Art for Fresh Hell.
Jason Arias
The Baffler,  February 19

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias
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I’m from the Government, And I’m Not Here to Help

Senator Ted Cruz wasn’t the only elected official who spent the week courageously shirking any and all responsibility for the government’s malignantly inept response to the apocalyptic winter storm that left millions in Texas without electricity, heat, or potable water as temperatures plunged to record lows. Governor Greg Abbott was quick to place blame not on the state’s deregulated and woefully ill-prepared power grid but on windmills and also the “deadly” Green New Deal, an entirely hypothetical framework of climate change policies that has, at this point, almost no feasible path to realization. Former Texas state senator Troy Fraser, who co-sponsored the legislation to deregulate the state’s power grid in 1999, went on the record arguing that this wee little snow flurry (which has left at least twenty-four people dead) is absolutely no reason to “redesign the market,” even though he was himself without power at the time. Rick Perry, the Lone Star State’s former governor, echoed Fraser’s concern: “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business.” Perry went on to warn that this humanitarian disaster might be an opportunity for the left to “expand their top-down, radical proposals” but that Texans must remain on the lookout for any public servant endeavoring to improve their living conditions.

 

Pity the Poodle

Though Senator Cruz and his mullet have weathered a great deal of criticism for their since-reversed decision to holiday in sunny Cancun while his constituents hunkered down in their frost-bound homes, what may ultimately prove most damaging to the senator’s otherwise sterling reputation is the fact that he abandoned his poodle, Snowflake, to fend for itself at the family’s “FREEZING” Houston home. 

 

The Week [Sic] Will Perish

Meanwhile, the mayor of Colorado City, Texas, took to Facebook on Tuesday to opine about the gall of his feeble, useless constituents and their cries for assistance during power outages caused by the storm: No one owes you or your family anything; nor is it the local governments responsibility to support you during trying times like this! Sink or swim, it’s your choice! The City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING!” The now-former mayor went on to note that “only the strong will survive and the week [sic] will perish.”

 

Wear a Crown, Not a Mask

The Disney-Hulu-Marvel-Star-Wars-ESPN extended cinematic universe, usually impervious to the civic rot and derangement afflicting the world beyond its paywalls, has been infiltrated by anti-masking ideology—or at least an unbalanced professional princess cosplayer who has spent months discouraging children from measures that might prevent the death of their parents, most of whom are dead in Disney movies anyway. “What can you do to spread some pixie dust in your life?” she asks as Tinkerbell in one social media post. “Kindly say NO when people ask you to cover your beautiful face with a mask.” Tinkerbell, who canonically cannot be heard by humans but whose voice has been liberated by Facebook, goes on to note that we “need to have the courage to tell others that this is NOT OKAY.” In other posts, she urges parents to discuss the horrors of “chain and cage” Covid regulations, and, appearing as the Little Mermaid, informs kiddos it’s cool to disobey school rules about masks and social distancing.

 

Bad Grandmas

Cosplaying has been embraced by all sorts in this dark hour. Take, for instance, two Florida women in their thirties who disguised themselves as elderly grannies—including gloves, glasses, and bonnets—in a foiled plot to get vaccinated. Though successful on their first attempt, authorities turned them away when they rolled up for their second shot.

 

Having Lots of Money and Hating It

More than half a million people may be currently unhoused in the United States—with untold millions more on the brink of eviction or otherwise being forced from their homes—but let us take a moment to honor the pain and regret of one millionaire who bought a home at twenty-six, paid it off at thirty-eight . . . and seriously regrets it. Though he was initially elated to “live life more freely” without the burden of a mortgage payment while pulling down $150,000 in passive income from investments, he quickly discovered the downsides, namely: “the complete loss of motivation to take on calculated risks and to work as hard as you can to grow your wealth.” Before paying off his mortgage, he was working sixty hours a week ruthlessly chasing down every opportunity to earn a buck. But after sending in that final check, he found himself only working twenty hours a week and losing out on $20,000 a month. He took a month-long vacation. If he—and his name is Sam Dogen, of California—could do it all again? He’d wait to pay off the mortgage and spend his time not on vacation but buying rental properties and investing in dividend stocks.

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