Jason Arias
The Baffler,  August 16

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias
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Alexa, Roast Me Alive

As further evidence that our society’s growing fleet of souped-up “smart” appliances are fixing to mercifully exterminate the human race, multiple seven-in-one “smart” ovens have reportedly turned on in the middle of the night and preheated to four hundred degrees, perhaps in a sly attempt to incinerate the homes of their owners. The manufacturer of the oven—which debuted four years ago for the batshit price of $1,495 with the promise of performing the work of an air fryer, dehydrator, slow cooker, broiler, toaster, warming drawer, and convection countertop oven operated by a smartphone—assures users that the phantom preheating is a “user error” but that a “fix” is on the way. 

 

Kill Your Television

In the state of Virginia, the conquest of humanity by machine continued apace as residents of one sleepy town awoke last weekend to find televisions abandoned on their doorsteps, left by what one area man described as a “TV Santa Claus” but who “smart” doorbell surveillance revealed to be a bionic man of unknown origin wearing a television set on his head

 

They Are Always Listening

As it turns out and contrary to everything Mark Zuckerberg said to Congress, Facebook has been paying hundreds of contractors to transcribe audio clips of user’s conversations. (But, don’t worry, now that they’ve been found out, they promise they’ll stop of their own accord.)

 

The Tatted Sleeve of the Red Death 

In an attempt to shore up his rock and roll credentials, Ed Sheeran has partnered with eternal house of cool Heinz to release a limited edition bottle of ketchup wrapped in a sleeve of Sheeran’s shitty tattoos and ensconced in a deluxe box styled to look like an old amp. Most of these will be given away in a contest, but three very lucky bottles will be sold at Christie’s

 

Dr. Strangebrew 

A Dallas brewery has come under intense criticism for neglecting to consider the unresolved trauma, the wasted trillions, the immeasurable pain, the innumerable deaths, and the continued suffering brought about by the advent of nuclear weapons when they unveiled their line of nuke-themed beers, including: a sour beer dubbed “Bikini Atoll,” an American stout called “Nuclear Winter,” the pale ale “Little Boy,” named for the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and “Hoppenheimer,” an IPA named after the father of the atomic bomb. 

 

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love My Crushing Debt

Over in the sage pages of the Guardian, a living, breathing human of apparent mental stability was found to advance the argument that we really ought to envision our soul-stifling burden of student debt as “a chubby, spectral sidekick”—or, better yet, “as an amiable but hungry ghost, rooting around in your refrigerator at night, using up the milk and cereal, falling asleep on your couch with an empty pint of ice cream clutched in its incorporeal fingers.” Oh, gee golly, there goes Navient again! That lovable, rapacious beast rooting around in my empty refrigerator looking for a quick, painless bite! 

 

A Little Back to School Gun Shopping

Students in Arizona have already hit the books again, but not before many of their parents were inundated with email advertisements urging them to take advantage of a back-to-school gun sale at Tombstone Tactical as part of the gun store’s “Shoot now, pay later” “no interest for nine months” program. 

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