Jason Arias
The Baffler,  May 17

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias
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Hey, Shooter, Leave Them Kids Alone

As the studious whippersnappers of our fine and good nation eagerly await the carefree idyll of summer vacation, elementary, middle, and high schools have been performing active school shooter drills en masse—lest the necessary combat zone skills and crippling anxiety drift from their minds. Over in Pennsylvania, one school district went to great lengths in a recent active shooter drill to achieve an admirable degree of realism, having a teacher wear an Arab headscarf, or keffiyeh, to remind students of the real enemy, which is most assuredly not a scourge of mass-murdering white men with unregulated access to assault weapons.

 

Driver, Shut the Fuck Up

Inspired to allow lowly humans the chance to live out Beyonce’s “Partition,” Uber—now valued at a mere $69 billion after a “disappointing” IPO—has rolled out a new feature across its black car service: the ability to tell their driver to shut the fuck up with the press of a button. Dubbed “Quiet Mode,” this handy baton of class superiority is so cool that even Martha Stewart is using it. It’s a good thing.

 

Inglorious Profit Margins

The Pentagon, steadfastly dedicated to drumming up support for cockamamie imperial ventures in the Middle East with every breath, has come under fire after a report revealed that for all the entity’s spendthrift ways, they’ve allowed some contractors the chance to reap profit margins as high as 9,400 percent on highly technical, complex goods like a half-inch metal pin.

 

Hip Hip Hooray!

A round of applause for Navient—the much-beloved purveyor of student loans—as they’ve just made the Fortune 500 list for the third year in a row after posting revenue north of $5 billion. It’s taken millions of people suffering endlessly under the burden of crippling debt to get here, but, gee, are they grateful!

 

Godspeed All the Strippers at Dawn

A member of the indie rock band The Shins, hoping to join all the cool kids starting their own baby lifestyle brands, is reportedly trying to force a stripper to abandon her Instagram handle because her nom de plume just so happens to be the name of his daughter, which he’s trying to copyright. No word yet if one of the progenitors of introspective shit ballads like “New Slang” will take legal action in the quest to sell overpriced, Fair Trade cloth diapers.

 

Live Más

Taco Bell is opening a boutique pop-up hotel in Palm Springs this summer, and it’s guaranteed to be a “Tacoasis in the desert” for those who’ve fantasized of ordering a Crunch Wrap Supreme as room service. Amenities will include poolside cocktails and a salon offering up “Taco Bell-inspired nail art, fades, and a braid bar.”

 

The Wonder Bra

Elsewhere in the realm of luxury omni-channel lifestyle brands, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop is back in the throes of controversy for hocking a NSFW $250 “voyeur frame bra” that is effectively just a piece of silk string. Meanwhile (in less important news) the lady governor of Alabama—where every life is sacred—oversaw her seventh execution one day after criminalizing abortion; CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is the highest it’s been in three million years; the United States is on the brink of war in Iran; etc., etc., blah blah. But the bra! It’s a string! And it’s $250! The gall!

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