Amazon: Good or EVIL?

Some collected reading for you:

John August turned my attention to this article at HITFIX. I have some reactions that I will deal with in more length after the weekend, but for the moment I was interested in this note that “the media is just swallowing it without digesting it or analyzing it.” It is early days of course, but I do feel like I’ve seen a lot of rephrased press releases, and very little commentary from media sources so far. If anyone has seen an analytic article, I would love the link!

I’m not sure what the relationship is, but I think it’s worth noting that there has also been some recent Amazon action on the literary side of the fence. This blog post at BOOKFOX, suspicious of Amazon’s intentions in beginning to fund some independent lit journals, inspired me to do a quick search where I found this LA Times article that discusses whether the company’s philanthropy to the literary arts is altruistic or otherwise.

This is no deep analysis–but the main sense that I get from all this, is that Amazon is really BIG. It has lots of MONEY and lots of LAWYERS. We all saw The Corporation and we know that (and I understand this is a stereotype) big, powerful companies tend to be self-serving, sociopathic, and EVIL. Artists–be they filmmakers or small literary presses– are SMALL, they tend to have comparatively LITTLE MONEY, and NOT SO MANY LAWYERS. And to stereotype even more, some artists (I’m not trying to speak for you, just for me) tend to have low self-esteem, be addicted to doing their art, and be VICTIMS. So, it’s scary…If a big giant takes you to dinner, he might end up eating you. Your ingestion might just be carelessness on the part of the giant, or it might be because he’s bored, or possibly, in some way you don’t yet understand, it might be profitable for him, in the long run, to eat you.

Giving money to literary journals and organizations…there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that, under certain circumstances, I don’t find the terms at Amazon Studios entirely bad, which is something I’m going to talk about in an upcoming “very special, controversial episode” post. But before I do that–I want to say, I get it. I share the feeling, share the fear, that even though the giant seems to be offering us some food off his plate–we might just end up on it.

EDIT: Just to collect relevant links in on place, let me add this from THE ARTFUL WRITER.

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