August 1, 2013

Amazon adds insult to injury to somehow even more insult


Just lemon after lemon…

As you may have heard from us and many many others, President Obama gave a speech at an Amazon fulfillment warehouse on Tuesday, a speech in which the president, a man of no mean intellect and with literally an entire nation of analysts and advisors at his call, made the puzzling choice to praise Amazon for their role as a creator of quality jobs. It was, as our Dennis Johnson writes, insult added to injury. (Often literal injury—Amazon has grown famous for firing employees who strain themselves by walking miles each day in their warehouses, and then sending a team of lawyers to court to deny them unemployment benefits.)

As Laura Hazard Owen reports, while the President was on site at Amazon, Kindle Singles editor Daid Blum took the opportunity to interview him. The text of that interview has now been released as a free kindle single, about 15 pages long.

Owen quotes what must surely be the best part:

“At the end of our interview, [Obama] read aloud an Amazon leadership principle painted on the wall behind him — ‘Vocally Self-Critical’ — and muttered: ‘Huh…I guess.”

Even if Bezos and his sycophants don’t recognize that as a central practice of the Cultural Revolution, I imagine the president did.

If President Obama speaking about good jobs at a company that provides none while actively working to undermine funding for public infrastructure is a kind of insult upon injury, releasing an interview with him for the Kindle goes even beyond that. It’s more subtle, more cruel; it’s like, well, here are my efforts to describe it. I hope you’ll let us know which you think is most accurate.

Releasing this interview as a kindle single is like:

A: Thrashing booksellers with thistles, then taking those thistles, blending them with plenty of peppers and salt and lemon, and applying that delicious tapenade to the torn skin of those same booksellers.

B: Kidnapping a bookseller, performing bizarre experiments with yeasts on them such that a delicious-smelling loaf of crusty bread grows on their upper lip just beneath their nose, mocking them for being monsters beyond the possibility of love, and then, of course, stealing that bread.

C: Tying a bookseller to a post, their feet in a wading pool. Hurling lemons at their face, just lemon after lemon, all day, laughing breathlessly the entire time, until a good bit of lemon juice collects in the pool around their feet. Pausing, the next morning, to pin on your newly-earned first place medal for Best Lemonade before hefting another lemon and beginning again.

D: Knocking a bookseller down. Kicking them. Kicking them again. Couple more kicks. Wait … are they still down? Good. Keep kicking.



Dustin Kurtz is the marketing manager of Melville House, and a former bookseller.