Jason Arias
The Baffler,  March 16

Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Jason Arias
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There will come doomsday food kits

For the forward-thinking patriarchs and matriarchs of this great nation scrambling to prepare for our foreordained collapse, Costco’s got you covered with a wide variety of emergency food kits to nourish you and yours as you hunker down to wait out the dissolution of liberal democracy. For a mere six grand, Nutristore’s top-of-the-line 1-YEAR Premium Food Kit—boasting thirty-six thousand servings!—will lavish upon your digestive tract two thousand calories a day of delights like “hard white meat,” “butter powder,” and “instant pinto bean flakes.” Of course, the family unit is free to cut back on their daily calorie intake if it turns out rehabilitating society takes longer than a mere calendar year. (Alternatively, we could prioritize feeding people in woefully neglected places like Africa, where the food apocalypse is already well under way.)

 

The fabulous lives of the tutoring elite

As it turns out, enforcing structural inequality pays pretty damn well. As the Guardian reports, the private tutors of the global aristocracy can earn anywhere from $70,000 up to $250,000 a year for filling up the gourds of spoiled scions with the trivial scrapings of literature and science they’ll never once be required to use in order to inherit gobs of money. Rest assured, it’s not all sunshine and Baudelaire in the makeshift classrooms of superyachts and private jets; the boundaries of the job description are porous. Tutors may benefit from experience in marine biology (for when yacht-residing clans request impromptu presentations on aquatic animalia), manor rehabilitation (for when you’re asked to oversee the rebuilding of summer homes), and weapons disarmament (for when your pupil brandishes an antique Colt six-shooter after a stressful day of SAT prep).

 

Damn fine bad coffee

Over at Serious Eats, Keith Pandolfi makes the long overdue argument that our micro-lot-unwashed-El-Salvador-beans-with-notes-of-blueberry-brewed-via-V60 obsession is all elitist bullshit. While he stops short of rhetorically firebombing  the filament-bulb-lit lifestyle revolution of the third wave coffee shop, we’ll take any defense of Chock Full O’ Nuts we can get. If we wanted to spend north of five bucks on a cup of liquid, we’d order a gin and soda, thank you very much.

 

One small step for fast fashion 

H&M took a great leap toward a more just future earlier this week when they filed a lawsuit in federal court against graffiti artist Jason Williams (REVOK), alleging that works of art produced illegally do not qualify for copyright protection. This came in retaliation against a cease and desist letter fired off from Williams back in January over H&M’s prominent use of his work from a Brooklyn handball court in a commercial sans permission. Such a move portends titillating possibilities for corporations to freely raid the rapidly privatizing public sphere for works of art to lend Authenticity and Edginess to their lifeless brands—all without having to deal with the laborious processes of securing permission or rendering payments to anyone! In a dismal turn of events, however, H&M quickly withdrew the lawsuit after artists the world over rallied to boycott the fast fashion powerhouse. In a statement on Twitter H&M notes, “We should have acted differently in our approach to this matter.”

 

Nothing comes between me and my Skiin

The tech revolution has come for your underwear drawer. For just north of three hundred bucks, you too can sport breathable undergarments that will alert you via text message when you’re dehydrated, anxious, or sleep deprived, and offer helpful hints like “exercise!” or “take some deep breaths!” For the looped-in but uncommunicative couple, your boyfriend’s Skiin underwear can even send alerts your way to the tune of:  “Your partner is feeling very stressed. Send him a message to help him calm down.” 

 

The moral hazards of life-saving drugs and other lies 

Seemingly bored by the cheap thrills of thoughtful analysis, the dolts of the Atlantic picked up for discussion this week an economics paper asking vital questions of Naloxone, a drug that helps reverse opioid overdose. Specifically, the paper ponders innocently, “does the prospect of not dying from opioids make people more likely to use opioids? And are they more likely to, ultimately, die as a result?” The Atlantic piece proceeds to soberly parse out the various perspectives on this daft line of inquirywhich is all to say, we clearly outlined the counterintuitive, bullshit thinking coded into The Atlantic’s DNA six years ago.

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