Michael Maiello's picture

    Amazon’s Big Swingin’ Di—

    Well, The National Enquirer seems to have stepped in it by trying to go toe-to-toe with Jeff Bezos and his unlimited wallet.  The lame supermarket tabloid published details of Bezos’ affair (which I do not know because I never got caught up in the story) which has led to an impending divorce and Bezos wanting to know how those losers got information about his private life and having the means to launch his own investigation.  The tabloid retaliated by threatening to publish a “below the belt” photo of Bezos unless he ended his investigation and declared no wrongdoing. Bezos took to Medium to expose their threat.

    The head of American Media Inc is David Pecker and the New York Post, write on cue, came up with “Bezos Exposes Pecker” as a headline.  I don’t usually root for Bezos.  People with his level of wealth are undeserved royalty, I think he and his ilk have too much say in how our society operates and that it’s antidemocratic.  I’m not excited about their HQ2 showing up in Queens given the subsidies we New Yorkers will be paying and the strain on infrastructure like the subways, but I’m all in for Bezos here and hope AMI goes down.

    Not going to look up the link but I saw a headline from a major outlet that said something like “why do smart people still send nudes?” I didn’t read the article because the answer seems obvious to me — because they feel like it.  This kind of thing shouldn’t have long term consequences.  For Bezos, it doesn’t and won’t.

    While it’s surely that AMI made a mistake in fighting Bezos because Bezos is bigger, richer and can quickly turn AMI into prey, I think there’s something else going on here, which is that after AMI exposed the Bezos affair, they left him with nothing left to lose.  He’s getting divorced.  The affair is out, he and his longtime wife are splitting. There’s nothing else AMI can credibly take from him, so he’s free to take them down.

    Well, they could publish the “below the belt” shot, I suppose.  But good for Bezos if his response is “so what?”  Maybe the lesson here is “let them.” Because it doesn’t really matter if people see you naked.  It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s really nothing to be especially guarded about.  Who cares?

    The whole notion of “revenge porn,” and I think this qualifies, is predicated on the embarrassment and shame of the victim. It can be overcome and neutralized by purposeful shamelessness. You don’t need billions of dollars to immunize yourself against this kind of thing.

    To the chagrin of conservatives, our culture has been etching away at shame for a long time.  We clearly have a long way to go, though. Maybe Amazon’s been a mixed bag for the culture, by expanding access to so many goods and services while killing local businesses, among other things, but Bezos might do some unambiguous good here just be publicly refusing to be ashamed of himself.

    Do what makes you happy.  Don’t let anyone with a website or supermarket rag make you feel sorry for it, no matter what.



    1. The Bezos - AMI/Pecker thing should be on page 18. The nation has more important issues the public needs to be well informed on. It's slightly more consequential than routine celebrity gossip.

    2. Using the richest man in the world as a behavioral role model is a risky proposition, for most people.

    3. "Doing what makes you happy" as an unqualified bit of advice brings to mind what's going on with Democratic leaders in Virginia, the GM workers hanging nooses in the Lordstown transmission plant, or, as an extreme case, and with the Netflix thing which I will not watch, Ted Bundy's lethal dating etiquette.

    4. "To the chagrin of conservatives, our culture has been etching away at shame for a long time." Any  "chagrin" that "conservatives" profess to experience is purely self righteous campaign posturing, almost always relates to blaming hippies or Democrats, and, as has been made blindingly obvious with their obsequious toadie worship of the fraud in the White House, is not at all sincere.

    1. Not sure about that. There could be a state sponsored spying element here.

    2. Sometimes the people who have the most freedom to act can be instructive.

    3. How about if I add, “so long as your behavior is victimless and consensual” to that? I’m talking about the right to swap dirty pics with consenting adults, not factory worker racism.

    Yeah. Clarifies the happy part.

    I would leave the Bezos thing on page 18, move it to the front page if the National Enquirer and AMI are sued into oblivion.

    National Enquirer breaking its plea agreement is Page 1 news. President using dirty tricks and power of office to attack personal enemy AND newspaper is Page 1 news. Bezos being billionaire is irrelevant except it allowed him to fight back. Ronan Farrow has star power. Other journalists no. Violation of the Constitution, a free press. More grounds for impeachment.

    It's all about money and sex in America. Bezos money counts, I certainly hope he can bankrupt AIM and ruin that scoundrel Pecker.

    We do know Trump bragged about obstructing justice on video with Russian ambassador etc etc .....with zilch consequences thus far. This won't move the needle on impeachment.

    I have a slight preference to think it may not be the case of another shiny thing story to distract from media covering what's important. Only because some of the journalists I respect as good judges of whether it's important seem to think there's some there there.  It's possible they could be wrong this time. We don't know yet.

    But this point espcially bothers my gut instinct too Using the richest man in the world as a behavioral role model is a risky proposition.

    On the other hand, it behooves to keep in mind: he bought WaPo. So: he's not just another garden variety richest man in the world, as it were! cheeky He bought a powerful entity which he knew is most definitely on a crusade to keep in check what might be wrong with the current government, as well as governments worldwide. Throw in:social media new world: people without power can get it, f they are smart, and manipulate others. Old tricks not as important as they used to be, including big media. Rich guys have to learn new tricks if they want to do that. Everybody can be their own National Enquirer now if they really want to, there is no need to be at the magazine rack in the grocery store line. So there's that.  Throw in: the current richest man in the world got that way because he knows exactly how to capture the current masses.

    I think from all of that: it still remains to be seen if this is a important story or not.

