You know things are going wrong with a policy when even Amazon—the festering maw what nibbles on the feet of every retailer on the planet, a chthonic, all-consuming beast of capitalist excess—thinks the optics underpinning it might be a little hinky. Hence, presumably, a Fox News story that reports today that the retail giant has backed off from language in an upcoming plan to start putting podcasts on its Audible platform, which stated that content on such material “may not include advertising or messages that disparage or are directed against Amazon or any Service.”
Reported by Billboard (working from original reporting from The Desk’s Matthew Keys), said clause—which would, presumably, stop any podcast that included phrases like “Jeff Bezos is a soulless, dead-eyed avatar of American greed,” or “Alexa huffs farts” from being hosted through the new deal—was quickly set upon by Amazon critics as being thoroughly objectionable, and also just goddamn nigh-impossible to maintain. Given that exposure is the sweet ambrosia that keeps the podcast juice flowing, getting hosted on Audible and Amazon Music would obviously be a major boon to any number of shows—but should they have to give up their right to say “Whole Foods is what you get after a vampire sucks all the blood out of a Trader Joe’s” in the process?
Apparently not, since the language has now apparently been retracted. Which is good, because we just spent like 20 minutes imagining what our lives would be like without the ability to criticize Amazon freely, and it was practically as hellish as spending a thousand hours working on our feet in a warehouse where a computer yells at us every time we dare stop shoving retail goods into bins in order to breathe or pee.