Jeff Bezos Grabbed Me By The Dick
I like my dick. I don’t love it, it’s not the greatest dick in the world, but it is a part of my body, and I have become dependent on it for multiple things in life. Throughout my life I have been more or less fond of it, feeling sometimes something of an ambivalence toward the organ and at others being properly infatuated with the thing. At this point in my life I’d say I’m content with it, I use it daily and I’m pleased with its functions, but I wouldn’t pass up an opportunity for something better. Why are you reading about my dick, you may ask? Well, I think it’s a funny and somewhat topical metaphor, and it makes me giggle inside to think about Jeff Beezlebub pulling an OrangeMan-Access Hollywood on me. I know it’s not that clever, but I’m the one writing this, so you just have to bear with me. Or, you could just stop here, go no further oh ye of little inclination to read about my squishy bits, but then you’ll never get to the juicy Joffrey Billabong dick-grabbing bits.
Jim Beam really did aim for world domination* with his company, but I remember when it was just an online bookstore. I don’t remember my first Amazon purchase, but I do remember when it ceased being a novelty and became something the world would one day be forced to reckon with. That’s not true, I am not a trained historian or economist or sociologist or cliometrician; I’m just a cynical anarchist living the American nightmare and trying to find something that feels like success, but I do remember when I personally realized that we, being the American working class, are in fact fucked and that Jake Blair intends to grab the whole world by the genitals. It was early Twenty-Fourteen, I was reeling from the sudden death of my wife, I was rediscovering my disillusionment and disgust with the world and what we’ve done to it, and falling into extreme alcoholism; I was in a general fugue, and Jong Bozo rode in on a golden chariot, or at least gold-plated, of preposterous proportions, made of random trinkets and trifles produced by severely underpaid sweat-shop workers and sold at insane markups — often these trinkets themselves are infringements on someone else’s intellectual property, but who cares about intellectual property protections? Oh, yeah, JB and the Grabby Bunch do.
One of the things I did to cope, or to avoid coping actually, in my darkest hours was get shitfaced and buy shit on Amazon. I would come home from work, or wake up on a weekend, to find unexpected packages on my doorstep. It was like getting a surprise birthday gift, or like having someone in my life who cared enough to buy random things for me for no particular reason. I’m not proud of this stage of my life, but in retrospect I do think it’s funny, and I do think it’s something society fails to effectively address; commodity fetishism is a thing that we are aware and critical of, but we all seem to forgive ourselves and excuse each other for our problematic habits of self medication through frivolous purchases. And, once again, Jango Oingo Boingo is there to dull our self awareness by assuaging our self loathing with empty consumerism. The things I woke up to or came home to included bright green socks with shamrocks on them, silly video game character keychains, a blue and yellow Sweden track jacket that I still wear when it’s brisk out, random wall art and decorations that never saw the light of day, the world’s dumbest blue mono-lens sunglasses, blankets, toys for my kids, even a towel embroidered with the words Don’t Panic that I seem to have misplaced years ago; none of these things were of any value at all outside of the initial dopamine spike I got when purchasing them. The important part of all of this is that certain corporations have adapted to these behaviors extremely well, some of them have become possible only because of them, and some of them have made trillions of dollars by exploiting them.
I write this from my home. It’s not a big home, it’s not an especially nice home, but it is mine (there are many like it, blah blah blah…). In this home I am reasonably comfortable, I can sit here in my reasonably comfortable chair, feeling secure and morally superior with my anarchist beliefs and humanist values. I can write things and put them on the internet and dunk on strangers and boost my ego. I can distract myself from my own problems and pressing issues and I can delude myself into thinking that I matter in the grand scheme of things. I can do all of these things, and many more, and it is largely thanks to Jocko Buckbeak that I can.
Last night I fell asleep watching The Expanse. I love The Expanse, it’s one of my favorite book series and TV shows of all time, and I was bummed out when it got dropped by SyFy. Then, once more, Jigglypuff Bomber Jacket rode in on his chariot of human rights violations and saved the show, placating us with a few more seasons of exciting distraction. I don’t like Justin Bills-are-overdue. I don’t like him one bit. I don’t know an awful lot about the man, aside from his reported net worth, currently a hundred and eighty-eight billion dollars, and the fact that he was a senior vice president at a Wall Street hedge fund before starting his world-domination enterprise with other people’s money, and then there’s the fact that many people look at him as some new type of American Free Market Blood God. Those few facts, coupled with my anarchist worldview, are enough for me to make up my mind. Jeff Bezos is not a good person. He may think he’s a good person, in the same way Bill Gates and Pichai Sundararajan probably think they’re good people, but none of them are good people. I would even go so far as to say that all of them, and all the people like them, are in fact bad people. The problem with that is the fact that I know these people are bad people, but I willingly support them and and the system they represent, enable, and support every time I choose to stream my favorite shows, or visit my favorite website (over sixty percent of the internet runs on either Amazon or Microsoft or Google platforms), or buy some shit I don’t need or even want all that bad but use as a way to try and fill the void deep inside.
