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Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

X Gon’ Give It To Ya

Look, a lot of cool things start with the letter x. Xenon. Xanthippe. The seminal LA punk band behind “We’re Desperate.” And that was about it—until now. In rebranding Twitter to X and bidding “adieu to the bird,” Elon Musk not only continues his love affair with the Scrabble-cheating consonant—his startup is named xAI, cofounded the banking service, founded SpaceX, called his third model of electronic car the Tesla X, and named his son with love-blind chanteuse Grimes X AE A-XII—he promises X will become become an “everything app.” It immediately found itself blocked in Indonesia, where strict anti-pornography laws in the Muslim-majority nation automatically censor anything that might presage “negative” content like sex or gambling. The widely ridiculed move ran foul of the law in the old meatspace too, as police halted the removal of the Twitter logo from its San Francisco headquarters, briefly leaving the company marked simply as “er.” Musk continues to fiddle about with claims that the platform will soon give users “the ability to conduct your entire financial world,” while his empire burns, shedding employees, advertisers, and revenue at an extremely exceptional excessiveness. As Exene Cervenka memorably sang, “Some people give me the creeps.”


Bomb-Ass Barbie

The tinsel-town bloodsport that saw Barbie and Oppenheimer open to record box office numbers and divide the populace between those that favor hot-pink plastic pop feminism and those dissidents who prefer to bomb things spilled into the streets this week, as the news cycle delineated two clear paths forward for humanity. First, in Georgia, fretful parents are hiring sorority consultants at $4,000 a pop to transform their daughters into would-be Greek chic debutantes and horrifying living doll-people during rush week at the University of Georgia. On the explody side of things, cyanide bombs have unintentionally killed some twenty-two hundred animals across the American West, courtesy of Wildlife Services, which have also killed nearly 21 million animals on purpose as part of its scattershot mission to oversee “the eradication and control” of species deemed injurious to human endeavor. The secretive government group finally faces censure from groups like Predator Defense and the reintroduction of Canyon’s Law, which seeks to severely curb deployment of the deadly M-44s. While good news for the many pets, domestic livestock, and endangered species fatally dosed over the years, the rift between Mattel and government conspiracy seems unlikely to be resolved by anything less than next summer’s deluxe moviegoing event, a cage match between Albert Einstein and the Masters of the Universe.


Wojak Horseman

Wise, eagle-eyed, Mulder-and-Scully-minded observers have detected hidden signs of far-right rhetoric carefully ensconced within the campaign of Ron DeSantis, who as the governor of Florida, signed the “Stop WOKE Act,” seeks to end Black fraternities, banned Chinese citizens from buying Florida land, and is spending $12 million on transporting undocumented immigrants to Democrat-run states. Apparently, the Fascist scofflaw embedded in the presidential hopeful’s ranks posted a video featuring Nazi mascot “Wojak,” whose idealized Aryan/Nordic connotations were scored, curiously, with Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God),” which is about transgressing the bounds of gender in search of greater understanding. Having distanced itself from the lone hatemonger within its ranks, the right returned to turning libraries into discipline centers and asking immigrants to cough up $15,000 to remain in the country


Harvest Goon

Startup Daily Harvest, heavily promoted by influencers tapped by CEO Rachel Drori, ignored reports that their French Lentil + Leek Crumbles were making customers violently ill while holding a superhero-themed retreat, in which Drori came dressed as the Green Lantern. More than 130 people were sent to the hospital after consuming the noxious snack, with about forty requiring removal of their gallbladders. To tell the truth, this is just what real superheroes would do in times like these—you think Batman worries about the countless birds befuddled and thrown off-course by the Batsignal? Or Spider-Man the hazard caused by coating the New York area in slick, radioactive webbing? But those seeking the combination of appalling grossness and super heroics need not be stymied by Daily Harvest’s nascent scandal, as Microsoft has released a series of Xbox controllers that smell like pizza as a promotional tie-in to the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem movie. Finally, we need not choose between being cool, rude, or a party dude.


Night of the Lepus

Alert! Alert! Fort Lauderdale is under assault by dozens of bunny rabbits! Repeat, homes in the docile community of Wilton Manor are now outnumbered by lionhead rabbits! Only some nineteen of the earsome intruders have been apprehended so far, according to the Palm Beach-based rescue operation, which is seeking at least $40,000 to resolve the ongoing crisis. The slow-but-certain revolution on the part of the animals continues in Oklahoma, where a fish with human teeth showed up before escaping back to the pond where it assumedly hosts its own call-in show, and in Santa Cruz, where 841, the previously-profiled surfboard-stealing sea otter, remains at large. So, now that the animals have risen up against us, this is what they want? Our teeth? Our surfboards? The state of Florida? At this point, as far as we’re concerned, they can have it all. We’ve finished our news. If only our relinquishment of the planet had come soon enough to save Julius II, the Belgian tortoise recently memorialized in the pages of the Guardian after perishing of “an erection gone wrong.” But, really, when do these things ever go right? At least we can take some comfort in knowing that poor, benighted, cock-martyr Julius II knew the one utility that—in this age of discriminatory legislation, feckless CEOs, and sorority rampages—we sorely lack: he had a shell.