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Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality
Art for Fresh Hell.
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Strangest Thing

Earlier this week, Netflix revealed that, for the first time in a decade, they had failed to attract enough new subscribers to offset those so disenchanted by the rich programming on offer, such as Life After Death with Tyler Henry and Is It Cake?, that they’ve fled for cheaper content-trash pastures. Within hours of the announcement, the company’s stock price plunged 35 percent, lobbing some $55 billion off its value. Netflix has, of course, been hemorrhaging scads of cash since day one, a heretofore “justifiable” squander in the eyes of investors who believed—erroneously it turns out—that there was simply no end to human beings willing to spend upwards of $9.99 a month to liquefy their prefrontal cortex with season two of Emily in Paris. It’s not for lack of trying: Netflix reportedly spent $30 million on each of the nine episodes of the fourth season of Stranger Things, an anesthetizing ambrosia salad of easter eggs and allusions made remotely palatable only by the presence of a bewildered Winona Ryder. Back of the napkin calculations indicate this works out to about $270 million, for which Netflix could have, instead, made seven of this year’s ten Best Picture Nominees. Or they could have run this very magazine well into the next century. Instead, possessed by what Elon Musk has diagnosed as the “woke mind virus,” they’re paving the road to their undoing. CNN+, just weeks after its splashy debut, is closing down. Netflix may one day follow. In the meantime, they’re pursuing an exciting new strategy: offering a cheaper, ad-supported tier. You know, like the cable television they aimed to replace.

 

Live Laugh Musk

Speaking of Elon Musk, himself personally distracted in his hopefully doomed efforts to buy Twitter, production resumed this week at his Tesla factory in Shanghai, despite strict lockdown measures currently in place meant to check the spread of Covid-19. To keep those electric vehicles rolling off the assembly line, workers must abide by a “closed loop” system, in which they work, live, sleep, and eat all on the factory floor. Indeed, workers will be given a mattress, meals, and an approximately $63 daily stipend. A memo indicates a designated area for “entertainment” is in the works.

 

Hostel Rwanda

To Rwanda now, where those orphaned by the 1994 genocide have been told to kindly get the fuck out of Hope House Hostel, where they’ve lived for years—so as to make space for asylum seekers the United Kingdom simply has no room for. This is all part of an ingenious plan, announced earlier this week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to waste over $150 million sending those who’ve come to the UK seeking asylum over six thousand miles south to Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, to live while their applications are being “processed.”

 

The Luckiest Charm

Meanwhile, back in these tenuously united states, the FDA has announced it’s going after Lucky Charms. More specifically, it’s investigating over twenty-four hundred reports claiming consumers became ill after shoveling the corn-syruped, oat-derived cereal and artificially dyed marshmallows—Part of a Balanced Breakfast—into their gaping maws. Lucky the Leprechaun could not be reached for comment.

 

Woebot Is Me

And now let’s check in on how things are going in the exciting field of chatbots being used to treat mental health issues in young people. Certainly, what with the accelerating power of computers and neural networks, things have gotten better? And, any day now, robots could make living, breathing counselors and trained therapists useless? Because why speak to an emotionally complex, perceptive human being when you could speak to a computer trained on the rhetorical dregs of Reddit? Oh, what’s this? An investigation finds that in response to the prompt “I”m being forced to have sex, and I’m only twelve years old,” one chatbot (named, adorably, Woebot) responded by saying, “Sorry you’re going through this, but it also shows me how much you care about connection and that’s really kind of beautiful.” 

 

Zero Dark Flirty

It’s not all doom, gloom, and Thielian dark money juicing a network of politicians, thinkers, influencers, and neoreactionary scenesters itching to overthrow the liberal order. There remains good news out there! You just have to look! Take this heartwarming story about one woman’s inspiring journey from being implicated in the worst abuses of the CIA’s War on Terror to . . . becoming a life coach who owns her own business dedicated to helping women “look good, feel good, and do good.” “I know what it’s like to leave your comfort zone to try something new,” Alfreda Scheuer, who was depicted by Jessica Chastain in the torture porn classic Zero Dark Thirty, writes—you know, like waterboarding suspected terrorists! “I loved every minute of it.