Jason Arias
The Baffler,  March 2

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias
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The Cyborg Wears Prada

The runways of Milan were awash in innovation this week for yet another grueling bacchanal of garment worship. Intoxicated by our dystopian present, the demigods of the fashion dynasties presented for our pleasure: Dolce & Gabbana handbags borne by drones, Gucci Cyborgs, and CGI Instagram starlets. As it turns out, “troubling, dystopian sci-fi experiences,” according to Vogue are the “fashion sensation of the moment.” Gucci thus sent forth Donna Haraway-inspired Gucci Cyborgs—“biologically indefinite and culturally aware creature[s]”— to glide through an operating room-cum-runway carrying replicas of their own heads, all of it symbolic of “an emancipatory possibility through which we can decide to become what we are” by, presumably, draping your trash bag of organs in a five thousand dollar sweater. For Prada, Miquela—a CGI influencer—promoted the fall/winter line on her Instagram, insuring followers, “I may not be real to you but you can trust me.” The future is here, and it’s Ready to Wear.

 

Let them eat handbags

Doubtless, the debris of fashion weeks the world over will eventually surface in the seven hundred square foot closet of Singapore socialite Jamie Chua, the inaugural star of Bonkers Closets, a web series dedicated to “exploring the biggest, boldest, most bonkers closets all around the world!” Inside the mirrored nightmare of Chua’s wardrobe, viewers are invited to ogle and become enraged by her collection of two hundred Hermès handbags—one of the biggest collections in the world. While a seventy-five-thousand dollar purse made of alligator skin is fun and all, the two-thousand square foot closet of Queen of Versailles star Jackie Siegel truly inspires the flames of envy to well up the hearts of debt-saddled precariats across the land. What dreams may come, though, when her new humble bungalow (what will be the largest private home in the United States) is finished!

 

Mission Accomplished!

Thankfully, millions of Americans allegedly escaping from poverty’s clutches need not envy the  vestments of the elites for long! According to the latest crazy-town banana-pants dispatch from The Economist, it’s coming up roses for the welfare queens and kings suckling at the tit of the benevolent state! Now that “microwaves are now owned by 97 percent of households,” we can rest assured knowing that welfare worked. Americans, at last, are on the up and up. As for the rampant tax cuts and deregulation nourishing a widening chasm of income inequality, well, surely something must be done. Perhaps the capitalism boosters over at the Times have a palliative or two on offer.

 

Ditch the ambulance; call an Uber

Meanwhile, Americans—ever the bright-eyed and innovative bunch—have found a new way to cut costs when confronted with the unexpected: ditch the ambulance; call an Uber. Drivers relishing in the sharing economy are just gushing about their merry adventures of colostomy bags exploding and riders spurting blood from open wounds in the back seat. What a fun, legally-treacherous playing field for today’s thrifty public!

 

Labor of love

Ronald Reagan—great pal to gays, air traffic controllers, and menial laborers across the nation—was, in a fetid plume of pomp and ceremony, inducted in the Department of Labor’s Hall of Honor this week, joining the likes of Adolphus Busch, the co-founder of Anheuser-Busch, and beneficent confectionary magnate Milton Hershey. “President Reagan was deeply committed to the ‘heroes’ of the American workforce,” alleged former fast food executive and current Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta at the ceremony. By “heroes,” Acosta means union-busting CEOs and close-fisted executives.

 

Hip, hip, hooray!

In a rare bright spot, Baffler contributing editor, author, and legitimate hero to the workforce Barbara Ehrenreich has been awarded the 2018 Erasmus Prize in acknowledgement of her tireless, decades-long quest to uncover the deceit at the heart of the American Dream. The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation commended her “for her courage in putting herself on the line in her journalistic work. . . . As a journalist, Ehrenreich draws on various disciplines, uniting scientific analysis with literary elegance, and larding her focused writing style with dry humor. A major voice in the current debate surrounding the search for truth, she is an advocate of critical thinking and fact finding. Motivated by empathy and social engagement, she brings statistical data to life—for example concerning conditions at the bottom of the labor market.” Cheers, Barbara! 

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