Art for Fresh Hell.
Jason Arias
The Baffler,  July 30

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias
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Fuck the Vessel

The copper-clad stairway to nowhere at the bankrupt heart of Hudson Yards in Manhattan—known to the Instagramming public as The Vessel—has been closed once again after another person jumped to their death from the structure on Thursday afternoon, proving, perhaps definitively, that the $200 million “attraction” serves no other purpose than as a machine for selfies and suicide. The soulless contraption had only been open for a few weeks, having been closed for much of the year after a twenty-four-year-old leapt to their death in January. Following that suicide, the real estate developer behind the $25 billion phalanx of tasteless glass shards and empty storefronts comprising Hudson Yards assured everyone that they would institute changes to make it harder, if not impossible, to kill yourself at The Vessel, but they balked at impinging on the sanctity of Thomas Heatherwick’s “design” and decided to, instead of raising protective barriers, simply hire more security and put up some signs informing people that suicide is bad. Those measures failed this week as a fourth person, this time a fourteen-year-old, has taken their own life surrounded by unconscionable luxury on an island hostile to human life. For his part, the starchitect of the suicide machine is now in talks with the UK government to design a memorial to commemorate the lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic

 

Upping the Vigilante 

For New Yorkers looking for work, the paranoia-fomenting surveillance app Citizen is now, in what we’re sure will not go badly at all, hiring individuals to livestream crimes and emergencies. This tracks with Citizen’s mission to dissolve the final, tenuous pylons of civil society in a broth of mob justice: in May, as the company piloted a private security force, its CEO dangled $300,000 before anyone who could “hunt” down a man falsely accused of starting a wildfire.

 

Goodbye, Mayor

Some four hundred miles northwest of New York City, in Buffalo, the city council, faced with the increasingly likely prospect of its constituents electing the unabashed socialist India Walton as mayor, is now exploring the option of eliminating the office of mayor altogether—and replacing it with a “city manager” selected by the council “to carry out the will of the council members.” Certainly this casual exploration is entirely unrelated to Walton’s trouncing of the four-term incumbent, Byron Brown, in the primary, and it’s certainly unrelated to Walton’s aforementioned socialism, her desire to put a moratorium on charter schools, make Buffalo a sanctuary city, cut the Buffalo police budget by $7.5 million, etc., etc. 

 

One-Way Ticket to Thirst Town

Continuing our breakneck tour of the eastern United States, we arrive now in Thirst Town, which is, according to PinkNews, where every single living homosexual man will be instantly transported after viewing a photograph of secretary of transportation and total “daddy” Pete Buttigieg shirtless and sweaty during a run over the weekend. Even after ample consideration, it’s unclear what led PinkNews to come to the conclusion that any photograph of Buttigieg, a sentient, amoral chipmunk, qualifies not only as a “thirst trap” but one universally treacherous to all living gay men, many of whom have taste. Let us recall that Buttigieg, when not jogging, enjoys declaring himself the winner prematurely, fancies a good bread-price-fixing scheme, hates Medicare for all, and loves complaining about how his $221,400 government salary apparently isn’t enough to rent an apartment with a bedroom and a den—and without a den, where will his husband Chasten pen the follow-up to his “refreshingly candid” memoir I Have Something to Tell You?

 

Reading it for the Articles

Speaking of the NSFW, visitors to the Washington Post, the New York Times, New York magazine, and other publications, may, in reading a droll dispatch on the continued immiseration of our sorry species, happen upon some hardcore, high-definition porn. That’s because the domain for the defunct video hosting website vid.me is now owned by 5 Star Porn HD—and all videos vid.me once hosted are redirecting to 5 Star Porn’s homepage, where the adventurous clicker can, instead of reading tiresome Times man David Brooks’s thoughts on What’s Ripping America’s Families Apart (spoiler: it’s not leaving your wife for your much younger research assistant), viddy Naughty Spy Girls 2

 

Surviving Parkland

Here is the story of a young man who survived the Parkland school shooting in 2018, and his father—who believes the Parkland school shooting was a hoax. Indeed, every student at the school, including the seventeen teenagers killed, nine of whom were this young man’s classmates, were paid pawns in a vast conspiracy orchestrated by some shadowy force, possibly Nancy Pelosi. 

 

Plan of Attack

For those on the fence, Nancy Pelosi did not hire hundreds of child actors to flash mob a mass shooting in Florida—but the septuagenarian Speaker of the House has been up to plenty of entirely verifiable bumfuckery. Case in point: her ingenious plan to win the midterm elections in a landslide, thereby allowing the Democrats  to squander several more years negotiating against themselves, by . . . blaming Republicans for voting to defund the police since they voted against the American Rescue Plan? “Members are excited to punch back,” one anonymous aide said. “The fact that Democrats have really settled on a line here to push back on it, and to really go on offense, excites Democrats.” Indeed, the Democrats have drawn a line in the sand: to hell with minimum wage increases, guaranteed health care, infrastructure, action on climate change—we’re funding those police, god damn it!

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