyone who mocks the murder of a fellow human has no place in public office.”

 

Empty Symbolic Gesture Arena

Over in Seattle, aspiring nation-state Amazon has announced it will christen the city’s sports arena Climate Pledge Arena as a fun way of over-inflating the various feeble-minded and largely useless initiatives built into the renovated arena so as to scale back its gargantuan environmental impact. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos hopes that this sprawling electric-powered pleasure dome of unnecessary waste will be a “regular reminder of the urgent need for climate action.”

 

ACAB! ACAB! A-C-A-B!

Meanwhile, in the likewise glorious state of North Carolina, three police officers were fired this week after dash-cam footage recorded the officers engaged in a conversation overwhelmed by extraordinarily appallingly racist invectives, including erstwhile officer Kevin Piner’s gleeful observation that, soon, “We are just gonna go out and start slaughtering them fucking n—. I can’t wait. God, I can’t wait.” Strange how these instances accumulate to such an extent that a reasonable observer might begin to think that the institution of the police is systematically white supremacist, and that said supremacy is a constituent part of their merciless defense of the capitalist class. 

 

Golden Years

In lighter news, the New York Times reports this week on how nursing homes (an otherwise upstanding industry not prone to avarice or cruelty)  across the country are dumping aging, defenseless, and often disabled seniors out onto the streets, seemingly in violation of federal regulations, in the middle of a global pandemic that’s killed more than fifty-one thousand nursing home residents. One eighty-eight-year-old patient with dementia, RC Kendrick, had been living at a nursing home with a glowing history of violations—that is, until the home abandoned him at an unregulated boarding house without informing his family. Within twenty-four hours, Mr. Kendrick went missing in Los Angeles until police found him. 

 

The Flying Fox

For those looking to just get away from this metastasizing pile of flaming shit, consider chartering this four hundred fifty-foot super yacht (featuring two helipads, a mini-submarine docking station, and a medical center) for $3.7 million a week (or just over $22,000 an hour). The yacht sleeps twenty-five but you can squeeze thirty-four guests aboard for a blowout bash—but that, of course, does not include crew members: the Flying Fox requires fifty-four crew members (waiters, chefs, gym instructors, etc.) to be “fully operational.”

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