Category Archives: Troy’s Rants

Amazon‘s Echo Look: Exploiting Our Inner Narcissist

The depth to which a corporation will sink to exploit our insecurities and separate us from our money knows no bounds.

Amazon now wants to tell us how to dress.  I can hear is now,

“Alexa, do these jeans make me look fat?”
“No, but these jeans, for $79.99 (free shipping), will improve your look. Make sure you share this with your friends.”

Do we really want an organization, motivated solely by money, to become such an integral part of our lives? Is it in our best interest to give Amazon so much of our personal information, not just want we are wearing, but also what insecurities are?

By giving Amazon so much of our personal information we help them, and anyone else they sell our information to, exploit us for profit.  We are being manipulated without our knowledge and in ways we can‘t fully appreciate or comprehend.

Protect yourselves by protecting your privacy.  

The government is not going to help protect you.  Journalists will let you know what is happening and help you understand why it matters, but their platforms and reach are being weakened every day, and are no match for the slick presentations of Amazon.

All of this while Amazon eliminates jobs across the country.

Back in September of last year (2016), the American Booksellers Association and Civic Economics released a full update of their “Amazon and Empty Storefronts” study.

“The updated study again shows that — whether it’s in dollars lost in sales and property tax revenue, far fewer retail storefronts serving local communities, or significant job losses — Amazon has a massive, overall negative impact on the American economy,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “We need to come to grips with the fact that every American consumer is paying a high price for Amazon’s growth.”
—“Updated Study Drives Home Amazon’s Negative Impact on Economy” By David Grogan, Sep 28, 2016

ESSENTIAL NATIONAL FINDINGS 2015 (read the full report)

  • In 2015, Amazon sold $55.6 billion worth of retail goods nationwide, all while avoiding $704 million in sales taxes.  The cost of lost sales taxes falls equally on state and local governments.
  • These sales are the equivalent of 39,000 retail storefronts or 133 million square feet of commercial space, which might have paid $528 million in property taxes.
  • A total of more than $1.2 billion in revenue is lost to state and local governments.
  • Amazon also operated 75 million square feet of distribution space, employing roughly 111,000 workers.
  • Even counting all the jobs in Amazon distribution centers, Amazon sales produced a net loss of 222,000 retail jobs nationwide.

How Amazon Impact Job Growth and why it matters

Simon & Schuster Gives Racist Troll $250K Book Deal, But Boycotting Them Makes No Sense

Editor’s Note: Subsequent to the publication of the article, a video of Milo making comments condoning sex between children and adults was widely circulated.  As a result, his book deal with Simon & Schuster was pulled.  He also stepped down from his role as an editor with Breitbart News.


dangerous.jpgMilo Yiannopoulos is laughing all the way to the bank.  The interviewer from CNN (shown in the first video below), despite her faux outrage, is greatly helping this Milo’s profile.  CNN is doing this because these interviews generate rating and money for their company.  The hypocrisy is sickening.

This is solely about money.  Milo is no different than Twitter, CNN, and CNBC. This is the exact same thing that raised Trump’s profile. Outrageous statements are profitable.  Milo is simply the latest capitalistic troll to exploit the dysfunctional of our culture.

Now I appreciate I’m is actually feeding into the frenzy of Milo, but I do this because I know full well I’m not going to make money from this effort—corporations own that market. I just hope to make some points that will help readers think about the platforms they consume “information.”

Milo Yiannopoulos’ has a book Dangerous coming out in June.  It was already #30 on Amazon’s bestsellers list on February 14th—not in some miscellaneous sub-category either.  It is #30 overall!  The book is published by Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Yesterday I posted a link to AALBC.com about a fascinating book, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar, which is also published by Simon & Schuster.  I received the following in reaction,

The crazy thing is that I had no idea who Milo Yiannopoulos was prior to Emanuel’s comment. Milo is apparently the guy who spearheaded the racist trolling of Leslie Jones on Twitter. We previously talked about Leslie’s Twitter trolls on our discussion forum, without ever mentioning Milo.  Leslie threatened to leave Twitter and Twitter booted Milo in reaction (presumably).

While we (or least I) was unaware of Milo extreme trolling, corporate media were obviously paying attention and anxious to capitalize off Milo’s racist attacks.  In the process they raised MIlo’s profile; which of course boosts rating—adverse cultural impact be damned!