    Do you really equate these?

    3. "Doing what makes you happy" as an unqualified bit of advice brings to mind what's going on with Democratic leaders in Virginia, the GM workers hanging nooses in the Lordstown transmission plant, or, as an extreme case, and with the Netflix thing which I will not watch, Ted Bundy's lethal dating etiquette.

    Because they are all so different that it makes your conclusions bogus.

    FWIW, she got more like what John Schindler said, from Schindler-type contacts, that a government entity was involved, and it might not be the U.S.:

    Bill Kristol says in writing what all these people are hinting:

    “We warn against any attempt to link Khashoggi’s crime to our leadership.”
    Who’s attempted such a link? The Post. Who owns the Post? Bezos. Who had the ability to hack Bezos and a connection to AMI? The Saudis. Who’s conspired with both the Saudis and AMI and hates Bezos? Trump. https://t.co/t3hFujveZp

    — Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) February 9, 2019




    "... ... because it could implicate the sitting president directly."

     As if Reagan wasn't involved directly in Iran-Contra and as if Kristol didn't know it. That isn't a lie from yesteryear by the new MSNBC darling, that is an ongoing lie he still tells today. today. Fuck him.

    The NYPost being the NYPost with its headline yesterday:

    "Pecker gets bent out of shape over Amazonian" might have been better.

    Doh, I wasn't even thinking of your love for fun headline writing.

    Moi? How bout "David Pecker hacked a peck of piccadillos - a pecker with those picadillos David Pecker hacked..."

    You need to do this for a living.  Seriously. 

    Except my headlines are a bit too verbose/too many notes.

    Reminded of a sailor who had "Wendy" tatooed on his joint, which caused quite some jealousy with a new encounter until he explained/showed that with a bit of persuasion it expanded to "Welcome to Coney Island, home of the world's best cotton candy".

    Maybe I can write ledes that when stroked expand to full stories, tho arguably that's just a URL, boring.

    You’d be doing the world a favor.  We could all just read the headlines and ignore the rest!

    Just don't call me "peckerhead" - I think that name's taken. Of course we all know the adage, "You can lede a horticulture..."

    I''m liking "Heedless Pecker in plea deal bar" only for the historicity...

    Image result for headless torso in topless bar

    Or perhaps (ouch) Headless Pecker...?  nah, we have no data to that effect, and it is unlikely.

    Looking more like "Pecker used as proxy for short-fingered man, fails to rise to the occasion".

    Listening to the lawyers for now. I wonder if this will include dropping links with the Saudi p.r. machine like a hot potato:

    Re: Do what makes you happy.

    looks like he took your advice on that here, too:

    This is key to Amazon's decision as we understand it:

    Executives were confident the deal would one day be approved.

    But they were looking at decades in a political climate in which everything they did would be scrutinized.

    So they said no thanks.https://t.co/UtvdOkZFUC

    — J. David Goodman (@jdavidgoodman) February 15, 2019

    I also think of it as just say no to bureaucracy and political machines and perhaps also just say no to NYC kvetching and whining and arguing and negativity culcha

    Just describing, not opining yet...

    Edit to add: except for adding the thought that I think this is getting at some crucial contradictory flaws in libertarian mindsight.

    And that him buying WaPo in order to support an alternative to Sulzberger's New York Times, to keep it from fading away, was putting his money behind the basic beliefs.

    P.S. On the leaving NYC story, this quote from the New York Times report yesterday struck me for some reason I can't yet verbalize. On first glance, yes of course it's just yuppie anger about her candy being taken away. But there seems to be an anger below that which might be more lasting: the danger of do-gooder socialists evolving to egostisical nanny staters, vs.libertarian mindset (basically, the whole Venezuela thing allover again). My underlining

    Gianna Cerbone, who owns a restaurant several blocks from what would have been the main Amazon campus, said the demise of the deal was a major blow to people who need jobs and local businesses that would have benefited.

    “I’m really upset because I don’t think they realized what they did,” she said of the elected officials who had opposed the plan. “And they’re proud of it? They think they did something lovely? They wanted the political gain, they should have done it in a different way. They get put into office for us, not to work for themselves.”

     She's talking about the danger of charismatic Ocasio-Cortez types there. I.E. first comes Chavez, then comes Maduro....

    Except it's not socialism at all. It's tough to talk about it because the definitions are slippery and there's too much conflation of political systems and economic systems. Also there's a matter of degree. Extreme socialism would have nationalized Amazon. Pure capitalism would have gotten out of the way, no tax breaks to help, no regulations to hinder. I've seen the economic system of fascism defined as public private partnerships. That's what happened here and what happens far too often. Local governments give massive tax breaks and other help to bribe corporations to build in their area. I've seen numerous articles that make the case that the economic benefits after the tax breaks etc. don't equal the costs. 

    There's a growing pushback against this. It started with pushback against major league sports teams demanding new stadiums to stay or move their teams. Amazon was so outspoken and blatant in it's demand for bribes as it  pitted cities against each other to offer the biggest bribes that it looked unseemly and generated more pushback. In the end it was the public anger over the size of the bribes the government offered that caused Amazon to withdraw. Not socialism.

    Here's what I think is a healthy attitude towards all that, ocean-kat. And I should mention that I saw the Tweet because urban planning guy Richard Florida "liked" it:

    p.s. good nuanced Twitter thread here by Barry Ritholtz on what actually happened with the HQ2 deal for those into this stuff, takes the Goodman article further

    Latest Comments