Saturday, June 14, 2014

Attack of the Amazon Bully

Bullies often become crybabies. Such is the case with the traditional publishing syndicates now bawling about being pushed around by an Amazon that has taken up residence on their former turf. Bullies are not accustomed to picking on someone their own size. So when confronted by a full-grown formidable opponent, they often run to their mommies or their sympathetic friends in antique media like David Streitfeld and Melissa Eddy at the New York Times.

Thus, we have recent front page articles hysterically wailing that this savage Amazon forces traditional publishers into a dark basement to burn their feet with cigars and shock their genitals with electrodes. Yet, when asked to document scars from the abuse, the bullies-turned-victims reply, "Well I don't have any actual physical wounds, but they seem to have manipulated their pricing structures in ways that are confusing, emotionally stressful, and maybe even economically disadvantageous to us." (Meanwhile Shiites and Christians are slaughtered by the new Sunni jihadist religious monopoly sweeping across Syria and Iraq.)

Bullies who just yesterday were refusing to let red-haired girls into the bathroom or politically incorrect writers into the literary club are now sobbing about the unspeakable indignities and violations they've suffered at the hands of the new Amazon on the block. Of course, when the Amazon was just a skinny little kid pumping iron in the gym or selling books at insane prices to get attention and curry favor with as many classmates as possible, the former bullies were snoozing and eating donuts to celebrate their position as king of the hill, established during a recess so long ago that noone can remember how they acheived their coveted monopoly.

I must admit that this Amazon hasn't always been my best bud or chosen me first on their team. By eliminating the gatekeeper function of publishers, Amazon has flooded the online market with gazillions of books offering an inconsistent level of writing and editing. My critically-acclaimed meticulously-produced works must compete with the bodice-ripping covers of Horny Aztec Vampire trilogies for the attentions of an ADD horde swarming the virtual library and scanning for books with boobie pictures or fart jokes. Oh, the memories of junior high.

Still, in the interest of liberty and fairness, we authors shouldn't jump to take sides with a notorious and unrepentant bully who now claims the new kid gave him a wedgie when noone was watching. While the old ruler of the schoolyard looks (and whines) like Woody Allen and the new guy runs a slick tech shell game that few other kids can match, jealousy makes people small. Even if this turns out to be merely a fight between two bullies, why side with a loser who wasn't paying attention when he got sucker punched and now wants a do-over or an intervention from the sandbox patrol? West Coast Godzilla and East Coast King Kong must slug it out. Let's hope the result is good for literature, whatever happens to former and alleged bullies.

1 comment:

  1. I've been hearing quite a bit about that in the last few days.

    It doesn't surprise me that there would beHorny Aztek Vampire tales out there...