“Pity the Elf Slaves of Online Shipping | Mother Jones
“So while I don’t want to have to change out of my pajamas to go shopping, either, and I fully expect the goods I order off the internet to materialize at my front door in about the amount of time it would take them to be transported from the Starship Enterprise, I’m just sayin’. Like I tell people who are unfortunate enough to be friends with me: It’s worth considering how the hell those goods get to you, so fast, and for free, when the company you bought them from is posting profits in the millions, or even, in the case of Amazon, billions. Chances are, it’s via the people who worked for the small businesses we ruined when we were saving $4 by buying stuff off the internet, people performing dangerously repetitive or otherwise ergonomically unsound jobs in a cold, shitty, emotionally abusive warehouse for very little money and very few benefits, the kind of conditions people endure only because it’s their last resort. It’s worth considering, because one of the reasons those conditions can so widely prevail is that no one ever does.”—
I have caught much of it on paper. But infinitely the greater part is in the wash of my brain and blood.
For my friends who write:
"There is always a moment when we must begin to write. There are always the hundreds, the thousands, of struggle, of getting up, of pacing about, of sitting down, of laborious uneven accomplishment. During the time of actual work, what else besides ourselves, can help us? Can we call to mind then the contents of 20,000 books? Can we depend on anything other than ourselves for help?
But deeper study always, sharper senses, profounder living; never an end to curiosity!
The fruit of all this comes later. I must think. I must mix it all with myself and with America. I have caught much of it on paper. But infinitely the greater part is in the wash of my brain and blood.”
A gentleman named Farhad Manjoo just posted a proudly contrarian article on Slate explaining why independent bookstores are not only irrelevent but maybe even harmful. I work at an independent bookstore, so that’s an argument I’d be very very curious to see made well. Honestly, I know the failings of small booksellers as well as anyone, and it’d be good to see them articulated. But that’s not what this essay was. Let’s look at it. All of it. In detail.
I’ll be interjecting my thoughts into the text of the essay itself. I know that’s a pretty ungenerous way to go about it, but as you’ll see, Mr. Manjoo is kind of an asshat, so I’m not feeling generous.
The more I think about the latest Amazon outrage, and filter through my lack of shock, then my sadness at my lack of shock, then my sadness at my sadness of my lack of shock, the thing that really bothers me is that Amazon seem to be obsessed with making decisions that make people angry at them….
“… body-time sang its song in slow dissolves. Gradual transformations, slow washes, a slowmoving music of colors, of thick chords. The shape of these modulations was all curves, parabolas, the organic transformations of nature, the majesty of that tempo, the utter indifference of the sunset, of cloud formations, of an increase in humidity: the pace of the needle measuring barometric pressure.”—from [sic] by Joshua Cody