Being a contemporary anarchist is fun because I don’t have to actually do anything, and I get to justify it all by claiming that I’m just above it. It seems like I don’t really give a shit about anything; I’m just lazy and selfish and I hate everyone else almost as much as I hate myself, so I spend all day criticizing the status quo and talking shots at low hanging fruit, and I spend my nights indulging in the very things that support and maintain the problems I claim to want to solve. Fuck, what a way to live. I don’t really feel that way though, there are things I actually believe in, there are things I truly care about, there are even things I’ve done and am doing and plan to do more of in the future that I think are my best shot at having an impact on the world; but sometimes it all really feels meaningless when at the end of the day I fall into the same traps that have ensnared society at large. I can go out and support efforts to organize in workplaces and communities, I can spend all day seeking out and engaging in robust conversations about systemic oppression and exploitation, I can join up with deradicalizing efforts in which people who look like me and have similar backgrounds try to use these as tools to reach people in far-right groups that use identitarian tactics to bring people further right, I can even go out and stand in a public space with a sign and a bullhorn and demonstrate my disillusionment and anger with the system, but it all seems worthless when I come back home and plug right back in to the Matrix Of Not Giving A Fuck. I hate to sound so defeated, I hate to feel so doomed, I hate to be so ultimately ineffective, but these are feelings that I wrestle with and that I think most of us must contend with if we have any hope of living a meaningful life.
This morning I started writing about Adam Savage and how I think he actually offers a lot of hope. I don’t know if any of you watch his YouTube show, I don’t even know if anybody is still here reading this, but if you are, I recommend it. I started watching it years ago, but I recently noticed something that previously slipped me by. Adam Savage builds things on his show, he takes us through the process and provides entertaining commentary along the way, and in one of his recent episodes he dropped some straight up Marxist theory while randomly going off on a tangent, and it took me by surprise. I don’t want to ruin that, I intend to finish that up and share it with you all soon, but it is pertinent to this post. I started thinking about Adam Savage and all that he has done in the public eye. That’s a long list, but one thing that has stuck out since it happened was his cameo in The Expanse. That got me thinking about The Expanse, which got me thinking about Amazon and streaming in general, and that got me thinking about not just the amount of time I waste indulging in distractions and ignoring the real world problems that are only getting worse, but also the amount of money these behemoth corporations extract from people like me; people who understand the nature of the system and that fact that we need radical change if we want things to improve but who live within and rely on the very same systems that oppress us and represent our adversaries, all for something that we have decided is a comfortable life. That’s an awful lot of money, a depressing amount of money, and there is depressingly little we can do in the face of such bleak odds. There is, however, hope, and not just in pirating the media you consume and shopping with an eye to where your products come from and who made them and how they are getting to you, though I believe those things are extremely worthwhile endeavors, but by continuing to pursue the internal revolution by working to educate oneself and others and working to build dual power structures in our communities and workplaces and even online spaces.
At this point I don’t even know what I’m writing anymore, I started out gleefully slandering Jangles the Butt Monkey and lamenting my own inefficacy and reliance on consumerism, then I seem to have taken a strange turn and now I almost feel like I’m writing a pep talk. I guess I kinda am trying to give myself, and everyone else who needs it, a pep talk. I get depressed, easily and often, and I am prone to periods of inactivity brought on by feelings of hopelessness and despair. I don’t know how much of this is due to specific brain chemistry and how much of it is circumstantial, but I am pretty sure that spending all my time thinking about how fucked up things are and how little I can do about it doesn’t help one bit. Along with all the problems we talk about, all the shots we take at the status quo, all the systems and structures we set out to dismantle, all the victims of the status quo that we try to carry with us, there has to be a message of hope. Who’s to say what that hope looks like? Not me, I guess it can be whatever you need it to be, from something small and silly like making fun of billionaires to something direct and impactful like supporting a local organization, or even creating content that brings something like hope to other people. Jeremy Beef Jerky indeed has grabbed us all by the genitals, and there is little we can do about it; even if we free ourselves of his cold, hard grasp there are millions more who aren’t free, and we would be more effective using our time doing something worth doing.
Again, I’m not even sure what I set out to say, but I am okay finishing this as is and leaving you all with a simple Fuck Jeff Bezos.
*This piece in The Atlantic is very long, overlong in my opinion, and quite a bit too nice to Bezos. It does, however, provide some useful perspective on the man himself — a man who thinks of himself as simply better than the average bear, a man hyper focused on certain details and willfully ignorant of the necessary context. Bezos thinks that he is doing the world a favor by exploiting both his workers and all of his consumers, and he does it all with a smile on his face because he legitimately thinks he is going to be our new Space Messiah. I really fucking hate Bezos, probably for some of the wrong reasons and probably more than I could justify without appealing to some fallacies and irrelevant shit, but I hate him nonetheless and I see him as holding a significant portion of responsibility for the state of the world right now.