Of Guardians and Dead Sharks
Surprise! It’s another post fisking someone at the Guardian – but not Damien Walters. You’re shocked, aren’t you?
In proof that the rot in the Guardian’s hollowed hallowed halls goes deeper than a politician’s hand in your pocket, I humbly offer this gem by one Suzanne McGee who claims to be a financial journalist. Apparently this doesn’t mean what I thought it meant, based on this column and a scroll through the other columns she has written for the Guardian. She appears to do a mix of fluffy-bunny feminism about you and your money, the financial equivalent of celebrity gossip, and of course the obligatory round of Amazon-hate. (Hat tip to lobo314 for bringing it to my attention – yes, you can blame him for this one instead of Sarah)
So, dear Suzanne’s extended whine article rejoices in the title of “Amazon’s tantrum over books cost me $212 at a real bookstore”. There are no fewer than three egregious fallacies (aka lies) embedded in that single sentence. Okay, it’s not quite as astonishing as the ad line for the 1950s movie The Mummy (“Nameless! Fleshless! Deathless!” – three lies in three words), but it’s close.
Fallacy #1: that Amazon not being able to guarantee timely delivery of Hachette titles is a “tantrum”. There could be any number of reasons for the delivery delays including and not limited to Hachette not supplying the books in the first place; Amazon not being permitted by the terms of their contract with Hachette to keep books in stock for quick delivery; someone somewhere in the supply chain being an ass; someone somewhere in the supply chain being an idiot… You get the point. None of these are “tantrums”.
Fallacy #2: that Amazon is not a “real” bookstore. Amazon is as much a bookstore as Suzanne’s sainted Barnes and Noble. They sell books – more books than Barnes and Noble sells. They arguably do a better job of encouraging people to buy and read books than Barnes and Noble does.
Fallacy #3 is the big whopper, though. It’s the idea that dear Suzanne’s inability to control her impulse spending issues is Amazon’s fault because they forced her to go to Barnes and Noble to buy a book she needed and forced her to spend a boatload (that wasn’t the word I was originally going to use, but I’m trying to be polite here) on impulse buys. This is the kind of behavior I used to see from my younger siblings when they were toddlers: if they tripped and fell, they’d look for the nearest person, point and shout, “Look what you made me do!” So yeah, Amazon is totally to blame for Suzipoos inability to put a leash on her credit card. Not.
It should come as no surprise after an opening like that that the rest of the article demonstrates a similar level of entitlement, ignorance, and yes, glittery hoo haa. I’m not going to make you suffer through a line by line analysis of the whole piece of tripe. Suffice to say that when you have little comments like “Jeff Bezos can afford a $212 refund” you know she’s not only jumped the shark, she’s circled back and played tap-dance with the bugger before glittering it to death.
Of all Suzipoos links, not one of them hits a primary source on the Amazon-Hatchette dispute, much less once that gives Amazon’s perspective. Of course, that would involve research, and she’s far too good for anything like that. Apparently she’s also too good to check out second hand bookstores or even (gasp!) libraries because when her book club wants to read an Evelyn Waugh book, what does she do? You guessed it, she goes and buys it new. Suzipoos, darling, this is an author you can’t help by buying his books new. He’s been pining for the fjords since 1966. His measly share of anything of his that gets reprinted is probably going to the publisher.
Seriously, the woman can’t control herself in a bookstore and wants to blame Amazon for it. She calls herself a financial journalist but shows no sign she knows anything about the price fixing suit (and believe me, the little whispers that are going around about the real reason all the publishers caved being that they knew their bookkeeping wouldn’t survive a forensic audit are true. The publishing industry’s bookkeeping practices haven’t hit the 20th century yet, much less the 21st. Even if everyone involved was scrupulously honest, they wouldn’t survive a forensic audit) or contract law.
That shark she jumped? It’s dead, Jim.