Let me just say that the "This Is The Worst" project has improved my life immesurably. Every morning a fresh bouquet of horrors arrives in my mailbox. At least one per day slays me. I have a book coming out in less than two weeks, which I can barely contemplate without suffering a sort of petit mal seizure of anxiety and dread. Meanwhile the projet I am most excited about in life is "This Is The Worst."
Submitted by Paul Osimo
Possibly "This Is the Worst" serves as some sort of projection test. Paul's versions of The Worst all seem to involve mass institutionalized suffering, dehumanization through sheer numbers or repetition--everyone forced to conform through baldness and the standard-issue smocks of Dystopia, the little Lego men being bleached/stripped of their souls, Breughel's vast mob of lamenting/jeering/indifferent humanity on the road to Golgotha.
Notes: Ira Levin is probably best known for his twice-filmed novel The Stepford Wives; thie first image is the cover of a French translation of his novel This Perfect Day, rendered here as "Unbearable Happiness." The "Cool Machine" was constructed by one Shannon Ocean. The painting "Golgotha" is by Jan Breughel the Younger.
Submitted by Julia Miller
Julia writes: " I assume they dislike each other for many reasons, not the least of which is the other's hair. The Donald is insanely jealous of the Mitt's perfect coif, and no one can stand Trump's hair." The real "This is the worst" caption here is supplied by the viewer's own thought balloon. It is some consolation to reflect that fifty years from now nobody looking at this picture will have any idea who either of these people was.
Submitted by Matek Lewczuk
Matek received this poster from a friend in China; it's a re-issue of some vintage Mao-era propaganda. He writes: "I think the guy having a bad time may be Nixon." It usually is, but in this case a Chinese-speaking friend informs me the figure being smushed on the left is an "American Imperialist" and the one on the right is "Soviet Revisionism" (a pretty lame national arch-nemesis, if you ask me). At first I'd thought it might be Gerald Ford, but I'm relieved it's not. Ford deserved better.
WARNING: REALLY UNPLEASANT IMAGERY BELOW
Submitted by John D. Martin III
This, apparently, is the aftermath of what is now known as the Miami bath-salts zombie attack. This submission exemplifies the cultivated and discerning connoisseurship we have come to except from anyone with a III after his name.
Submitted by Bonner Doemling
Bonner, a longtime reader, takes unfair advantage of my well-known loathing for William Wegman, world's most risk-averse living artist. Although among all my reasons for despising Wegman, I've never considered the daily humiliations to which he subjects his dogs. Now that I think about it, they must sometimes wonder dimly what it all means. There is something basically wrong about dressing animals up in little costumes; to do it as a career is truly low.
Submitted by J. Domino
I have nothing to say about this submission. It may be the single best thing in the world. A 21st-century response to the the Breughel: mankind poised in the barest flailing instant between launching himself into the abyss and the great gaping maw of annihilation. That penguin is like: Fuuuck me.
Moments ago I was walking on West 42nd Street when I passed a woman who was saying to her friend: "This is the worst." The sky was bright; a light rain was falling, so light you didn't need an umbrells. Unless she was referring to some not-immediately-apparent situation, it was not the worst. But it cheered me up nonetheless.