Art for Fresh Hell.
Jason Arias
The Baffler,  April 10

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias
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And They Told You Diamonds Were Forever

Instead of exchanging wedding rings, one recently married San Fransisco couple sent non-fungible tokens to each other’s digital wallets mid-ceremony. The marriage was further sanctified by an Ethereum smart contract. Both man and wife are employed by the cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase, and apparently thrilled to use their springtime nuptials as free advertising for Silicon Valley’s latest racket. “Most people get married in a place of religious worship, on a beach, or in the mountains. Peter and I are NOT most people. We got married on the #blockchain,” the blushing bride tweeted. And if you felt a little squeamish about presenting your betrothed with a gemstone mined in an area rife with ethnic conflict, violence, and devastating environmental damage, then a cryptocurrency token in the shape of a ring is  . . . not all that different. Still, as newlywed Rebecca Rose continued to gush, the symbolic value can’t be beat: “The #blockchain, unlike physical objects, is forever. It is unstoppable, impossible to censor, and does not require anyone’s permission. Just as love should be. What could possibly be more romantic than that?” What indeed?

 

The Sixth Stage of Grief

If “til death do us part” proves not quite enough for the tech-savvy couple, the robotics industry may have just the thing. Sex doll-maker Lux Botics advertises that it can now create a sophisticated 3D-printed mold of a dead partner to give your silicone girlfriend an even creepier vibe. Though obviously an invaluable service to the bereaved, one of the companys cofounders admits that “we have so far not made any body doubles but we do offer this choice for customers.” Thats not Lux Boticss only innovation, though. Deluxe model Stephanie already features AI capabilities and talks, and the company soon hopes to create dolls that walk on their own. Prospective customers should be advised, of course, that getting caught with Stephanie is a violation of your Ethereum prenup.

 

Leaving a Dolls Warehouse

If a high-end rubber companion is out of your price range, you could always thrift yourself a cheaper plastic gal from a Rhode Island warehouse with a big yard sale on the horizon. In yet another image of the uncanny valley, the New York Times lovingly detailed the contents of a warehouse formerly rented by bankrupt clothier Brooks Brothers, including legions of mannequins,” some of them photographed in artful disarray amid piles of other disused store furnishings.  The firm that snapped up the dying retail chain, along with Lucky denim and Forever 21, seems to have no interest in bailing the mom and pop warehouse owners out of the flood of mannequins, Christmas trees, prop canoes, decorative suitcases, and rows of sewing machines theyre now stuck with.

 

. . . I Did Not Shoot the (K-9) Deputy

When Arlo, a K-9” member of the Thurston County, Oregon Sheriffs  Department, was shot—along with a suspect—during a high-speed chase, community members sprang into action and donated more than $73,000 through a GoFundMe campaign to cover the dogs medical bills. As The Intercept reported, no such efforts were made to support the recovery of the suspect, who was hospitalized after being shot at least three times by police and later told a nurse he was contemplating suicide. He was released from the hospital in late January and booked into the Thurston County jail.” The department, thrilled to have a media darling in the person of the recovering Arlo and his 2.5 million TikTok followers, continued to sell #ArloStrong merchandise well after it was revealed that the suspects gun was not loaded and the dog had been shot by a fellow officer. After tens of thousands of dollars in surgery and medical bills” and a long recovery, Arlo has since retired from the force at the advice of his veterinarians.

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