Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's Wingnut Boilover Day

How do we stop the extremists in this country from thinking their opinion is the only one that matters?

Can we prevent the Eric Rudolphs and Timothy McVeighs of this country from bringing back the bad old days of lynchings and Red Scares?

When will the wingnuts stop shitting all over our shared national symbols? First the Minutemen and Michael Savage's laughable Paul Revere Society, now the reduction of one of the great symbols of humanity's right to consent to its government to a juvenile sex joke supporting greedy, ignorant cheapskates' right to be greedy, ignorant cheapskates.

I wore a flag sticker on my backpack for about a year after 9/11. When it became clear that things were returning to business as usual and that the right-wing hawks and lunatics had every intention of appropriating the flag and the symbols of our history for their own purposes, the sticker came off. We of the American Left need to take our symbols back and remind the people who are abusing them that back in the day, they'd probably have been Crown loyalists. Update: Teabaggers at the Hyannis Airport Rotary. I drove by screaming they were a disgrace to the flag and flipping them all the bird. They booed me. Heh. Not concerned. (Well, except for the part where they were causing a traffic jam worthy of August.)

AmazonFail update: I would categorize their response as barely adequate -- they have more or less admitted fault and mostly repaired the problem, but haven't explicitly apologized, nor have they been really clear about what happened. They will be watched, and have already lost a lot of customers to places like Powell's or AbeBooks. At this point, I think it's a judgement call as to whether to boycott or not. I have already made one of the purchases I was planning on making at Amazon at another location and though I will resume doing Vine reviews soon, there's a very good possibility I may do my self-bought reviews here or at Off Season for a while. Which is just as well, as many of my upcoming review choices probably should be at Off Season anyway, if only to get more traffic. Update: see Clay Shirky's analysis of the response to AmazonFail, which I thought was somewhat justified myself but bordered on a witch hunt.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Amazon, WTF?

Well, if it hasn't reached you yet, it will soon -- hundreds of books on GLBT, teen sexuality, and women's issues vanished from's sales ranking lists over the course of Easter Sunday. The blogosphere has, quite predictably and understandably, shit a brick over this, especially as the problem seems to have been outstanding since February.

Now I do not personally think this was a corporate decision, but Amazon customer reps have been sending out form letters calling it a "glitch" (after an initial round of form letters that would seem to indicate that they had no idea what was going on). They have yet to post anything on the front page, though at least a few people (including me) believe that the system was intentionally trolled during a time when most of Amazon's US staff was probably home for the Easter weekend, and at least one person is claiming responsibility (though his credibility is in grave doubt, based largely on his lack of programming mojo). (There is an ongoing Twitter discussion at #amazonfail.)

Amazon knows this has been a disaster for them; many people have canceled orders, and I myself sent a note saying that I would not only postpone any purchases I'm considering (I had a couple in mind, including the new Michael Ruhlman book and a deck of Spanish playing cards) but that as a Vine reviewer, I won't be submitting any content until it's resolved. I'm willing to grant them a presumption of innocence, but even if they are innocent, they're handling it poorly and deserve to lose massive amounts of money over it.