Art for Fresh Hell.
Jason Arias
The Baffler,  January 8

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias
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Rank and Vile

The CIA, distracted this week by blowback from its unsightly rebrand in an attempt to lure more “diverse” operatives to its ranks of wrongdoers, was disappointed to learn it had been left off the planning committee for the failed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, despite its nearly seventy-five years of experience arranging violent coups, death squads, assassination plots, campaigns of terror, etc. Perhaps their invitation was lost in the mail—or, more likely, the CIA, along with the rest of the cash-bloated defense establishment, was too preoccupied monitoring the Telegram channels of Black Lives Matter activists organizing community kitchens to notice a violent overthrow of our corporatocracy was being planned online and in the open. Though the CIA was not on hand, the frothing-mad far right found plenty of addle-brained miscreants and malcontents to staff their deadly assault on the halls of power, from fascist furries with prominent parents to self-proclaimed shamans to real estate brokers like Jenna Ryan, who flew on a private jet to “storm the Capitol” and wound up having “one of the best days of [her] life.” 

 

Appalled, Shocked, Stunned

Shocked by the “appalling” events at the Capitol, many corporations rushed to issue gracious, thoughtful statements urging Americans to “move forward,” as Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan put it, with a “singular, shared focus on our American ideals.” Chevron chimed in, too, characterizing the “violence in Washington, D.C.” as a blemish on a “two-century tradition of respect for the rule of law” when convenient and profitable for the capitalist class. The kind folks at the multinational oil company call for a “peaceful transition” of power because they so very much look forward to engaging with President-elect Biden and his administration to move the nation forward” toward complete and total ecological collapse. 

 

The More You Know

Meanwhile, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey has kept his attention where it really matters: health care. In an interview with Freakonomics Radio, he suggested that the best solution for the health care crisis in the midst of the mass death event is . . . to simply not need health care at all. “The best solution is to change the way people eat, the way they live, the lifestyle, and diet,” Mackey says. “There’s no reason why people shouldn’t be healthy and have a longer health span. A bunch of drugs is not going to solve the problem.” Perhaps this is why Mackey—who is vegan, mediates daily, and certainly has the best health care money can possibly buy—decided to cut health benefits for part-time employees at Whole Foods in 2019 even as sales topped $17 billion. 

 

Money for Nothing

In other rich people news, Elon Musk has now become the wealthiest man on earth due to the alleged successes of Tesla, a deranged corporate concern comprised primarily of hallucinations of “autonomous vehicles,” missed production targets, proprietary tequila, and child labor. Though dethroned for the moment, Jeff Bezos, now the second richest man on the planet, is not sweating: he still makes time in his schedule to “do nothing,” which Inc. hails as a stunning example of “emotional intelligence.” 

 

Limited Edition Art

To the art world: though Thomas Kinkade, “Painter of Light” and progenitor of kitsch on the installment plan, died eight years ago, Thomas Kinkade Studios has unveiled The Mandalorian™ Collection, a series of “Limited Edition Art that captures iconic scenes from each chapter of the Disney+ Star Wars™ live-action series.” The line of Art includes four inspiring scenes from the highly capitalized intellectual property, and each reproduction, though painted by one “Monte Moore,” will feature the dead man’s signature (it’s unclear if these will be done by a “DNA pen” containing drops of Kinkade’s blood, as they did before he departed this mortal coil). Eschewing Kinkade’s predilection for quaint cottages and blazing sunsets, these “touching” Art pieces feature frightful renditions of Baby Yoda and other trademarked creatures of galaxies far away, and can be had several ways, including Limited Edition Canvas ($600–$4,740.) and Limited Edition Paper ($175–$790). For an additional $250, you can also purchase “Enhanced Master Hand Highlighting” performed by an “elite Master Highlighter” to “enhance the existing luminosity.” Financing options are available! Get yours today! 

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