Finally I get to hell. Boy, what a scene!
Eyes there wide colliding, gleeful the yells.
Fam’lies of the eager, fam’lies well pleased –
Gadgets abounding, near credit machines!
Hell, there’s no fire, there’s no time to repent!
Hell’s where from stuff – God, no escape!
Novelties galore insisting that we spend –
Support the GNP, finance the ferment!
Crammed with me these people, into this shop,
Failing – them not me – to feel a wee condemned,
To buy what is not needed, but seen on TV,
Maxing out, polluting, and with no way to stop.
Or has virtue again my lone self misplaced –
Welcomed me to a heaven just not to my taste?
— Poem and watercolor by William Eaton
1 Can’t paint watercolors like the one shown here without thinking about the Italian painter Giorgio Morandi (1890–1964), about whom I have written two essays:
2 A friend has passed along this from S. A. Applin and FastCompany (whatever that means?). Click here to read the whole (21 April 2019) piece, including sentences about Amazon treating its workers like robots.
It seems that almost every week there is a controversial story (or three) in the news about Amazon. In the past two weeks alone, there have been stories about Echo conversations being recorded and transcribed, Amazon employees protesting the company’s poor position on climate change, the company’s efforts to argue that face recognition fears aren’t “significant,” and Senator Warren questioning Amazon’s $0 federal tax bill on a $10 billion U.S. profit.
3 I note a precursor, Donald Hall’s “Woolworth’s,” in which the narrator, in England 300 years ago, feels the lack of “freedom of worship, / and freedom to trade molasses / for rum, for slaves, for molasses.” He comes to the New World and thus (many years later) to Woolworth’s with its “Daisies made out of resin, / hairnets and submarines, / sandwiches, diaries, green / garden chairs, / and a thousand boxes of cough drops.”