As we look up from our murky depths here, one thing always seems clear.
That most of the world is bored most of the time.
In fact, it seems increasingly that much of world industry exists to somehow get humans from one hour to the next without screaming existential threats.
The internet doesn’t exist so that people can communicate with each other. It’s there so that millions of bored people in offices can somehow take their minds away from the numbing grind of their reality.
Internet shopping is the Benedictine Monk of capitalism.
The Benedictines made huge contributions to economics and education in the first millenium after Judas.
But the real purpose of the monasteries was to ensure salvation for its members.
Amazon was one of the first modes of salvation for office-bound creatures. You could surf away, order things that you wouldn’t need, books that you wouldn’t read.
However, a funny thing happened along the route to Amazonian conversion.
They began to sell pots and pans and bicycles as well as DVDs.
They began to tell you what other people like you were buying. Someone who bought, say, the Wind in the Willows was also buying Basic Instinct.
The entirely unsubtle implication was that if you didn’t buy Basic Instinct too you were an uncultured halfwit, not fit to trawl the pages of Amazon’s bounty, not fit to call yourself a member of society.
This morning, I wandered onto Amazon’s pages to discover what my fellow man thought of the last book of the deceased and wondrous Michael Dibdin. But I was sidetracked- yes, Amazon is very much like those strip clubs where they tell you entry is free, but shortly afterwards you discover the champagne is $300 a bottle- into wondering what DVDs they had.
Specifically, whether Amazon sold porn. I was only thinking about Michael Vick. Truly. Would he be able to order porn surreptitiously from this reputable retailer?
I scanned all the different categories within the DVD section. No porn. No adult, even. But plenty of Christian. Including the estimable Veggie Tales, which I hadn’t until now thought of as Christian fare. Stupid of me, that. The connection was so obvious.
So I tried to get into the heads of the heads of Amazon.
” They’re pandering to Karl Rove,” I muttered to myself. Though I could have shouted it out loud. No one would have heard.
Being a veteran of the online experience, though, I tried to think of these people as nothing more than hotel owners who make you search for the porn, but, once you make a little effort, reveal there is more of it on their televisions than on whole streets of St. Denis.
All it took was entering the magic word “adult movies” in the search box.
Before I could blink away last night’s chardonnay, there was Asian Beauty Volume 3. And Volume 18. There was Sex Bomb. And Girls from Bill Zebub’s Movies. I’m not sure why this one wasn’t in the Christian section.
You read that correctly. And I will quote the, um, hard sell, directly from our friends at Amazon:
” These were little gems of erotica and people doing the nastyway back before teacher even taught us that sex was invented! Its wall-to-wall raunch-o-rama all in gloriously grainy black and white. These smokers go all the way back to the 1920s!”
People doing the nastyway.
See, I told you they were pandering to Karl Rove.