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Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

First, Do No Arm

Take a walk, legs! See you later, head! Sayonara, belly button! After millennia in obscurity, arms are finally getting their due as the unsung body part: the torso’s twin protuberances are now the subject of an ode in Vogue by Ada Calhoun. Calhoun reports that while staying in a fifteenth-century Scottish castle, she finally realized that arms aren’t just sexy atavisms to be fawned over à la Madonna and Michelle Obama’s; they are actually useful for touching things. You can even carry furniture with them. Sometimes, if you like somebody, you can put your—what are they called again? Oh right, arms—around them and they will take it as a token of affection rather than suspect that you are attempting to calculate their mass before you devour them. That Vogue, a magazine about big sunglasses and trendy handbags, feels the need to run a piece explaining what arms are for verifies the long-held suspicion that its true readership are the alien overlords that lurk among us, printing our money, festooning our skyline with eyesore billboards, and inserting the annoying perfume strips into our periodicals to make them stiff and smell funny. Still not totally at ease with their human suits, it falls to Vogue to issue helpful pointers like “our arms testify to the work we have done and show how prepared we are for all that we have yet to do” and to ponder whether “arms [are] the new legs?” Yes, fellow meatform, and tongues shape the language with which we say “buy consume sleep obey” and fingernails are the new toenails. They testify to the noses we have picked and show how prepared we are for all the chalkboards we have yet to scratch.


David and Floriath

Michaelangelo, whom history will remember as a party dude, faced further indignity this week, as the Tallahassee Classical School pressured its principal to resign after an art teacher showed Mikey’s lascivious sixteenth-century sculpture David to impressionable youngsters who, again, are enrolled in a classics school. But words don’t mean what we think they do, according to an edifying Q&A with the chair of the school board on Slate, where we learn that “classical” means moral values and personal responsibility in the current context, not, you know, rhetorical competence and a general knowledge of Renaissance art. Also, he clarifies that the issue was really permission slips and that “even poor people have standards,” which puts me in mind of another Florentine, Donatello, because don’t tell-o me that Florida, where gayness may not be acknowledged and marbled scrotums are grounds for termination, is the state that will decide the country’s legal and political future.


Slothing at the Mouth

In a heartbreaking tale of innocence lost that doubles as a parable about getting what you want, a Michigan teen was elated when an exotic pet store allowed her the chance to feed apple slices to a sloth named Sid, her most beloved animal, only to get bitten by the surprisingly quick-witted arboreal hanger-on and require rabies shots. To make matters worse, the pet store put a bounty on the head of the girl’s mother for a kinkajou she is tardy in making payments on, putting the family in fear that their neighbors are now informing on them, to say nothing about the ludicrous pets in question. But at least Sid has taught us that slackness and chill vibes don’t mean you can’t start some shit. Two toes are more than enough to take a stand against truancy.


Nobody’s Perfect  

A performance of Broadway’s Some Like It Hot has become the latest site of a phantom pooper’s reign of terror: an aisle adjacent to audience members Hillary and Chelsea Clinton saw the fourth such turd to be mysteriously planted in Shubert Theater in recent memory. Whether our serial defecator intends to criticize the former secretary of state’s politics or musical theater in general is unknown, but insiders seem ready to turn the other cheek, remarking that it is likely just an elderly person having an accident and it is rather sad. As Joe E. Brown famously observed, “Nobody’s Perfect.”


Mission Unpossible

Rogue trader Nick Leeson, whose shady dealings precipitated the downfall of Barings Bank and became the basis of a 1999 Ewan McGregor movie, has rebranded as a spy now that his prison sentence is behind him. He recently joined Red Mist, a London-based private investigation agency that works on behalf of investors looking to recoup their losses without alerting federal regulators. Working with criminals on behalf of the other side of the law is nothing new for Red Mist’s founder, Seth Freedman, who did Harvey Weinstein’s dirty work back when he was an operative for another corporate espionage unit, Black Cube. At last, we have the formula for skullduggery: it’s a color paired with a state of matter. Vermillion Rhomboid. Indigo Plasma. Chartreuse Confetti. Magenta Vapor. Nothing says sinister like naming your agency like a cocktail from Sex and the City.