Simon & Schuster even offered him a $250K book deal!  Imagine a quarter of a million dollar book deal, apparently for being racist enough to get thrown off Twitter?

But then Milo is not your garden variety troll; he has Breitbart News as a platform, he is very clever, media-savvy, and funny.  I have been personally been the target of Trolls.  Not only did it not bother me I found some it kinda funny and even posted examples.  But my trolls don’t write for Breitbart, and I’m not a celebrity.  For me, it is just another day on the web: I ban my trolls and keep it moving.  No interviews on CNN, no book deals, no outrage on Twitter, indeed no attention at all.  But celebrities and the trolls are a different matter.

There was a spate of angry tweets leveled against Simon & Schuster and others announcing boycotts:

This is all very powerful stuff. Roxanne Gay caught my attention by pulling her next book which was also being published by Simon & Schuster.  The book’s title is How to be Heard.  A curious title, given Gay’s reaction is exactly the opposite of the title connotation silencing a troll

Honestly, I’m not a big fan of Simon & Schuster.  Indeed, I’d seriously considered banning them in my own personal boycott because they are the only publisher of significance to never spend a penny, in advertising, with AALBC.com.  This is despite the fact that Simon & Schuster has the top selling imprint on AALBC.com, Atria Books.

Now I would be more than happy to boycott Simon & Schuster.  In fact with the website’s new design, I could remove all of Simon & Schuster’s titles from my website by changing a few lines of code.

But I’m not going to ban Simon & Schuster’s books, not for this reason.  Simon and Shuster is a massive corporation Milo’s imprint Threshold Editions has nothing to do with the imprint 37 INK, who publishes some important books. It makes no sense boycott 37 INK’s titles because another imprint decides to publish the rantings of some racist troll.  It is the reason I still carry Simon and Shuster’s books even though they won’t break down and support the site with ad revenue.

The real problem is not Simon and Schuster, or even Milo. Both are simply capitalizing on the fact that, in America, skilled trolling is profitable.  One could argue that MIlo and Threshold Editions are behaving perfectly rationally given the environment.

We live a culture were saying outrageous things is not only very profitable but can get you into the Whitehouse.

 

 

 

 

 

The Willie Lynch Letter is a Hoax!

As a book seller, my primary goal is to connect readers with books that they will enjoy and learn from.  Having a reader thank me for introducing them to a book or an author they appreciated is one of the joys of running this website.

In a recent conversation we discussed the growing number of publishers publishing the book, Willie Lynch Letter and the Making of a Slave.  I asked, “Why is anyone still publishing this book when it is common knowledge that the letter is a hoax?”  Of course the answer is self-evident; the book is profitable.  Immediately, I was forced to ask myself, why am I providing a platform to sell this book, and helping to perpetuate a lie?

Death of the Willie Lynch LetterI searched the AALBC.com database and found five versions of the Willie Lynch letter, all from different pubishers, and all AALBC.com bestselling books.

I thought about removing the books from the website altogether, but realized it would be better to keep the book and update the pages to reflect that fact that the letter is indeed a hoax and change the book’s category from nonfiction to fiction. I also provide a link to another book, Death of the Willie Lynch Speech: Exposing the Myth by Manu Ampim which explains why the letter is a hoax and even shares an email exchange with the author of the letter, Kwabena Faheen Ashanti, PhD.

Why do myths like the Willie Lynch Letter persist?  

Hollywood would never be confused with an entity concerned with the accurate portrayal of Black history and culture.  However if you consider Denzel Washington’s compelling diatribe in the 2007 film, The Great Debaters, it is easy to understand why one would be moved to believe such fiction as the Willie Lynch Letter.

Of course in our social media fueled World Wide Web, scandalous information, whether it is true or not spreads quickly, while the often less compelling truth tends to get lost.

Some argue that it does not matter that the letter is a lie, for it is the message that the letter conveys that matters. That argument is flawed. For critical people, it is clear that the truth is required to understand how the enslavement in Black people in America impacts us today, not some 21st century hoax.

Don’t be lulled into thinking that the spreading of lies like the Willie Lynch letter does not matter.  Please share this article, or information about Manu’s book, the next time someone presents you with the Willie Lynch Letter as an explanation for anything regarding Black people, with the exception of how we can be easily misled.