Art for Fresh Hell.
Jason Arias
The Baffler,  May 1

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias
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Papal Playtime 

If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to guide the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics in worshipping a fictitious god, the forthcoming video game Pope Simulator is likely to be right up your alley. Promising to recreate in lifelike detail the heady joys of subsisting, parasite-like, on the misguided prayers and tithes of zealots, this first-person adventure in the application of soft power will take you from one exotic, war-torn locale to the next as you strategically weaponize the ambiguous words of God to advance your own agenda, stopping along the way to gesticulate vaguely over impoverished, wide-eyed children in a simulation of imparting an inept blessing. A release date has not yet been announced. 

 

I’m N Luv (Wit a Drive Thru Stripper)

Sex sells, even from a responsible distance—or at least that’s the hope powering the Lucky Devil Lounge in Portland, Oregon, a strip club that has shifted their operations to a drive-thru format for the duration of the crisis, offering horned-up consumers the ability to ogle bemasked buxom babes from the safety of their vehicle while waiting for their food order

 

Commemorate This!

The unofficial gift shop of the White House, fearful the populace may one day let slip from their porous memory the exciting times of mass death and shameless greed we’re living through, has unveiled a pair of limited edition commemorative coins to mark the occasion of this global pandemic. One announces the fateful matchup of the world v. the virus, during which “Everyday HEROES Suited Up” and “Everyday CITIZENS Did Their Part” to fight the “UNSEEN Enemy.” The other eminently tasteful coin applauds the propagandizing efforts of the Covid-19 Task Force to distance itself from any culpability whatsoever for this arduous chapter in our history. The two coins, presented in an elegant “White House Seal Presentation Case,” can be yours for a mere $100—but let us not put a price on honoring the ultimate sacrifice sixty thousand brave Americans have already made and untold thousands more will soon make on the market’s behalf.    

 

Body Bagging, Body Body Bagging 

Lest we give the impression the Trump administration continues to do nothing to prepare for the tough times that still await us, it should be noted that last month, while the federal government was working hand over fist to shovel hundreds of billions to corporations, they also placed orders for well over one hundred thousand additional body bags. It sure would be embarrassing, after all, to reopen the economy and have nowhere to put all the resulting corpses!   

 

The Eels Have Eyes

Eels in one Japanese aquarium are beginning to forget what humans look like. Concerned they are rapidly becoming desocialized like the rest of us and may come to see the human species as a threat—which it is—the aquarium is encouraging visitors to beam their frightening visages into the eel tank via video link as part of a “face-showing festival.”    

 

House Hunters: Pandemic Edition 

Nothing arouses the need to shop quite like a global pandemic threatening to accelerate the dawn of neofeudalism, and the super rich are taking advantage of these uncertain times to do a bit of house hunting. Bill and Melinda Gates, to celebrate the spare change they’ve thrown toward research efforts to combat Covid-19, last week plopped down $43 million on an oceanfront compound outside of San Diego. Not one to miss out on the fun, billionaire bargainista Kylie Jenner, ditching her pastel pleasure dome in Hidden Hills, scored an $18.5 million discount on a temple of marble with fourteen bathrooms, landing the property for a mere $35.6 million.

 

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