In a perfect world, it would be possible—preferable, even—to be able to understand the national state of the modern news media (and even international politics) without thinking about Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ penis. Certainly, a universe in which the phrase “semi-erect manhood”—as applied to the personal genitalia of a nigh-omnipotent tech oligarch—never entered the public discourse would be closer to a utopia.
Sadly, we do not live in that universe.
Fans of boredly browsing supermarket tabloid racks will know that Bezos made what we can’t help but think of as “the bad kind” of headlines last month, when the National Enquirer “reported” on an affair between him and a woman who was not his wife; this, shortly after he’d publicly announced that he was getting divorced from the woman who was his wife, novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Bezos. The news of Bezos’ affair, which was backed up by text messages acquired by the Enquirer, was met by the general public with a mixture of shrugs and mild schadenfreude; sure, we all like it when bad things happen to Jeff Bezos, but that doesn’t mean—and again, we can’t emphasize this enough—that we want to apply our personal braintime to thinking about whatever he does with his dick.
Bezos—unsurprising, given that a), the Enquirer’s report allegedly ended his marriage and b), he’s the richest fucking man on the planet—did care, though, at least enough to hire a private investigator to figure out how the Enquirer got his texts. Which is when this whole story goes from “sordid” to “Welcome to Swamp Town, motherfuckers,” because the Enquirer is owned by a guy named David Pecker, and he’s good buddies with our old pal/president, Donald Trump. Pecker is currently under investigation for a “catch and kill” program he reportedly ran on his guy in the White House’s behalf over the last few years, buying up negative stories on Trump and then refusing to run them, and being rewarded (allegedly) by access to wealthy foreign investors. Among the papers reporting on Pecker’s actions (for which he ultimately received witness immunity): The Washington Post, which Bezos owns. Combine that with Bezos’ personal investigations into Pecker, the Enquirer, and parent company American Media, Inc., and it’s easy to see why Pecker might think it was time to throw his weight around in order to keep Bezos and his people quiet about what they’d learned.
All of which is an admittedly long-winded way of bringing us back to today, when entrepreneur, digital giant, union-phobe, and otherwise-super-boring dude Jeff Bezos posted a lengthy Medium screed that contains semi-lurid descriptions of his semi-erect penis. (We realize that this story has been going on long enough that you might have forgotten that Bezos’ bozack was its primary subject; we apologize for the sudden shock.) In the post, Bezos claims that Pecker’s people—stop giggling, please, we still have a long way to go here—recently contacted him to let him know that they also had compromising pictures of him, in addition to the texts, and were essentially threatening him with their publication if he didn’t back off of his investigation into their information-gathering methods. Despite being threatened with photos with descriptions of him “wearing either tight black cargo pants or shorts — and his semi-erect manhood is penetrating the zipper of said garment,” though, Bezos refused to be cowed, instead going public with the information and the implied threats himself.
This all raises a serious question, though: How much of a prick do you have to be to get into a fight with Jeff Bezos, and come out with him looking like the good guy? We’d like to make it very clear that we do not enjoy being on Bezos’ “side,” ever, especially with images of tight black cargo pants and “full-body selfies” dancing through our heads. But—at least by his own account—this appears to be a a pretty clear case of some scuzzy fake-journalists attempting to put the screws to one of the planet’s most powerful people, then predictably getting their asses kicked in the process. Who the hell are we supposed to root for?
Anyway, we can only assume that the Enquirer will eventually retaliate, so keep a close eye out for any pictures of international sex symbol Jeff Bezos “wearing nothing but a white towel — and the top of his pubic region can be seen.”
Or, you know: Don’t.